This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE boasted a visit from two Grand Rapids blues icons, plus track debuts from several Michigan artists. Check out the back story, video and podcast.
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The first time that young music novice Hank Mowery went to see highly recommended guitarist Junior Valentine at a seedy Grand Rapids bar decades ago, all he witnessed was a fight and a bouncer tossing a patron out the door.
He was there on the wrong night, when Junior wasn’t even playing.
Luckily for Mowery and Valentine, the harmonica player (who’s since established himself as one of West Michigan’s premier blues harp frontmen) and the iconic guitarist eventually linked up. And the rest, as they say, is history – with plenty of entertaining tales from the stage and road to go with it.
After first jamming together and then eventually performing as bandmates, the Grand Rapids musicians have become mainstays in West Michigan’s blues scene, with Valentine also delving into other genres.
On Friday, they paired up again, this time for the latest edition of Local Spins on WYCE. The duo performed a couple of classic blues tunes in-studio – Mowery taking the lead on “Just Your Fool” and Valentine on “Sugar Coated Love” – and chatted about their music.
Watch the video for “Sugar Coated Love” here and listen to the full radio show podcast below.
VIDEO: Junior Valentine & Hank Mowery, “Sugar Coated Love”
A LEGACY IN WEST MICHIGAN’S MUSIC SCENE
A native of Grand Haven who grew up in Eastmanville and Greenville, Junior Valentine (aka Lawrence Meyering) — after playing in various high school rock bands — officially launched his music career at age 27 inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan among others. He founded Junior Valentine & The Allstars and later also performed for some time with Hank Mowery & The Hawktones, recording several albums along the way.
After releasing 2014’s “Island Head” (featuring Jason Wheeler, Mark Lavengood and Carolyn Koebel), Valentine retired from the music scene in 2015. But he recently returned to stages to play some select concerts, including an upcoming appearance at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 12) with the Allstars and Mowery at SpeakEZ Lounge in Grand Rapids as part of the Local Spins Wednesdays series. Details here.
As the guitarist, bassist and singer puts it, he’s “created a few musical events to enjoy playing music and singing with some of his musical peers.”
Mowery and the Hawktones, meanwhile, are busy booking a series of 2019 shows with an upcoming appearance Jan. 30 at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids, Feb. 16 at Lansing Brewing Co. in Lansing and March 23 at Park Theatre with Valentine and bluesman Jimmie Stagger.
“We’re excited to get back out and play a lot more,” said Mowery, who’s also at work writing songs for a new studio album.
Listen to the in-studio conversation in this podcast of the Local Spins on WYCE radio show. The show also featured the on-air debut of new tracks by Lockwood, Justin Wierenga, Float Here Forever, Dalmatian Stone, North Country Rounders and Frankie & Myrrh, as well as songs from Heaters and Jimmie Stagger (this week’s musicians’ pick). Tune in to 88.1 FM WYCE every week at 11 a.m. Friday for Local Spins on WYCE, which showcases local and regional music. Next week’s guest: Dalamation Stone.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (Dec. 7, 2018)
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