Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Big Llou!
It’s been a minute since Blues Music Award Winner, BigLLou Johnson as released any new blues music. Not that he hasn’t been in the studio though. Au contraire, he practically lives in his own home studio where he says he tries to stay busy churning out voice overs for TV and radio spots and even doing character voices for toys. But you may know him best as the Voice Host of one of the biggest blues stations in the world, B.B. Kings Bluesville on Sirius-XM, a gig he’s had since Sirius and XM merged. He was chosen by the original and legendary Program Director, Bill Wax.
The two became great friends and it was Bill who encouraged him to record his first blues album and use local musicians from Chicago. Bill also invited him to co-host the Blues Music Awards which were broadcast on Bluesville at the time. It was in Memphis that he met the blues legend Mr. Bobby Rush who gave him the advice, “When you make a record… make sure you put your name in it so folks will remember you.” And that’s how the Blues Music Award winning album, They Call Me Big LLou, came into being. BigLLou took home the award for “Best New Artist” in 2013.
Fast forward to 2020 — America is divided and in the throngs of a pandemic, so BigLLou thought that this was as good a time as any to put pen to paper and finish the album he’d been working off and on for years. “SunShine On Yo Face” is the first release from the upcoming album, Big Man – The Legend of BigLLou, on GoldenVoice Audio Recordings. The tune is available on all streaming platforms and from his website. Portions of the proceeds from the single will benefit the Covid-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund.
BigLLou has appeared on nearly a dozen “OPPs”… other people’s projects, since the release of his award-winning debut, including Bobby Rush and Blind Dog Smokin’s Decisions, Columbia Records’ hip hop artist Raury, and BigLLou’s own follow up to his first R&B recording, The LongShot Sessions – II, among them.
A transplanted Chicago native now living and working in Los Angeles, he co-produced Big Man – The Legend of BigLLou with his longtime producing partner Keith Stewart. Stewart, also a Chicago native, is a former member of the popular 70’s R&B group Heaven & Earth. The music for “Sunshine” was recorded in Chicago and BigLLou did the vocals from his home studio. “I’m in the studio everyday anyway, so why fly to somebody else’s studio. Most of the tunes I’ve been on for other artists I’ve recorded remotely, so I’m kinda used to it now.” says BigLLou.
“SunShine On Yo Face,” is the first acoustical recording of BigLLou since he sang with his traditional gospel group “Phava” over 15 years ago. “It’s a simple little ditty that we hope listeners will latch on to and remember when they need a break from crap, plus it kinda sticks in yo head after you hear it a few times… The other nine tracks on Big Man were recorded in Memphis and have some heavy hitt’n blues players… cain’t say who just yet.. but I hope my bluesy friends like it,” says BigLLou.
“SunShine On Yo Face” has been submitted to the Blues Foundation for single consideration for the 2021 BMAs. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the single will benefit their Covid-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund through his GoldenVoice Audio Foundation to financially help individuals and organizations that support blues music and the musicians.
With a voice as big as the Grand Canyon and a personality to match, let’s hope that BigLLou continues to find the time in his studio, to keep on keeping the blues alive and sharing his Golden Voice with all “His Bluesy Friends.”