The talented multi-instrumentalist played guitar, sang and spoke about songwriting, his introduction to music and his experiences at the School For the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, S.C. Blind since birth, Godfrey suffers from Leber Congenital Amaurosis. His older brother, also a musician, has the same inherited retinal degenerative disorder.
Despite the challenges of being blind, Godfrey is considered one of Nashville’s premier blues guitarists and has been nominated for both Music City Blues Society Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year.
During the presentation, Godfrey demonstrated different genres of music, including blues, soul, R&B and performed music from his latest blues CD titled Nasty Man (Serenity Hill/2010). Godfrey’s previous recordings include Once In a Lifetime Love (Mossland/ 2006), Soul Sensations (Mossland/ 2003), and Let the Big Dog Eat (Aartvark Records/1983).
Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has actively supported visual, literary and performing arts through its charity events and community presentations such as the Creative Exchange lecture series. For more information or to join the gallery’s contact list for future events, call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace. com. Both Sunset River Marketplace and Rickey Godfrey maintain Facebook pages.
I’ve been following Rickey Godfrey’s music for quite some time now – since I first heard his soulful rendition of Dan Penn’s “Smoke Filled Room,” which is on his Once In a Lifetime Love CD (2006). With this new recording, Rickey brings the same raw vocals to the table, but with a focus on the blues. Nasty Man (Serenity Hill 2010)is a self-produced CD and Rickey took the opportunity to showcase his considerable talents: songwriting, vocals, guitar and keyboard.
This CD is just plain fun, more fun, in fact, than it is “nasty.” I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite tune, but there are a few that stand out for me. The opener, “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” co-written with Richard Fleming, is classic Godfrey: sharp, edgy lyrics and gutsy vocals punctuated by masterful guitar stylings. Guitar buffs will love the ending. And, by the way, that’s Shaun Murphy from Little Feat AND Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band singing backup with Rickey.
“Don’t Argue In the Kitchen” is kind of jazzy, a fast-paced cautionary tale, funny as all getout. Flo and Joe go out to a club, drink a little too much, some chick starts flirting with Joe, and by the time the couple get home again, Flo is still all riled up and pops him over the head with an assortment of cooking paraphernalia. Dangerous place, that kitchen!
“Johnny Jones” is a little bit of a departure. It’s full of sadness at the Oct. 2009 passing of Godfrey’s friend – and Nashville’s guitar legend – Johnny Jones. After moving from Chicago to Nashville in the early 60s, Jones was working as a studio musician, when R&B icon Ted Jarrett took him under his wing and actually taught him how to read music. He began working at a club called the New Era Club. During this time, a young Jimi Hendrix used to sit in with him, anxious to absorb Jones’ lowdown blues sound. There was said to be a guitar face-off between the two at some point, and if you can find an old copy of The Tennessean (one of the 2003 issues), you can read about it for yourself. Not surprisingly, Rickey’s guitar solos pay homage to the guitar giant, including some of Jones’ own blues guitar licks.
“Let’s Get Busy,” track ten on Nasty Man (co-written with Doug Jones), is a sexy dance tune and it features N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff along with Rickey on lead vocals. Their voices are exciting and energetic. They combine with Godfrey’s keyboard and guitar solos plus an unexpected saxophone riff by former Delbert McClinton player Don Wise to deliver a tune that blows me away every time I hear it.
I’m a live music junkie, and I love that one of the resounding themes of this recording is its unrelenting energy. But, even with everything going on – gusty vocals, searing guitar, solid rhythm, flashy keyboards –the players never drown each other out. Nasty Man is a strong Gotta Have.
Godfrey plays all guitar and keyboard parts. Other players include: drums – George Perelli (Michael McDonald, Larry Gatlin), Michael Grando and Tez Sherrard (Edwin McCain); bass Franklin Wilkie (Marshall Tucker Band), Doug Seibert; saxophone – Don Wise (Delbert McClinton); synthetic horns – Rickey Godfrey; background vocals – Shaun Murphy (Little Feat, Silver Bullet Band), Ronnie Godfrey (Marshall Tucker Band, Virgil), Kim Morrison, Angel Rissoff (Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, Kenny Vance & the Planotones).
Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey releases new blues CD, plays local dates
The much-awaited new blues recording from American artist Rickey Godfrey is finally here and it’s nasty, so get down with it and have some fun! Nasty Man is a powerhouse of a record – solidly blues-driven with jazz and funk influences that give it an edge and a sound that’s unique to the uber-talented musician.
Godfrey will be in the Coastal Carolinas promoting the new CD from Thursday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 14. Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m., he’s set to hold a CD release party at Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Friday he will be featured on Mid-Day Café radio program on WHQR public radio 91.3 FM in Wilmington, N.C. Friday night Godfrey will appear with bass guitarist Lan Nichols and drummer Rich Laverdure at the Rusty Nail blues club, also in Wilmington. Saturday evening, Nov. 13, Godfrey will play at Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things in Little River, S.C. from 7 to 10 p.m. The following morning, Sunday, Nov. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, Godfrey will be at a band fair being held at O.D. Beach & Golf Resort. The fair is part of CBMA awards weekend, celebrating the best in Carolina R&B music. His Nasty Man CDs will be available for purchase.
The 12-track recording showcases Godfrey’s mind-boggling skills on both Telecaster and keys. According to Godfrey, who also produced the album, he intentionally kept the instrumentation sparse. “I didn’t want an over-produced, over-polished result,” he said. “This is a blues album, and I wanted a raw sound. I love the spontaneous stuff that happened in the studio, like Don Wise’s sax riff on [track 10] “’Let’s Get Busy.’”
It’s obvious that the CD’s lyrics were as important as the musicianship to this singer/songwriter. Godfrey wrote or co-wrote ten of the album tracks. “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” the opening tune, is an unabashed appeal to women everywhere to embrace their inner nasty selves. With its cleverly written lyrics, guitar work and vocals that come from the gut, “Nasty Woman” sets the tone for “Nasty Man.” Co-written with Richard Fleming, it’s already proving to be one of the album’s most popular during live performances.
Other notable tunes include “Don’t Argue In the Kitchen,” a humorous tale that proves jealousy and kitchen utensils are a recipe for disaster and “Don’t Get Your Money Where You Get Your Honey,” sharply crafted advice sure to be ignored, despite the drone keyboard warning us to beware – and behave. Slowing down the pace and the mood is “Johnny Jones,” Godfrey’s tribute to his friend and Jimi Hendrix’ mentor who died in 2009.
The only songs not written or co-written by Godfrey are “Allergic To Mink” by Gary Erwin aka Shrimp City Slim and “When You’re Cool (the Sun Shines All the Time),” penned by Gary Nicholson, Hank DeVito and Kevin Welch.
Boom Boom’s Raw Bar is located on 13th Avenue N. in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Telephone: 843-427-7304
The Rusty Nail is at 1310 S. 5th Ave. In Wilmington, N.C. Telephone: 910-251-1888
Papa’s Pizza Wings & Things is located at 111 Pavilion Dr. #24 (Lowes Food Shipping Complex), Hwy. 179 on the road to Calabash. Telephone: 843-249-3663
O.D. Beach & Golf Resort is at 98 N. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Telephone: 800-438-9590.
For more information about Rickey Godfrey and Nasty Man, visit www.RickeyGodfrey.com.