- String-Twanging Home of Catfish Keith - Issue #7, January 1, 2003

Fish Tail Newsletter #7

Latest News of Acoustic Blues & Roots Guitarist Catfish Keith
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Hey, Hey! Catfish at Carnegie Hall, Photo by Dave ArcariIn This Issue:

  • Feature Article in Blues Revue Magazine
  • Catfish Returns to California for January 2003 Tour.
  • Overseas Tours to include Great British R&B Festival, much more to come...
  • New Review of Catfish's all-instrumental guitar album, "A Fist Full of Riffs."
  • On The Road with Catfish: 2002 Highlights
  • New Album in the Works.

  • Catfish Article in Blues Revue's April/May 2003 Acoustic Blues & Festival Issue.

    Look for an article on Catfish Keith in the April/May Issue of Blues RevueThis issue is the Annual Festival Issue and features an article on Catfish as well as his old friends and contemporaries Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, Spencer Bohren, Steve James, T.J.. Wheeler, Louisiana Red, Precious Bryant and more.

    Catfish was first introduced to the blues and folk music world  in 1991 in Issue #2 of the fledgling magazine, then called Blues Revue Quarterly, in it's original newsprint format. Started by visionary publisher Bob Vorel, Blues Revue has grown to become the world's most popular, largest selling blues publication and now covers all aspects of today's blues music scene.

    Catfish Returns to California for January 2003 Tour!

    Catfish Keith will start his return tour of California at the NAMM Show January 16-19 in Anaheim, with his longtime pals and endorsers National Reso-Phonic Guitars, Highlander Pickups and John Pearse Strings. This mammoth trade show is an annual meeting place for music merchants from all over the world.  Come see Catfish at home at the National booth (as well as with Highlander and John Pearse), playing solo and jamming with Doug MacLeod, Bob Brozman and lots of other surprise guests.

    Concert dates include shows in San Luis Obispo, Ben Lomond, San Jose, his debut at the famous Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Humbolt County and more. Many of his concerts were sold out last January, get your tickets early! For details, see  Catfish's Tour Dates

    Overseas Tours Include Great British R&B Festival and more!

    Catfish will return to the UK & Europe this summer to perform his 26th Overseas Tour.  Dates are now being booked and will include the biggest, most well known blues festival in the UK, the Great British R&B Festival, in Colne, Lancashire in the North of England.  Catfish will be performing concert, master class and school dates as part of the festival, which is on the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

    He first performed at the festival in 1993, establishing himself as a solid UK favorite, and has since played to an ever-increasing devoted following, and is the only artist to sell out the renowned International Guitar Festival in Birkenhead on the Mercyside the last three years in a row.

    To book Catfish,  send us an email here at Fish Tail.

    Catfish Makes Waves with "A Fist Full of Riffs" CD.

    A Fist Full of Riffs CD"A Fist Full of Riffs," Keith's eighth solo album (this time on the Solid Air label), is his first all instrumental album, has been getting some rave reviews around the world.  Over in Perth, Scotland, music writer and critic Dave Arcari writes, in the Music Scene section of the Perthshire Advertiser, Oct. 22, 2002:

    "Although Catfish is famous in the blues world as 'the new king of slide guitar' and the face of National Reso-Phonic Guitars, the first three tracks are all performed on a regular wood-body.  The opener, the title track, is an intricate string-twanging masterpiece that immediately sets him apart from the current wave of acoustic 'technopickers' thanks to depth of feeling, soul and style as well as technical prowess.

    "A mix of harmonic-popping Hawaiian and jazz styles makes Kohala March impressive listening , but it's the cuts on his trademark National steel-body guitars that steal the show.

    "Hawaiian Cowboy is one of our favorites along with a new bottleneck track, Freckles.  There's a real mix of influences through the material on this album - the island music of Joseph Spence, the deep blues of Blind Willie Johnson's Dark Was the Night and the brain-addling complexity of 12th St. Rag.

    "That mix, combined with Catfish's original and captivating guitar style prevents this from being tagged with the 'accomplished but boring after awhile' fate of many instrumental albums.  It's a great CD."Buy It Here Online

    Looking Back: Highlights of 2002

    On The Road with Catfish:

    "Alright!!  This has been a terrific year with lots of great gigs.  Last January started the year in one of my favorite states, California.  Surprisingly big crowds at most all the shows, sold out at lots of them!  Since I never expect anybody to show up, ever, Penny and I were tickled.  It's a real tall, beautiful place, starting down in LA creating new music at the NAMM show with John Sebastian, Doug MacLeod and his buddies, our steel guru Bob Brozman, then attempting to get a sunburn on the beach in Corona Del Mar with our pals Bob and Jill Kazer. Margie and Greg Mirken at Spruce Tree Music in Laguna Niguel helped jump-start the tour, then up to Old West country in Los Alamos at the Union Hotel, which was built in 1880 and made me feel like Buffalo Bill, or some kind of going into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine, no joke!

    Then up to Henfing's in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz area, where I lived for a couple of years in the early 1980's.  Eric Schoenberg hosted a packed concert in his guitar shop on the San Francisco Bay, then up the coast to Humbolt with our man Patrick Cleary, and back down to Mendocino at the Little River Inn.  The drive itself was incredible, often going 10 miles an hour winding through more redwoods and switch backs until we finally, dramatically popped out on the banks of the sea.  A full moon on the ocean in Mendo kept our pathway lit up bright as we left at five A.M. to make our flight out of San Francisco.

    February took us back to the UK for the first "Package" tour I've done, called "The American Festival of the Blues" where we played about 30 big concert halls with names like Carnegie Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and a surprise on my 40th birthday at the concert in Shrewsbury.  Cakes! Champagne! Audience and cast and crew singing "Happy Birthday!" A gift of one of those singing fish plaques, "Tommy the Singing Catfish", not unlike "Billy Bass" (I knew I'd get one someday...).  It sang "Do Wah Diddy" and other fish favorites.

    CK, Michael Roach and The Mighty 45's, Photo by Penny CahillThis tour was a total blast; usually it's just me and Penny and maybe our dog on driving tours, but this time the show included lefty acoustic bluesman Michael Roach, the wonderful Angela Brown and her Mighty 45's, and, from Houston, Texas, Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges and his band, and myself. We all got along like a house on fire and got to be great buddies and made it a party every night.  After awhile, one concert hall seemed eerily like the next as we all wandered around backstage in dressing rooms, down hallways, up stairs, through umpteen all did remind me of Spinal Tap after 20 gigs or so...seems we were always looking for something to eat. The tour manager, Danny Townsend got one of those skateboards with handlebars that we were all riding down hallways, ramps, through the audience...Soundguys Kev Bennett and Mikey Atack and Danny and Penny and me spent a sunny day in Brighton, too where they rode the go-karts on Brighton Pier, and Michael Roach was a kind host to us, especially in his adopted hometown of Cheltenham where he showed us the sights.

    Back in the USA the tour continued, and I got to play some nice festivals, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest in my old hometown of Davenport, Iowa.  This is one of the country's finest blues events, and I was made to feel right at home again, hanging out with Paul Geremia (kind of a musical father; he was one of only a handful of touring acoustic blues artists back in the 70's when I started, playing greater than ever and a good friend), Steve Guyger, tasty harmonica man that I first met in England in '92 when he played with the great Chicago bluesman Jimmy Rogers, Paul Osher, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and all the cats.  What a blast!

    I also got to play the Bowlful of Blues, the Bean Blossom Blues Festival which was in Bill Monroe's hometown of Bean Blossom, Indiana (thanks to John Hall!), the first Reso-Phonic Guitar Weekend "down in the holler" and seemingly back in time again in Mountain View, Arkansas, with Mike Dowling and Robert B. Jones and out to California again in August for the Blues on The Bay Festival in Newport Beach.

    Got to the East Coast twice this year, playing in Easton, Connecticut at the Americana Showcase of the Blues, then back for a bunch of dates, playing at Tierney's in Montclair, NJ, Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem, PA, Artwell in Torrington CT, and Inn of the Blues in York Beach, Maine with Harvey Reid's Seacoast Guitar Society. The Inn of the Blues is right on the seacoast, with another big moon on the ocean lighting our way home, where we furiously packed, did laundry, and left the next day to return to the UK for tour #25.

    It was a pleasure to return to England, Scotland and Wales for our October/November tour, this time going to Frensham, the Channel Island of Jersey where we stayed with our mates Bob & Thelma Tilling, then Runcorn, Newcastle, Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glenfarg, Whitby, Wentworth, Bishop's Castle, London, Abertillary, Bangor and winding it up at the International Guitar Festival in Birkenhead.  Whew!"

    New Solo Album in the works.

    Back in the studio again, Catfish Keith is now working on a new solo CD, this time an album of new and vintage original songs, full of acoustic and reso-phonic guitars, singing, sliding, stomping and other surprises.

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