ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons‘ North American tour in support of his new solo album, The Big Bad Blues, kicked off Friday in Iowa. Gibbons tells ABC Radio that while the solo trek gives him the chance to play smaller venues than those at which he usually performs, fans shouldn’t expect the shows to be any less rocking.
“It’s gonna be up-close, personal, intimate,” Billy declares, “but make no mistake, it’s fast, furious and l-o-u-d loud!”
Accompanying Gibbons on the tour is a backing band that he describes as “a really skinny, stripped-down but blues-approved outfit.”
The most recognizable musician in the group is ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, who also contributed to some tracks on The Big Bad Blues.
“He is ferocious,” says Billy. “He’s got the backbeat from day one. He’ll bear down and lead you out of the forest.”
Joining Gibbons on second guitar is Austin Hanks, another contributor to his album, who, Billy says, “plays from the Jimi Hendrix–Albert King upside-down-and-backwards school.”
Handling harmonica duties is Gibbons’ guitar technician, Ellwood Francis, who is taking on the parts that longtime ZZ Top harp player James Harman played on Billy’s album.
As for the set he’s playing on tour, Gibbons tells ABC Radio, “There’s gonna be a little of this, a little of that.” That is, fans can expect selections from The Big Bad Blues, some ZZ Top classics and some blues covers.
Appropriately enough, Gibbons’ trek is scheduled to stop tonight in the blues mecca of Chicago. Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley, two of Billy’s musical heroes, called the Windy City home, and he included renditions of songs by both artists on the new record.
Here are all of Gibbons’ upcoming solo concerts:
10/16 — Chicago, IL, House of Blues
10/17 — Columbus, OH, The Bluestone
10/18 — St. Louis, MO, The Pageant
10/20 — Wabash, IN, Honeywell Center
10/21 — Cleveland, OH, Agora Ballroom
10/23 — Kitchener, ON, Canada, Centre in the Square
10/25 — Derry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall
10/26 — Beverly, MA, The Cabot Theater
10/28 — Huntington, NY, The Paramount
10/30 — New York, NY, Iridium Jazz Club
10/31 — New York, NY, Iridium Jazz Club
11/1 — Washington, DC, Pearl Street Warehouse
11/3 — Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
11/5 — Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
11/6 — Lake Buena Vista, FL, House of Blues – Orlando
11/7 — Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
11/9 — Houston, TX, Revention Music Center
11/10 — Fort Worth, TX, Billy Bob’s Texas
11/11 — San Antonio, TX, Aztec Theatre
11/13 — Tempe, AZ, Marquee Theatre
11/15 — Solana Beach, CA, Belly Up Tavern
11/16 — Las Vegas, NV, Brooklyn Bowl
11/18 — West Hollywood, CA, Troubadour
12/28 — Austin, TX, Antone’s
12/29 — Austin, TX, Antone’s
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