Born in Beaumont, Texas, Winter rose to prominence in the late 1960s along with his brother, Edgar. His talents first reached a national audience when he was profiled in a Rolling Stone feature on Texas music, and he was soon signed to Columbia Records after that. His early albums for the label, Johnny Winter and Second Winter, brought him even more notoriety, as did an hour-long set at Woodstock in 1969.
Guitar fans loved Winter’s prowess with a six-string, but while he was certainly technically gifted, his love of the blues came before any desire to show off. His albums contained renditions of blues classics by the likes of Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Muddy Waters; Winter would eventually go on to produce three albums for Waters in the 1970s, and he also recorded with John Lee Hooker.
Winter’s last album, Step Back, features collaborations with the likes of Eric Clapton, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry; the album is set to be released on September 22nd.
We were fortunate enough to speak to Johnny Winter in our Influences feature in 2008. You can read that interview here.