Q&A with Federico Luiu, continues to embrace his musical idols and he blazes a new path in the musical landscape

"Music has always had a strong impact on people. In the past, blues music has told profoundly personal stories, it has highlighted a number of life problems as well as dealing with issues of a major consequence including war. I would like music to venture down this path; unfortunately, this philosophy is a little lost today."

Federico Luiu: Walkin’ the Blues

Federico Luiu began developing his deep passion for music at thirteen years of age. His attraction to the guitar was inspired by his father, who is an exceptional guitarist in his own right. His father’s love of blues and country music lead Federico to the legendary music of Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, B.B. King and Albert Collins. The musical stylings of Joe Bonamassa, Matt Schofield and Danny Gatton, helped inform and shape Federico’s guitar pedigree. Natural talent, combined with endless hours of practice, allowed Federico to progress quickly from intimate home performances to large concert in a number of renown clubs in Sardinia, Italy. In 2012, Federico moved to Canada. His exceptional guitar-playing immediately was recognized in the Toronto music scene, and soon, Federico was found performing with such great musician as, Jorn Andersen (Alannah Miles), Michael Fonfara (Lou Reed), Al Cross (Big Sugar), Joey Landreth (The Bros. Landreth) and his musical idol Matt Schofield.

In time, Federico helped to form a great blues quartet, Sons of Rhythm. It was there that his songwriting talent came to the forefront. Success of this blues outfit was put on display at many music festivals including the Montreal Jazz festival as well the Porto Ferro Bluesunset Festival in Italy. By 2019, Federico began pursuing a solo career. This endeavour resulted in the creation of “Walkin’ the Blues”, a seven song album that features his creative songwriting as well as his stellar guitar playing. With guest performers such as Alexis Baro, Anthony Brancati, Joey Landreth, Matt Schofield, Alison Young and others, “Walkin’ the Blues” proves to be an explosive mix of Blues, Rock, Jazz and Country music. Looking ahead, Federico Luiu is one to watch as he continues to embrace his musical idols and he blazes a new path in the musical landscape.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Born in a city on a small island in southern of Italy, music, especially rock and blues, opened up a world previously unknown to me. It helped me to understand that music can be an outlet for making one's opinions heard and expressing one's feelings. Music pushed me to travel and to learn a new language which in turn led me to discover new cultures and people.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound is characterized by many different musical styles. I have always been like a sponge in music, listening to every genre of music led to the evolution of my sound and my style. As for my songs, I take inspiration from the experience of life, the people that I meet and all the moments in life that make fell alive. “What you’ve done to me” one of the track of my album is an example of a past experience that help me to create the lyrics.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Meeting Matt Schofield, one of the guitarists who influenced my way of playing guitar, was an experience that I still carry with me today. Matt is also an inspiration on a human level, he has shown me that we must never stop chasing our dreams. Be persistent. I am lucky to call Matt my friend and a life inspiration.

"Lack of authenticity, I think the fathers of Blues were truly unique in what they did which is something that is difficult to find in many artists today. Hope is more powerful than fear. And my hope is real music gets the commercial platform it deserves, rather than shortcut trend we have lately of electronic music produced on laptop with two lines of lyrics." (Photo: Federico Luiu on stage)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

In 2017, I hosted the “Candyland Blues Jam” with my former blues band, Sons of Rhythm. Each week, our live jam session was led by one of a number of talented guest artists including Chris Caddell, Joey Landreth, and Alison Young, just to name a few. We had to tailor our sets to our guest’s musical library. It was such a great experience, it taught me to connect with these musicians in both a musical and human way. These bonds are special and long lasting. I’m honoured that some of them have been part of my journey on my blues album “Walkin’ The Blues”

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Lack of authenticity, I think the fathers of Blues were truly unique in what they did which is something that is difficult to find in many artists today. Hope is more powerful than fear. And my hope is real music gets the commercial platform it deserves, rather than shortcut trend we have lately of electronic music produced on laptop with two lines of lyrics.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I don't think I want to change anything per se, but I would like people to notice that music, especially artists, are more than just a brand. Today, social media can have a stronger power over the product than the music itself. Many times true, unique talent is not properly recognized, as the attention of the public is focused on the appearance of an artist rather than the quality of the music. This is where content isn’t always king, branding is. I still think there’s ways to go for us as a society where we praise quality rather than appearance.

"My sound is characterized by many different musical styles. I have always been like a sponge in music, listening to every genre of music led to the evolution of my sound and my style. As for my songs, I take inspiration from the experience of life, the people that I meet and all the moments in life that make fell alive. “What you’ve done to me” one of the track of my album is an example of a past experience that help me to create the lyrics." (Photo: Federico Luiu on stage)

What would you say characterizes Canadian Blues scene in comparison to European (especial Italian) blues scenes?

The blues community in Italy is strong but I don't think it is as developed as the one in North America or England. Although blues is not an integral part of the Italian musical landscape, they appreciate it when I perform for them and I am surprised by the support and warmth from which the public provides me.

What is the impact of Blues and Rock music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music has always had a strong impact on people. In the past, blues music has told profoundly personal stories, it has highlighted a number of life problems as well as dealing with issues of a major consequence including war. I would like music to venture down this path; unfortunately, this philosophy is a little lost today.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would love to be sent to the 1950’s, when the Chess Records was founded. It would be a joy to be in the presence of the great Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James as they were recording their greatest hits.

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