San Francisco Bay area guitarist Jimmy Dillon is an accomplished and award-winning musician, singer, songsmith and teacher with an impressive record.
Jimmy has backed up the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Sting and John Lee Hooker (who he recorded a duet with). He has appeared on stage with B.B. King, Carlos Santana and Bonnie Raitt, among many others before embarking on a solo career and recording 4 CDs to date. A quick listen to just a small sampling of his repertoire reveals an eclectic mix of blues, rock, country and Latin styles.
Jimmy is also a passionate guitar teacher with a series of DVD and online lessons for acoustic, electric, blues and slide guitar. He spends his summers teaching kids how to play rock and roll at Blue Star Music Camps in Michigan and San Francisco and gives online lessons as well. Jimmy offers the following advice to aspiring guitarists who are struggling to learn:
“Don’t struggle too much. Have fun with it. Get with some better players and listen as much as you play. Remember the 4 T’s – Touch, Tone, Time and Taste. Play with finesse, passion and melodic sense. Don’t worry too much about speed, scales, shred[ing]. Rather, make it count. Be a good rhythm player. ‘Lead guitar’ is so overdone.”
Influences & Favourites
Among his favourite guitarists, Jimmy lists iconic names like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler, Keith Richards (“Keef Riffhard”), John Mayer and Pete Townsend, plus a slough of other guitarists both well-known and well… perhaps a bit esoteric to the casual guitar player or guitar music fan: David Lindley, Derek Trucks, Buddy Miller, Harry Manx, Richard Thompson and slide guitarists Sonny Landreth, Ry Cooder and Leo Kottke.
Tracy Blackman is soulful, stirring, and full of a dynamic power that transports listeners to sonic bliss. As a songwriter, Blackman pens intricate tracks that mesh aspects of Blues, Pop, Jazz, and Rock. Her latest album, Mercy, is an inspired collection and features icon Carlos Santana on the opening track. Once considered one of the top 10 unsigned Bay Area artists by SF Weekly, Tracy Blackman is a true master of her craft and puts on a striking and skillful performance every single time.
Audiences are delighted by her compelling performances. You can see it in her toes as she taps to the rhythm. The sound rises up through her body like an electric current coursing through her veins. Eyes closed, mind transported, she pulses and sways with the music making every beat her own. And when the time is right, all the energy swirling through her culminates as she sings down the heavens. You hear it. You feel it, deep down in your soul. Her fans have called her performances “their church” and have said that her songs are 'hymns' and that she has “the voice of an angel.”
Blackman’s latest release, Mercy, is an authentic and eclectic collection of soulful and inspired material. Here she has penned songs that have the ability to soothe the soul, beautifully demonstrated by the sublime track ‘I’m Alive’ (with lyrical assist by Bonnie Hayes) where she pays homage to her muse. An earnest songwriter, Blackman sings of the love we all possess in the stirring ‘Love to Give.’ She also knows when to ratchet up the energy as she does with the opening track ‘Mercy, Mercy.’ This funky, bluesy groove-laden track is punctuated with blistering guitar played by none other than her brother-in-law Carlos Santana. Listeners get a glimpse of Blackman’s playful nature on the tracks ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ and straight-ahead rocker ‘Psychokinetic Lullaby.’ The former (written with Jimmy Dillon) is a humorous take on the travails of weaning while the latter pokes fun at the impending end of the world and features a kickin’ slide solo by Danny Click. Her sister, Cindy Blackman-Santana, provides impeccably hypnotic drum grooves that pulsate intensely through each track to great effect.
"I find these songs to be both elevating and inspiring. I earnestly encourage you to purchase it and turn it up really loud!!" ~ Carlos Santana
“…a lovely and longtime presence on the local music scene…she could be a star.” Paul Liberatore, Marin IJ
“…her expertise is worthy of your sharpest ear.” SF Weekly