Landon Spradlin Blues Band: Blues Challenge Winner
Landon Spradlin Blues Band: Blues Challenge winner
At the tender age of eight, Landon Spradlin got his first guitar. Elvis and Little Richard were his heroes back then. At the tender age of 55, Spradlin and his band won the PBPS Blues Challenge. He moved back to southern Virginia two years ago from the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Blues Finishing School, as he likes to call it) and began to focus on his faith and sharing God’s word through music. His online profile from livebluesworld.com sums it up perfectly: “I’m to an age where I’m not chasing the ring at the merry-go-round, I’m letting it find me,” he writes. “So goes the circle of life, so goes the blues.” But the spry 56-year-old can still hold his own on stage, and so can his bandmates. “I just got the best players in the area I could find to put it together. I just called people I knew who liked where I was coming from musically,” Spradlin said. Drummer Phil Riddle gets immense respect from some of the finest jazz drummers in the business, said Spradlin. “We won the blues challenge last year, and we represented Greensboro in Memphis at the International Blues Competition, and there was one drummer who plays with the world’s best blues musicians. He was flipping out over Phil’s drum playing — he was smitten,” Spradlin said. Bassist Danny Farmer knows how to lay down “a great bottom end” and has the most life experience of anyone in the group, Spradlin added. “The parts are interchangeable depending on people’s schedules,” Spradlin said. “Sometimes we play threepiece, and then for the larger gigs we add several very accomplished keyboard players in the area.” Keyboardist James Pace joined the Blues Band during a recent gig at the Blue 5 in
Roanoke. Craig Motley played keyboards with the band during the International Blues Competition in Memphis, and Steve Edmonds, an accomplished keyboardist from Danville, often joins the band at area gigs. Spradlin cites playing the Dallas Guitar Show the past 11 years, along with playing at Madison Square Garden and jamming with Eric Clapton’s rhythm section in London as some of the high points of his 31-year blues career. But winning last year’s PBPS crown ranks up there near the top of Spradlin’s list of career achievements. “It was a real affirmation and a great encouragement,” he said. Pastor of a church in Gretna, Virginia, Spradlin has five children who all sing, play instruments and write songs, including his eldest daughter, Judah — an accomplished blues singer in Savannah. They represent the continuation of a musical tradition he hopes lives forever. “I’m really considering starting a family publishing company,” he said.
The Landon Spradlin Blues Band performs at 2:45 p.m. on the main stage.