I had a chat with the Canadian guitarist South River Slim about his ghostly guitar sounds and other styles of guitar he plays. Firstly let’s hear a song by SRS called Flames of Love to hear why he is such a great guitarist with Ghostly South River Electric Guitar Sounds.
"Don't Start Me Talkin', I'll Tell You Everything I Know" !!! ( Sonny Boy Williamson lyric)
So South River Slim Where Are You Based?
I am based out of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. A border town located across the river from Detroit, Michigan USA. A great music hub, from John Lee Hooker, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Jack White, of course, Motown, and so many more.
What Is Your Favorite Guitar Set Up?
Aaah, it’s very hard for me to pick one! I write almost constantly and love different sounds. For me, every guitar has its own soul, and story to tell. I write on any guitar I have laying around, at that moment! I am very animated and physical on stage “live”, so I gravitate to sturdy, hard-working guitars, and not beautiful museum pieces! I love looking at and admiring guitars, but | don’t want to cry if I got a scratch, or blemish on one I own. I use acoustic Epiphone dreadnaughts, jumbo, and parlor 6 strings, a ’65 12 string, an old late 50’s Kay archtop, and a dobro for slide.
A great all-around electric guitar is always the Fender Strat, especially for “live”, and the Eastwood Sidejack’ is a great reproduction of a 60’s Mosrite with SoapBar pickups for a fabulous ‘surf’, ‘blues’, and more, sound. And I only like “tube” amps. For most larger venue “live” shows I usually use the Fender Twin Reverb, but the studio is always the small tube amps, my fave is a Canadian-made early 60’s “Paul” 5 watts amp, modeled like the 50’s Fender Champ, as I play Harmonica too, I love it for both guitar and electric harp. I also like the Fender ‘pawn shop’ series 13-watt ‘Excelsior’ amp.
What Music/ Artist Influenced You?
Well, I love a lot of styles of music, mostly in a “rootsy” type style. My first big influence was the Rolling Stones. As a voracious reader of books, I began searching for the influences, and cover versions that the Stones had done.
That leads me to the Blues, both Delta and Chicago( Son House, R. Johnson, Little Walter, etc) Original style R&B and Soul(James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Booker T & MG’s, etc), Rockabilly Guitarists ( Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Gene Vincent, etc, and all Sun Records!) And ‘authentic’ Country (Hank Williams Sr, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Gram Parsons, etc) and that’s to name a small few!
I really gravitate towards the music that started from the southern states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Louisiana corridor, that followed the Mississippi River up to the Northern States and cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, and more. That thread of influence runs through the music I love today.
What Is One Of Your Most Memorable “Live” performances?
I love performing “Live” and feel at home on a stage, playing music! I have many, many great memories of shows, both at Festivals, Halls, and Bars, Taverns, Honky Tonks, but one of my most memorable, for myself, was on a New Years’ Eve in Clarksdale Mississippi, at a real Juke Joint. I had gone through a serious illness, and a Bluesman from Mississippi, Leo ‘Bud’ Welsh, who had just released his 1st album/cd at age 81, actually called me up? I had met his manager online, after hearing Leo’s music, and we had a chat often, through a year or 2, while I was recovering.
Well it came about that I planned a trip down south to Memphis, and to Clarksdale for a short tour, and they invited me for the show at Red’s Juke Joint, a famous “real deal” juke joint. Well, it was a bit nerve-wracking, scary but beautifully ‘down home’, going into this blues “shrine” right in the very town where Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Robert Johnson, Ike Turner, and even now, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, and so many more came from, played at, and frequented! It is ground zero for the blues.
Well, I was made to feel right at home and played my originals, and some of my favorite blues songs, with Leo on a New Years’ eve in Clarksdale Mississippi, to an enthusiastic, music-loving crowd. But, you know what they say,” what happens in Clarksdale, stays in Clarksdale…”!
What Do You Do When Not Playing Guitar?
I am is a voracious reader, so I always have 2 or 3 books on hand all the time. I do not read fiction, but lots of various subjects, from Neitzche philosophy, to “Best Ways To Field Dress A Moose”! I also write constantly. I am never without a pen or notebook, so, unfortunately…or fortunately, I have many loose sheets of paper, and spiral notebooks piled up everywhere, and in different areas, so it’s like archaeology dig thru the years, when I look for ideas and limericks that I have written down….somewhere!
Do You Cover Songs?
I love music, and turning people on to some little-known, or some forgotten song I like is paramount to me, like passing some esoteric, secret musical knowledge down thru the years so it does not get lost in time. Going back to the Stones, I used to really like how they covered the songs of their musical influences and were not afraid to make the songs into something different, in their own style, while still paying homage to the original inspiration. “Live” I always throw “cover” songs into the show, and do them in “my style” and not note for note reproductions of the original version, I feel it gives the song a new life, gives me great pleasure in performing it, and maybe will be heard for the first time by a new generation, who will in turn, look up the original artist, dig into the history and set them on their own path of discovery, while keeping certain strains of music still relevant, and vital for future variations yet to emerge.
I have many new songs, and releases coming out, regularly, so keep your eyes on South River Slim, and follow, or subscribe on streaming platforms, download music on Bandcamp, or other music sites, YouTube, Social Media, and maybe I’ll see you at a bar, honky tonk, theater, or festival near you in the meantime enjoy the Ghost of Rock and Roll listen to it here or buy it on Bandcamp.
Ghostly south river electric guitar Sounds Ghost of Rock and Roll by South River Slim
Thanks to south river slim for telling us more about the Ghostly Guitar Sounds and his variety of styles including rock, blues, progressive even country-style guitar.