Q&A with versatile saxophonist Evelyn Rubio, relates to what she identifies with the idea that “The blues has no borders”.

"I miss the real live music in concerts, everything it's about computer and I worry for the new generations that can grow up thinking this is the only way to go. My hope is to sell out major stadiums around the world and my fear is technology will continue to divide us rather than bring us together."

Evelyn Rubio: The Blues of Soul

Evelyn Rubio carries a theme in her heart and that theme relates to what she identifies with the idea that “The blues has no borders”. Born in Mexico (Neza City) and raised through her formative years in Mexico City it may be surprising to learn that Evelyn actually began in show business at the early age of nine. Then just two short years later, at the age of eleven, Evelyn would be a regular on a children’s television show “My Little Stars”. By the age of fifteen Evelyn was now earning a nice living as a rock and pop singer with various established bands in and around Mexico City and then at the age of 19 she began learning the saxophone and writing songs as well. Then in 1999 Evelyn recorded and released her first album “Evelyn Automarginados” which is a wonderful funky blues collection of music. Next, for over a period of five years, Evelyn would devote her focus on music between a black tie orchestra and a rocking blues band named “Chivo Azul”, in Playa del Carmen. Next, in 2004, Evelyn would land the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar, a Canadian production in Mexico, as Mary Magdalene.

Shortly afterward Evelyn would emigrate to Houston, Texas and sign a multi-year album contract with the late, great Calvin Owens, a BB king band leader. Right after signing the agreement Mr. Owens would produce Evelyn’s second release, “La Mujer que Canta Blues”. Then it was right back into the studio for Evelyn’s current release, “Hombres” but unfortunately Mr. Owens passed and Evelyn continued to produce and finish the album along with Andy Bradley. In 2011 Evelyn became a member of The James Boogaloo Bolden Blues Band (the last BB king band leader) playing at festivals and went on to release an album in 2013 titled, “No News just The Blues”. Time moved forward and with the much anticipated release of “Hombres” the CD received the nomination for The Jimi Awards as International Release of the year 2015 and then on.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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

Well in my native Mexico, Blues and soul are really in our counterculture, Rock is a little more mainstream. But when I've performed around Mexico, the US. and Europe I've found that people are people and they just want to groove a little and go somewhere else emotionally and simple enjoy this art form.

How do you describe your songbook and sound? What touched (emotionally) you from the Saxophone?

I would describe my songbook as being on the brighter side of the blues. Sometimes I give the boys a break and then of course sometimes I gotta let them have it. I've been told my vocal color belongs with the ballads but I feel too much energy now, maybe later but on my new album I have a " jazzy" song where my vocals follow the saxophone almost note for note and it covers a good part of my range. I've always been a singer and started to play guitar but my mentor and great friend Alfonso Miranda put a saxophone in my hand and I never put it down. It just felt natural, like an extension of my voice.

"First of all, don't compare yourself with nobody else, everybody has their own voice. Be nice with everyone and respect your brother and sisters and that respect will come back to you. I come to appreciate the difficulty of the blues musicians and their legacy of slavery and discrimination and how they prevail in some of the most horrible circumstances." (Evelyn Rubio / Photos courtesy of Evelyn Rubio's Archive)

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

Definitely my friend and music mentor Alfonso Miranda who was my saxophone teacher and he encouraged me to became a musician and songwriter. Once here in the USA Al Staehely (music attorney and member of the rock band Spirit) has been a very important part of my career. He gave me the opportunity to play with The Staehely Brothers Band and he introduced me to Calvin Owens (BB King's band leader for 12 years, trumpet composer and producer) who signed me on his label for 5 years ,5 albums. I recorded the album "HOMBRES" in two versions one in English and one in Spanish and it topped the Billboard Charts at #1 Latin Pop album Album, #6 Blues Album and #3 Top Latin Album...

And believe it or not after Calvin Owens passed away I began playing with B.B. King's last band leader Mr. James Boogaloo Bolden who was B.B.'s band leader for 30 years and I recorded an album with him "No News jus' the Blues" and lately, I've finished an album that included most of the Phantom Blues Band members that I hope to release after the first of the year along with the video "Border Town". I'm also putting a band together with my Producer Mr. Larry Fulcher who is also a (Grammy Award Winner with Taj Mahal) on bass, Grammy Award winner David de la Garza (La Mafia) on keys, two times Grammy Nominated guitarist Corey Stood and Al Jarreau's guitar player for the last 10 years John Calderon. About the best advice I would say "Believe in Yourself" and "Enjoy the ride, even the bumps".

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

Well there are too many but just to mention one, I would never forget when I got the chance to open for BB King and there was a big crowd backstage of friends and family and everybody wanted to spend some time with the King. Unexpectedly, I found myself sharing some experiences with B.B. about Calvin Owens, and he ended the conversation so graciously asking me for a kiss and of course I was so happy to give it to him.  It was fun last year singing backgrounds for David Lee Roth, pure energy!

"Some women can pack a stadium and debut at #1 just like a man can, but it's a fact that not as many rises to that level. I'm going to do my best to add one more sister to the matrix and give it my everything. I have to be strong and remember those that came before me. You know that the Houston Rodeo Show featured 19 artist this last year, four of those were women so as you can see there is more work to be done." (Evelyn Rubio / Photos courtesy of Evelyn Rubio's Archive)

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

The originality and the lack of fear to try different things. I wish I could have that experience that people between 60-70 years old talk about, like they say when they listened for the first time to Jimmy Hendrix, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc... they were in awww what's that?, never heard something like this before!! I miss the real live music in concerts, everything it's about computer and I worry for the new generations that can grow up thinking this is the only way to go. My hope is to sell out major stadiums around the world and my fear is technology will continue to divide us rather than bring us together.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in music circuits?

First of all, don't compare yourself with nobody else, everybody has their own voice. Be nice with everyone and respect your brother and sisters and that respect will come back to you. I come to appreciate the difficulty of the blues musicians and their legacy of slavery and discrimination and how they prevail in some of the most horrible circumstances.

What does to be a female artist in a “Man’s World” as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

Some women can pack a stadium and debut at #1 just like a man can, but it's a fact that not as many rises to that level. I'm going to do my best to add one more sister to the matrix and give it my everything. I have to be strong and remember those that came before me. You know that the Houston Rodeo Show featured 19 artist this last year, four of those were women so as you can see there is more work to be done.

"Well in my native Mexico, Blues and soul are really in our counterculture, Rock is a little more mainstream. But when I've performed around Mexico, the US. and Europe I've found that people are people and they just want to groove a little and go somewhere else emotionally and simple enjoy this art form."  (Evelyn Rubio / Photos courtesy of Evelyn Rubio's Archive)

What is the impact of Blues/Soul music and culture to the racial, political, and socio-cultural implications?

I'm not sure. In my music travels I bring with me the fact that "Blues has no Borders". It's true and I put that on my T's and other merch. On my next album there is a song "Border Town" written by a great guitar player Memo Dueñas and the album will be named Crossing Borders so you can see that concept means a lot to me. When I'm singing and playing my sax, I feel good giving and receiving the good vibes and I'm thankful that I can bring a little fun and enjoyment and sometimes a tear to the audience. One of the lyrics on my next album says that "another life is lost just because of the color of his skin" "I don't understand". We all see color but what or why does it matter?

The great American Indian (Olympic gold medalist) Billy Mills has dedicated his life to helping Indians in poverty and has been awarded the Medal of Honor by a past President. Why should he be nervous and anxious driving through Arizona or Alabama? "I don't understand". I would like to believe that me and my music could make a change in someone's life and I will continue trying.

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 simple like to spend that day with my mother who passed away 10 years ago.

Evelyn Rubio - Home

Evelyn Rubio / All photos courtesy of Evelyn Rubio's Archive

Views: 75

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2019   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service