Rocky Athas - Compassion for the Blues, with Buddy Miles
From The Blues Berries Album - I have tremendous memories of recording with Buddy Miles and Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton of Double Trouble and Mark Leach. Compassion for the Blues was the very first track recorded during The Blues Berries recording sessions with Jim Gaines as producer. We just started jamming to get to know each other and this is what happened. What a great time we had! When Rocky was asked by John Mayall, the iconic "Godfather of British Blues", to take the lead guitar role on his 2009 album, Tough, Rocky was honored. Being recognized for his guitar skill and asked to join forces with the creator of the legendary outfit, The Bluesbreakers, that featured a revolving cast of talented players including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Mick Taylor, was exhilarating. Within weeks of the call from John Mayall, they were together in the studio working on Tough. Rocky’s first album with John Mayall, Tough (Eagle Records) was reviewed by Guitar Player Magazine, which called Rocky "a veteran Texas gunslinger with a wicked tone and a thriving solo career of his own." In fact, before joining Mayall, Rocky's first worldwide release Miracle was prompted by his friendship with Grammy Award-winning producer Jim Gaines (Santana, Steve Miller, Journey, Stevie Ray Vaughan), which was forged while working on The Bluesberries with Buddy Miles (Jimi Hendrix, Electric Flag and Carlos Santana). Rocky was honored that Jim, named Blues Producer of the Year in 2003, produced his solo albums, Miracle and Voodoo Moon. At the beginning of his career, Rocky was the creative vortex behind Lightning, one of the biggest draws in Texas nightclub history opening for national acts. By the age of 23, the Oak Cliff, Texas native, was named one of the first TEXAS TORNADOS in Buddy Magazine's list, Top Ten Guitarists. The list of Texas Tornados went on over the years to include Eric Johnson, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZtop's Billy Gibbons, and Johnny Winter. After Lightning, Rocky moved on to be showcased as lead guitarist with national acts, including the southern rock one-of-a-kind Jim Dandy and Black Oak Arkansas writing/performing on "Ready As Hell" and "Wild Bunch" which were included on their greatest hits album. During his association with BOA, Rocky met drummer extraordinaire Johnnie Bolin, brother of Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple and James Gang). Johnnie and Rocky cemented a life-long bond as brothers. Rocky performed, toured, and recorded Tommy Bolin Tribute shows for Johnnie in support of the Tommy Bolin Archives Foundation with the amazing vocalist and bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple and Trapeze). Throughout his career, Rocky has been asked about his friendship with Stevie Ray Vaughan and is extremely proud of his Oak Cliff roots which he shares with Steve. You can open the pages of Stevie Ray Soul To Soul by Kerri Leigh and read Rocky's recollection of childhood memories. Five years into Rocky’s relationship with John Mayall, in August 2013, a Dallas Observer reporter asked Mayall about Athas, and Mr. Mayall responded, "The band I have now is the best band I have EVER had. I think it would be impossible to do better than that!" With the mutual admiration society nurtured by thousands of miles on the road together rockin’ the blues around the world, Rocky is proud to stand next to John Mayall blazing a fresh, new, innovative sound with the veteran bluesman.
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