Monday, February 5, 2018

Dreams in action

Here we are, already into 2018 and hurdling ahead like no tomorrow.
This year has taken off with a blast, and despite the News outlets determination to bring about
the end of the world, things seems to be going along just as they always do....

I am alive and well and on the road in Germany with Ruf Records "Blues Caravan Tour".
Ruf Records has been doing this tour for years and it features 3 artists and a rhythm section
on tour, playing each others music and spreading the gospel of the Blues town by town.
I have always wanted to run away with the Caravan, but the time was never quite as right
as it was this year. When Thomas Ruf asked me and my manager to be involved in this years Caravan, we both agreed it was time. But little did we know how special this event would actually be.

2018 is the 20th anniversary of the passing of the great Luther Allison.
Luther Allison is my absolute hero in the Blues. His music changed my life and his energy
and love for his fans has inspired me to take up his torch and give 110% all of the time, no matter what.  His famous motto "Leave your ego, Play the music, Love the people" is tattooed on my right forearm.  Words to live by indeed.

Bernard Allison is the real deal, and has been for decades. I opened for Bernard in Omaha, Ne. in 2006 and we hit it off instantly. I have loved Bernard's work as well, his "Higher Power" album is an absolute must for Blues Rockers.  When I was told that Bernard would be coming back to Ruf Records and joining me on the Blues Caravan, I was ecstatic. When Thomas Ruf told us he was releasing a new Luther Allison Box Set commemorating the 20th Anniversary of his passing and that the 2018 Blues Caravan would be centered around performing and celebrating Luther's music.....
I was over the moon!

What a dream come true for a guy like me. Who would've thought all those years ago living in South St. Louis, listening to Ruf Records of Luther Allison would I be on tour with the mans son, performing his music every night all over the world......WOW is all I have to say.
I have been nothing but humbled by this opportunity in my life.

Bernard and I share a common bond, we both LOVE his Daddy's music and what he was about.
We have known each other for years, but really never had much of a chance to play together until now. We knew it would be good, but maybe not this good. We have a chemistry that doesn't happen everyday. We don't talk about it, we don't discuss it, it just happens and we laugh while we are playing. We have so much fun, it looks like we are little kids.  He will tell me sometimes after the show that it almost sounded like James Solberg and his Father, quite a compliment.
We truly enjoy playing together, for me it is probably the best I have ever played with another guitarist. We just fit and compliment each other.

The Caravan is not complete without a new artist, eager to step out on the scene.
Vanja Sky is a 22 year young lady from Zagreb, Croatia. She learned to play the Blues and Guitar from an old man in a wheel chair in Zagreb who sat outside and played all day.
She has a very good voice and is a strong singer. I had the honor of producing her debut album on Ruf and I was most impressed with her songwriting. She has some of the standard fair we all bring to the Blues table, some good rocking Blues ala SRV and a great cover of Rory Gallagher's Bad Penny,
but for me her slower ballads are deeper than usual. She has a sadness in some of the songs that is very real and haunting. She is a great newcomer for the tour and brings a freshness to the show.

The rhythm section this year is intense and honestly so good. Roger Inniss from the UK is on the Bass guitar and he is something else. Roger has done many Caravan tours before, so he knows how to handle to load of dealing with three artists, and he does so with ease and class. He is a groove-meister with a lot of soul. Mario Dawson hales from Bernard's band on the drums. He jumped in with both feet and seriously lays the groove down. He is strong and rocking and has killer chops for days, but he can swing with the best of them. He also smiles all night long, which is a great quality in a drummer. Roger and Mario are super fun and have this great positive energy they bring to the stage every single night.

There are no egos in this group. No one is a primadonna, everyone works hard to lift each other up
and bring out the best in the group.  I think it is because it is based around Luther Allison and his music. It's not really about us, we do our thing, but the greatness comes when we play the Masters music and share our love for him. The audiences here in Germany have eaten it up.
Luther is a legend in Europe and the love is still so strong today.

I cannot thank my friend Thomas Ruf enough. He started this record label 30 years ago more or less
with Luther Allison. He has kept the fire burning and shares stories with me of he and Luther's travels and touring together. He tells me "I learned everything I know from the Chicago man."
His love and devotion to Luther Allison's Legacy is awe inspiring.
He loves him and misses his friend.

I just wanted to share with you where I am at and what I am doing, as I always do.
I am one of the fortunate few, I am living my dream in action.
The good Lord has blessed me beyond necessity and I am eternally grateful. I play this music
with all my heart, every night and we bring the joy to the people, just as Luther would want.

I haven't had this much fun playing music before, and I think Bernard would say the same,
other than playing with his Daddy.

Peace, Love, Zito