Ain’t it the truth. If you’ve ever been down, sad, miserable or otherwise out of sorts, then you’ve had the blues. Getting rid of the blues can be as simple as listening to the blues, one of the oldest American song forms and musical styles around. The blues has its own language. It’s a musical genre that isn’t stuck in any one location. Chicago.. New Orleans and Austin has had their indigenous artists but its Los Angeles that really has the greatest history of the blues. The late great blues master, Johnny Otis was able to break the “color line” by bringing black musicians to perform weekly on  local television station KTLA. It was the first of its kind! Local band, The Record Company (championed first by Rock Bands of L.A.com) nominated for a Grammy for Best Blues Album, 2016..had enormous success of bringing the blues L.A. style all over the world and garnering massive radio airplay. We would be derelict if we didn’t mention the “The Six String Siren”, Diana Rein who won the Best Blues Artist in 2016 by the L.A. Critics (Again, featured by Rock Bands of L.A.com) who played frequently with So. CA. blues band Papermoon Gypsys.

Papermoon Gypsys.. Johnny Otis

The Dodger Club, the Living Room, the Cork, Total Experience, the Cotton Club, Maverick’s Flat, the Pied Piper, the Name of the Game and the Flying Fox are but a few of the clubs that anchored a robust L.A. scene that catered to jazz, blues, R&B and eventually funk. Some are still around. Most are gone. Each was a part of a once-familiar world where spectacular talent coalesced.

Those who come to Los Angeles looking for genuine live blues music will not be disappointed in local blues band, Papermoon Gypsys.. Their ability to have fun with the sound shouldn’t be mistaken for a sense of irony. This isn’t your hipster/baby boomer blues rock; they are as true as you’re going to get! P.G.s recently took home two L.A. Music Critics Awards for “Best Blues Artist” and “Fan Favorite”. The band features the father/daughter team of Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams on guitar and on vocals. Ms. Lexi G.. There’s a sense of spiritual connection within their music. We had the pleasure of interviewing both of them..

Rock Bands of L.A.:

This is directed to the “Big Daddy”.. You’ve played so many styles of music.. including a stretch of heavy metal bands.. you are obviously well versed in the “art of guitar”.. Why do you play the blues? Is that your favorite style to play? Who are some of your “bluesman” mentors?? What’s your favorite guitar to play?

Big Daddy Williams:

I play the blues because it gives me an opportunity to constantly improvise.I also play the blues because it’s harder than people think. To play with feeling and virtuosity is a challenge. I do throw some of the other styles I know, into our live performances. I always loved Jimi Hendrix and use to religiously listen to “Electric Ladyland” every day after school. But I grew up listening to my step-dad playing jazz (he played with Les Brown). I of course listened to all the Kings and the usual blues greats and even got to meet a few like BB King and Bo Diddley and opened for people like Tab Benoit and Bobby Rush. They all gave me great advice that I try to practice. My favorite guitar changes from time to time.They all have great qualities. Lately I’ve been using a hollow body Ibanez that I got from the guitar player in Boz Skaggs and I’ve also been using my 1979 Les Paul custom which has a bridge pickup in it that was made by Seymor Duncan called the “Big Daddy” named after me.

Rock Bands of L.A.com:

What do you think of the “blues” movement here in So. CA.? Why are the blues so popular here?..

Big Daddy Williams:

The Blues in Orange county is kind of mixed bag. Sometimes it can be very cliquish. Meaning, there are the purest who believe that only old styles are acceptable. Then you have people who try to stretch the genre. There has always been a movement in Orange county but it’s really hard to get in the club with the old school guys ruling. We have been lucky to be able to do it our way. We do have a unique act with my daughter and I working together. My songwriting finds it hard to follow the rules and I sometimes get the business for it but I feel like if I’m not true to myself than I’m just lying to the audience. I think our live shows tell the whole story.

The Maestro of Blues… “Big Daddy” Williams

Rock Bands of L.A.com:

Your daughter… Lexi G… When did you realize that she had a dynamite voice? Is it a challenge to separate Lexi… your daughter.. and Lexi the band mate? Is it difficult to criticize her?

Big Daddy Williams:

I always knew she could sing and I would drag her to church to sing with me and even then you could tell she was someone special. She just keep getting better and better. The audience is responding to it more and more. It is sometimes hard to separate the two. We had to work through a couple of problems at first cause she was just learning but she’s becoming a veteran so any advice I give she’ll usually run with it. We are very close so we’ve learned a lot about how to get along.

Rock Bands of L.A.com:

What music were you raised on? Have you had professional voice lessons? The press compares you to Janis Joplin… does that scare you? 

Ms. Lexi G:

I was raised on classic rock so bands and people like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Eric Clapton all greatly influence what types of music I like to sing and listen to. I actually haven’t had a ton experience with voice lessons, however, I had a coach for a solid amount of time named Dr. I who really helped me explore my natural voice and taught me how to shape my words and make them more interesting sounding (which is huge for a successful song). Most of my singing talent comes naturally and I always joke if it wasn’t built in, I wouldn’t have it.

 Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams and Daughter Lexi G

 

Rock Bands of L.A.com:

Is it tough to be in the same band as your dad? Is he critical with you? How does that feel? How do you separate yourself from daughter and band mate? Your father has a deep understanding of being a musician.. he’s so hugely talented..

Ms. Lexi G.:

It is absolutely tough to be in a same band as my Dad. Anyone who tells you working with a family member or spouse is easy is trying to sell you something. Family is difficult because love is difficult but completely and utterly worth every single moment of struggle. Kenny and I have a connection that allows us to communicate on a deeper level on stage. When we “get in the pocket” with a song, sometimes it feels like we can read each others minds. It’s an incredible experience that I am fortunate to be able to have and I always feel lucky for it.

Yes, he can be critical of me but so can I of him. We’ve been doing this close to 5 years now and after some struggle we have come to a level of communication that I love. We can be brutally honest with each other and either take it in stride or talk it over. I know when Kenny gives me musical advice it comes from a good place and a place of experience. It can be difficult separating Dad from lead guitar player in our band but as I said we communicate openly so whatever bumps we run into we are able to talk them over and work on them. I would much rather have occasional creative friction than apathetic complacency.

My creative musical influences are all over the place. I would like to say I just have one or even a handful but honestly I listen to a lot of music and whatever I hear that is unique I will try to replicate it or bring something similar to my music. As of late I’ve been listening to more melodic music and trying to mix the techniques I hear in with my deep, bluesy voice. It’s extremely fun for me and it’s like mixing all different kinds of elixirs together and trying to come up with a perfect potion which everyone gets to enjoy.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams… Ms. Lexi G.
and of course the great Doug Deutsch