Gogo is a Canadian blues legend, having been on the scene since he was 16 years old. Well known for his album Skeleton Keys, Gogo has received three Juno nominations and awards for Musician of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. He’s a two-time recipient of the Guitarist of the Year award at the Maple Blues Awards as well as the CBC Saturday Night Blues, Great Canadian Blues Award. Besides that, Gogo’s toured the world and composed music for television and movies. His musical decorations are many, and now he’s coming to Kamloops to showcase his new album Soul Bender.
Gogo will be performing live at The Blue Grotto on Wed., May 25. Tickets are only $7 in advance or $10 at the door, and you won’t want to miss it.
Gogo was born in 1969, a year before the death of blues and rock and roll great Jimi Hendrix. Gogo still resides in his hometown of Nanaimo, B.C. and has no plans of leaving the family’s 160-acre Christmas tree farm.
“I’m born and raised, never leaving,” he says of his beloved Nanaimo, located on Vancouver Island. “I do enough touring. This is where my roots are.”
Soul Bender, an album of originals and unexpected covers, is due for release on June 7 in Canada. It’s described as having a similar sound to Skeleton Key.
“Sometimes it’s hard to capture the live sound in the studio,” Gogo says. “It’s live sounding and it’s real high energy.”
It’s not hard to imagine why he’d want to recreate the live sound on an album, as the stage is where Gogo thrives. His live performances are electrifying. Gogo’s strong blues vocals combined with his amazing guitar work, especially slide, are an entrancing cocktail of musicianship. He’s high energy and very entertaining.
Gogo started his career at a young age, and has had some time to build up his musical prowess, though to tell the truth it didn’t take long. He became interested in the blues as a teenager and it took off from there.
“It’s kind of a funny thing,” says Gogo about his early interest in the blues. “When I was a teenager, blues wasn’t a big thing. I was into 1960s rock like The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.”
Gogo notes that meeting one of his idols, Stevie Ray Vaughan, was a huge high point in his early musical life.
Nowadays Gogo still continues a busy touring schedule. He’s just finished up another season teaching music with the 12th Annual Hornby Island Blues Camp, where people of all ages learn from 10 instructors on different types of instruments including guitar and drums. Concerts are performed every evening and Gogo has been a mentor here for the whole 12 years. He measures the time by his son’s age.
“The first year I participated, my son had just been born and now he’s in the drum course,” he says.
Gogo continues to live life mostly on his own terms as a working musician. He says even though he has a family now his schedule hasn’t slowed much.
“It’s what I do,” he says of his career and family life. “I don’t see it as being any different than a guy doing shift work.”