Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Steve Winwood, recently named one of Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time," will ring in the New Year with a series of East Coast concert performances in January. Winwood's upcoming East Coast concert dates mark the first U.S. headline tour since 2007 for the legendary rock superstar, who last toured the states with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in the summer of 2008. Winwood is currently enjoying the success of his most recent album, Nine Lives, which entered the Billboard 200 at #12 last May, bringing the artist his highest chart debut, and best first week's sales, of the SoundScan era. Eric Clapton, Winwood's former bandmate in Blind Faith, rock's original "supergroup," lent his signature guitar work to "Dirty City," the album's first single, which held the #1 added single spot for three weeks in a row and peaked at the overall #2 spot on AAA Radio.
Winwood (who turned 60 on May 12, 2008) was perhaps the youngest member of the original British pop music invasion of the mid-1960s. A prodigious guitarist and keyboard player in the Birmingham R&B scene by his mid-teens, Winwood cut his musical chops as a back-up musician for an impressive array of American rock & roll and blues pioneers -- including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley -- during their UK tours.
In 1962, Steve and his older brother, Muff Winwood, began playing with Spencer Davis and drummer Pete York in The Rhythm & Blues Quartet, an ensemble which would eventually morph into the Spencer Davis Group. An intensely powerful and emotional vocalist and formidable songwriter, Steve Winwood launched an enormously influential "blue-eyed soul" movement with hits like "Keep On Runnin'," "Somebody Help Me," and, especially, the massively successful pop-soul anthem, "Gimme Some Lovin'." Originally released in 1966, "Gimme Some Lovin'" entered the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996. Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group in 1967 to form the groundbreaking jazz-rock ensemble Traffic.
In 1966, as "Gimme Some Lovin'" transformed the pop landscape, the 18-year-old Steve Winwood entered into his first collaboration with Eric Clapton, recording three songs - "Steppin' Out," "Crossroads," and "I Want To Know" -- as the Powerhouse (a group which also included future Cream bassist Jack Bruce). Winwood and Clapton would join forces again in 1969 to create Blind Faith, one of pop music's first bona fide supergroups, with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Rick Grech.
Following the break-up of Traffic in 1974 (they would reform and successfully tour in the 1990s), Steve Winwood launched a successful solo career which reached an apogee in the mid-1980s with the release of four classic albums in a row: Arc of a Diver (1981, platinum); Talking Back To The Night (1982); Back In The High Life (1986, 3x platinum), which featured the #1 smash, "Higher Love," which earned Winwood a trio of Grammys including "Record of the Year"; and the #1 Billboard chart-topping "Roll With It" (1988, 2x platinum).
Through his unparalleled five-plus decades career, Steve Winwood has remained an in-demand session player, contributing his signature sound to an amazing variety of projects for artists including Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland), Joe Cocker (With A Little Help From My Friends), Leon Russell (Leon Russell), Lou Reed (Berlin), George Harrison (Dark Horse, George Harrison), Toots & the Maytals (Reggae Got Soul), Marianne Faithfull (Dangerous Acquaintances), David Gilmour (About Face), Tina Turner (Break Every Rule), Billy Joel (The Bridge), James Brown (Gravity), Rosanne Cash (King's Record Shop), Jimmy Buffett (Hot Water), Phil Collins (But Seriously), Etta James (Right Time), Paul Weller (Stanley Road), and Christina Aguilera (Back To Basics), among many others.
With Nine Lives and his upcoming concert tour, Steve Winwood opens up his world and gives his fans, old and new, a cornucopia of reasons to celebrate the life and music of this ageless, and still
Steve Winwood - US Tour - January 2009
15, 16 - New York, NY - United Palace
17 - Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods
19 - Baltimore, MD - Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
20 - Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre
22 - Lancaster, PA - American Music Theatre
23 - Niagara Falls, NY - Seneca Niagara Casino Theatre
24 - Kingston, NY - Ulster Performing Arts Center