David Gogo has gone old school.
With one foot always rooted in the blues, Gogo branched into areas of rock but since a trip to the American South and the birthplace of the soulful music, he’s taken a road back into the origins of the genre.
Taking the Mississippi blues trail and visiting the haunts and juke joints of the likes of Robert Johnson, Gogo got a better understanding of the life these players lived and the events that shaped the music.
“I’ve been down to that part of the world, but I’d never really spent any time there,” he said. “It’s another thing to be in that part of the world and meet the people, eat the food and breathe the air.”
Some of the folks he met along the way offered the chance to see some legendary places, like a recording studio that laid down tracks for the likes of Robert Cray, Otis Rush and Chuck Berry. The owner was more than happy to open the studio after hours.
“He said, ‘bring some beers and I’ll give you a tour of the studio’,” Gogo said.
He saw the room and touched the instruments played by so many of the artists he enjoyed.
“You can’t help but get inspired,” Gogo said.
It led to the release of his latest album, Come On Down, released in July – Gogo said it’s one of his best-reviewed albums.
It features a mix of covers and original songs, including Ray Charles’s Let’s Get Stoned.
“I’ve always liked that song and always wanted to record it,” Gogo said. “I try to bring something to the arrangement that’s unique and unusual.”
While most of his songs end up on his own albums, a song he originally wrote for Johnny Winter was recorded by Buddy Guy – a rare treat for a writer to pen for someone he admires.
“He’s one of the last real guys,” Gogo said of Guy. “He’s always been one of my heroes.”
The song, called Never Gonna Change, was co-written with Tom Hambridge, producer of Guy’s latest album Rhythm and Blues.
But work continues as an independent musician. With his latest album released in July, Gogo is booking shows in Europe and Canada to support it, with the goal of heading into the U.S.
Creating new music is always happening, too.
“I purposely leave guitars in different rooms in the house,” Gogo said. “That’s one of the great things about the blues – you can get better as you get older.”
He’ll be playing songs from the new album during a show at Simon Holt Oct. 26, bringing a full band to the north-end restaurant. Show starts at 9 p.m. Please call 250-933-3338 for tickets and reservations.
Come On Down is available on iTunes, music stores and at the show.