One would think that Eric McDaniel, leader of Dirty Red & the Soulshakers, would be content with promoting the local blues band’s debut album around town. Instead, he’s also put together a supergroup of fellow Okie blues talents — including members of Miss Blues and Watermelon Slim & the Workers
— to back blues progeny Cedric Burnside for his Tuesday gig at VZD’s.
“Cedric kind of gave me that name, Dirty Red,” McDaniel said. “Cedric started calling me that when I played with him and it just kind of stuck. So when I put my own act together, I thought, ‘Well, we’ll use that.’ And so far, it’s worked good.”
Having played with numerous blues acts for years, McDaniel said the genre is just something in his blood, passed down by his musician grandfather and father.
“I grew up playing honky-tonk music,” he said. “When I was a kid, I tried to play punk rock, but when I started writing and developing my own sound, I went back to what I knew, which was blues, honky-tonk and soul music. It was home. It was comforting.”
Because of these diverse roots influences, McDaniel said he believes that for playing the blues, it doesn’t get better than Oklahoma.
“A lot of people don’t realize it, but we’re right at the crossroads of America, so all these different types of music have been floating through here,” McDaniel said. “You had Bob Wills playing up in Tulsa for years and years.
One of my grandfathers had a nightclub in Lawton, and B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, Sam Cooke and all those people would play his club. All that music came through here, and it caught on and influenced so many of us.”
Many of these influences can be heard on the Soulshakers’ aforementioned album, Soul Shakin’. Although he’s excited by the positive response for it so far, he also wants listeners to know that it’s really just “a good commercial” for what he and the Soulshakers do onstage.
“The live show is something to behold. I have a very good band. It’s really tight and I’m a very dogmatic performer, so it always very energetic,” McDaniel said. “You feel the soul. It’s very electric, and the crowd gets up and gets into it. It’s dancin’ music.”
He promises that Tuesday’s show supporting Cedric Burnside — grandson of the late, legendary Mississippi bluesman, R.L. Burnside — will be no different.
“Man, this is gonna be a really good show!” McDaniel said, noting Miss Blues’ Robb Hibbard will play guitar, while Watermelon Slim & the Workers’ Cliff Belcher will play bass, with Burnside on drums and singing. “I’ve known Cedric for a while and we’ve been talking about doing this for a long time, so it’s going to be really good. It’s going to be very high-energy.”
Hey! Read This:
• Watermelon Slim interview