We live in an age that places a premium on youth, and newness, over experience. But the Blues is the music of experience, and, while you can learn the licks off records, the true blues lessons can only come from life. Dave Workman has learned his blues from years of going straight to the source.
Dave Workman honed his craft, and built his reputation in the midwest, opening for established legends like: B.B.King, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, and James Cotton. He learned his lessons well enough to be asked to back up blues icons like Albert King, Chuck Berry, Junior Wells, and Robert Jr. Lockwood. Dave and his band even backed Jimmy Reed for the BBC's "All You Need Is Love" series, filmed at Chicago's famous 1815 Club. The band also played that most respected Chicago blues club -- Pepper's Lounge. Willie Dixon wrote them a few tunes-- but that's another story altogether!!
Upon moving to the Bay Area in '84, Workman found himself in demand as a sideman to local luminaries Johnny Heartsman, Paris Slim, and Sonny Rhodes. The last couple of years have found Dave taking it easy, with an occasional foray into the clubs of North Beach, or a trip to Big Sur to perform at Esalen.
As the millenium approaches, Dave has decided to get back in the groove. With longtime musical companion from his Ohio days, Bili Turner, Dave and co. have been tearing it up a couple Saturday's a month at North Beach's historic Saloon on Grant St.
Workman offers a brand of fiery fretwork that can't be learned strictly from records. He has studied with the likes of Pat Martino, but like that other schooled blues artist, Robben Ford, his style was forged on the bandstand; from years of standing next to the originators themselves - the greats. Learning like Robben learned from Jimmy Witherspoon, or Buddy Guy learned from Muddy Waters, like Junior Wells learned from Little Walter. Learning from experience, something you can't buy, and you can't fake.
So, if you are tired of the Stevie Ray clones, and the academic purists (no notes after 1962), check out Dave "Groove" Workman. He's the real deal.
-Michael Ross (Michael Ross is a frequent contributor to Guitar Player magazine, plays on James Armstrong's new CD, and wrote a book on Getting Good Tone.)