Jimmy Bez: Keeping the blues alive

Photo by Kristen Pierson
Photo by Kristen Pierson

BY J. KENNEY

At the young age of 17, Jimmy Bez is an up-and-coming blues rock guitarist. He was already a prominent guitar player on the original rock scene in Boston with the 21st Century Fugitives. A songwriter and blues fan, he formed the Jimmy Bez Blues Band in 2015 and won the under 21 category at the Boston Blues Society’s Blues Challenge that same year. He also represented Boston in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, to rave reviews. His style is often compared to a young Joe Bonamassa with strains of early Eric Clapton and the late Mike Bloomfield. He recently released his debut EP Lies of a Sinner and will be opening for Tinsley Ellis at Thunder Road Music Club and Rock n’ Roll Bistro in Somerville, MA, on July 15th. We recently caught up with Bez who is planning to make music his career after high school.

Limelight Magazine (LM): You released your debut EP Lies of a Sinner on May 16, 2016. When did you start recording the album? Are you pleased with the final product?

Jimmy Bez: The 17th and 18th of April were the two main recording days.  We were all very pleased with the outcome.

LM: Four of the songs on the EP are originals written by you. Can you walk us through your personal song writing process?

Jimmy Bez: It always starts with the music for me…the lyrics come later.

LM: The last song on the EP is a cover of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” by Billy Myles. Why did you select that song to cover?

Jimmy Bez: “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is an old blues classic written by Billy Myles and first recorded by Freddie King. Besides the fact that it’s a great tune, I’ve always loved the Derek and the Dominos version.

LM: Did you consider covering any other songs for the EP and, if so, what were they?

Jimmy Bez: Recently we’ve been playing “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” by Robert Johnson, “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf, and a few B.B. King tunes but I knew right away I wanted “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” on the EP.

LM: The name of the EP is an interesting choice. Why did you select that title?

Jimmy Bez: The title track “Lies of a Sinner” is one of our favorites to play and people seem to dig it.

LM: You’re opening for Tinsley Ellis at Thunder Road Music Club & Rock n’ Roll Bistro in Somerville, MA, on Friday, July 15th. Are you looking forward to this show? Will you be playing most of the songs off your new CD at this show?

Jimmy Bez: Really looking forward to it. Tinsley Ellis is awesome and Thunder Road is a great new venue with a great stage and sound system. We should be doing most or all of the songs from the EP at the show.

LM: You’re also a member of the award-winning 21st Century Fugitives who previously opened for The Dropkick Murphys. Why did you decide to pursue a solo project separate from them?

Jimmy Bez: I got really into the blues last summer and started a blues band for fun and it just ended up doing pretty well.

LM: The style of music for the Jimmy Bez Blues Band is different than 21st Century Fugitives. Are you influenced by all styles of music? Who are some of your biggest influences?

Jimmy Bez: I was originally influenced the most by Slash, Jimmy Page, and Tony Iommi when I was younger. Getting into the blues really got me hooked on guys like Mick Taylor, [Eric] Clapton, and Gary Moore.

LM: Last year, you won the under 21 youth category in the Boston Blues Society’s Blues Challenge. How did you feel about winning that award, especially since you just started the band around that time?

Jimmy Bez: We were shocked to have won but very excited to get to go play on Beale Street in Memphis.  It’s an incredibly cool place….just one blues club after the other.

LM: You’re currently 17 years old. What are your plans for the future?

Jimmy Bez: I’m hoping to make a career of this as an adult.

LM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jimmy Bez: Thank you for always being such big supporters of local music. I really appreciate you guys checking out my new stuff and I’d like to also thank all the DJs that have been playing the EP.

For more information about Bez and upcoming tour dates, visit his website by clicking HERE.

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