Vince Agwada
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Vince Agwada

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE | AFM

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Blues Rock

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Feb
10
Vince Agwada @ B.L.U.E.S.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jan
31
Vince Agwada @ Garifuna Flayva

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jan
11
Vince Agwada @ Bozley's

Roselawn, Indiana, USA

Roselawn, Indiana, USA

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Music

Press


The confident, muscular Eyes of the City testifies to Vince Agwada's experience as a musician, songwriter, and producer. It's a back-to-basics slab of modern Blues with a gritty Chicago edge. The slick (but not too slick) album opener "It's a Shame" gives listeners an idea of what to expect. Agwada's rhythm section is top-notch, particularly on "Does it Really Matter?" where perky music contrasts with gloomy lyrics, and "Bottle," where drummer Brian Jones plays a curiously timed shuffle that almost sounds backwards. Agwada's guitar work is another strength, and he can be forgiven for getting showy at times: He's been in the business long enough to have earned it and is good enough to pull it off. The simple structure of the instrumental "I'm Coming Home" gives Agwada plenty of room to cut loose, and he stretches out on the slower numbers too, especially "Ellie" and "Hard to Cry". Most of the lyrical themes run in time-honored courses: finding love, losing it, pretending to have it, and not wanting it. Agwada does get slightly political on "Tubed Out," in which an aural collage of recent news broadcasts serves as a backdrop for a complaint that the world has become too complicated -- possibly the first ever Blues song about information overload. The title track is the exception to this album's overall tone; with programmed rhythm tracks and a bowed upright bass backing a somber, reflective meditation on an urban night, it's both a love song and a plea in a sadder, quieter mode than the rest of the satisfying Eyes of the City.

--Genevieve Williams - Blues Revue January 2009 - Blues Revue Magazine


NEW RELEASE PART 2 – CARRYING IT ON: The answer to Buddy Guy’s musical question above can be found in the new release Eyes Of The City (Rocketnoodle) by master guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/ producer Vince Agwada.

Agwada is an exceptional guitarist who combines technical prowess with soul. Eyes Of The City is a blast of modern and contemporary blues, blues rock, R&B, funk, jazz, and pop that will take you back to the 1975-90 hotbed of live blues in Chicago. From the opener, “It’s A Shame” (a funky groove featuring Agwada’s flawless fretwork and dead-on lyrics, including a rap), to the closer, the title track (a sophisticated jazz/pop tune reminiscent of a smoky ’70s film noir soundtrack), Agwada and company smoke and burn through 12 originals and one cover, John Hiatt’s “Confidence Man.”

I first heard Agwada play in Toronto in the early ’80s when he was on tour with Guy. Once a staple on the worldwide scene, Agwada retired from the road for a number of years to work in the studio, where he honed his technical chops at Chicago Trax. He has returned to performing with a vengeance on this, his first solo album, where he is accompanied by the best musicians of his generation. Harp guru Sugar Blue (who lives in Milan) guests on rocker “Rain,” and Bill McFarland And The Chicago Horns appear on the jazzy, “Does It Really Matter?”

Agwada is a fully realized musician who brings his creativity to whatever genre he plays. He came of age at heady time in American music, when various musical styles co-existed. Eyes Of The City is at once an homage to this musical potpourri and a welcome return to the present of this gifted artist.

– Beverly Zeldin-Palmer Illinois Entertainer August 29th 2008 - Beverly Zeldin-Palmer Illinois Entertainer August 29th 2008


Eyes of the City is a very enjoyable album and gives a clear picture of Vince Agwada as an artist in his own right, not just the summation of those that came before him...

by John McCormick Illinois BluesBlast August 28, 2008 - Illinois BluesBlast


Eyes of the City is a very enjoyable album and gives a clear picture of Vince Agwada as an artist in his own right, not just the summation of those that came before him...

by John McCormick Illinois BluesBlast August 28, 2008 - Illinois BluesBlast


Vince has put together one hell of a Rockin Blues mix on this just under 78 minute 13 track CD “Eyes of the City”. Vince is a master at his trade of being one of the best Blues Guitarists in the game… shredding out some of the most smoking Blues tracks to come out of Chicago from any non-label artist we’ve received over the past ten years. As Vince has on his website… this is the “New Millennium Blues”, and it’s turning heads from Chicago to around the world. Pick up this disc if you want to get some amazing blues today.

Tracks of interest: Confidence Man, Hard To Cry, Rain, and Car Wash Blues.

John & Clarence of BluesWebRadio August 27th 2008 - BluesWebRadio


Vince has put together one hell of a Rockin Blues mix on this just under 78 minute 13 track CD “Eyes of the City”. Vince is a master at his trade of being one of the best Blues Guitarists in the game… shredding out some of the most smoking Blues tracks to come out of Chicago from any non-label artist we’ve received over the past ten years. As Vince has on his website… this is the “New Millennium Blues”, and it’s turning heads from Chicago to around the world. Pick up this disc if you want to get some amazing blues today.

Tracks of interest: Confidence Man, Hard To Cry, Rain, and Car Wash Blues.

John & Clarence of BluesWebRadio August 27th 2008 - BluesWebRadio


Vince Agwada - Eyes Of The City
2008, Vince Agwada

Agwada provides us with a collection of gritty blues-rock songs on his debut CD, Eyes Of The City. There's a real Chicago feel that pervades the album that is part Funk and is fueled by Agwada's masterful fretwork on the guitar. Blooze is an effort worthy of Hendrix, and rolls right into Does It Really Matter?, a big-band style piece that's pure early Rhythm and Blues. Agwada has a pleasant voice to listen to, but his guitar playing is the real star here. The man throws off riffs like thunderstorms spawn tornadoes in the summer. They come quicker than you can imagine and devastate you before you even know what hit you.

Agwada switches back and forth between the gritty Chicago Blues-Rock of the early seventies and the classic Rhythm-and Blues sound that helped create early rock and roll (and inspired an entire generation of Motown stars). I'm Coming Home is a delicious instrumental gem with smokin' hot harmonica, and the legendary Sugar Blue make a guest appearance on Rain (always a treat). Tracks such as Rain, Confidence Man, and Hard To Cry make it impossible to put this disc away. Hard To Cry sounds like a tribute to Texas school of Blues that made Stevie Ray Vaughan an icon. The title track, Eyes Of The City confused me a bit just because it seemed totally out of context with the rest of the album -- more of a slow jams vibe, but Agwada's vocals carry the song nicely.

All in all, Eyes Of The City is an outstanding effort. Agwada conducts a master class in blues guitar before our very ears. The songwriting in general is very strong, and the CD captures some of the energy you might find in a live performance. Eyes Of The City earns a strong recommendation.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5) Wildy's World August 15th 2008 - Wildy's World August 15th 2008


Vince Agwada - Eyes Of The City
2008, Vince Agwada

Agwada provides us with a collection of gritty blues-rock songs on his debut CD, Eyes Of The City. There's a real Chicago feel that pervades the album that is part Funk and is fueled by Agwada's masterful fretwork on the guitar. Blooze is an effort worthy of Hendrix, and rolls right into Does It Really Matter?, a big-band style piece that's pure early Rhythm and Blues. Agwada has a pleasant voice to listen to, but his guitar playing is the real star here. The man throws off riffs like thunderstorms spawn tornadoes in the summer. They come quicker than you can imagine and devastate you before you even know what hit you.

Agwada switches back and forth between the gritty Chicago Blues-Rock of the early seventies and the classic Rhythm-and Blues sound that helped create early rock and roll (and inspired an entire generation of Motown stars). I'm Coming Home is a delicious instrumental gem with smokin' hot harmonica, and the legendary Sugar Blue make a guest appearance on Rain (always a treat). Tracks such as Rain, Confidence Man, and Hard To Cry make it impossible to put this disc away. Hard To Cry sounds like a tribute to Texas school of Blues that made Stevie Ray Vaughan an icon. The title track, Eyes Of The City confused me a bit just because it seemed totally out of context with the rest of the album -- more of a slow jams vibe, but Agwada's vocals carry the song nicely.

All in all, Eyes Of The City is an outstanding effort. Agwada conducts a master class in blues guitar before our very ears. The songwriting in general is very strong, and the CD captures some of the energy you might find in a live performance. Eyes Of The City earns a strong recommendation.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5) Wildy's World August 15th 2008 - Wildy's World August 15th 2008


Discography

Vince Agwada - "Eyes of the City"
Son Seals - "Live at B.L.U.E.S."
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - "Live at Nightstage" (concert video)
Sugar Blue - "In Your Eyes" (composer)
Sugar Blue & Paul Camilleri - "Vagabonding With Sugar Blue & Paul Camilleri" (composer)
Nanette Frank - "There's Room"
Chicago Beau - "My Ancestors"
Camille Houston - "Freestyle"
Bill McFarland & The Chicago Horns - "Fire Horns Alive and Live"
Ruby Harris - "Almost Home"
Ron Prince & Hard Time - "Paroled"
Tina Moore - "Time Will Tell"
Various Artists - "Live at Redbone's"
Stan Borys - " Niczyj"

Photos

Bio

Vince Agwada, a guitarist of the highest caliber, has been a fixture on the Chicago music scene for over 25 years. As a teen he played in numerous local bands, playing an assortment of styles ranging from James Brown to Led Zeppelin to Frank Zappa. He states: "We didn't discriminate, whatever was hot at the time was fair game. The band that I did my first gig with had a set list that included songs by the Isley Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, James Brown, Buddy Miles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway!"

Reflecting on his early childhood years he goes on to state: "My Dad was from Nigeria and was deep into traditional African and Classical music. My Mom is from here and loves R&B, Jazz, and Gospel music, so I grew up hearing a lot of different kinds of music from a very young age. I never thought about it until now but I guess that my parents had a lot to do with my eclecticism with regard to music or art in general for that matter. "

He got his start in the Blues hanging out at Theresa's, a world renown blues haven, and at Buddy Guy's Checkerboard Lounge, and received his blues education jamming with and backing journeymen players such as Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Magic Slim, Otis Rush, John Primer, Syl Johnson, Sammy Lawhorn, Louis Meyers, Johnny Littlejohn and the late Lefty Dizz, who was the first to let the teen sit in on his legendary "Blue Monday" jam sessions.

Vince reminiscing on those times: "That was a magical period in my life, I had come from a fairly straight laced family and didn't grow up hearing a lot of blues. It was through records that I discovered that a lot of these great Blues artists whom many of my idols at the time cited as influences were right here in Chicago. Although I came around a little too late to meet cats like Muddy, Little Walter and Howlin Wolf, on any given night you might still have Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Louis Myers, Dave Myers, Sammy Lawhorn, Lefty Dizz, Johnny Dollar, Queen Sylvia Embry, Son Seals, Otis Rush, Artie White, and just a slew of other greats all in the same room; it was an incredible time for me and I learned an awful lot more from all of these greats than any college could ever have taught me."

Throughout the 1980s and 90s Vince toured the United States, Canada and Europe with many of Chicago's premiere acts including Bernie Mac, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Zora Young, Jimmy Johnson, Son Seals, Junior Wells, Valerie Wellington, The Dells, Sugar Blue, Larry McCray, and Magic Slim as well as his own outfits, One Eyed Jax, and the Vince Agwada Band. In 1996 he was voted one of the top 40 Blues artists under 40 in the country by Living Blues Magazine (issue 120).

As the 90s came to a close, Vince decided to take some time off from touring to complete the engineering degree he had abandoned back in 1981 when he opted to stay in Chicago and play the Blues rather than return to college after a summer break spent gigging in local clubs. He states: "I kept promising myself that I was going back to school next fall for 16 years straight, my folks are very big on education you see and no matter what you do in life, if you don't finish a degree, well you've fallen a little short in their eyes. Things had slowed down drastically for me during this period and to be frank, I had grown a little road-weary. The idea was to finish my degree, get a better understanding of electronics which I've been fascinated with since boyhood, and eventually start an amplifier company which I'd still very much like to do someday."

Although not traveling as much during this period he remained active during these times focusing his energies on songwriting (much of his debut CD "Eyes of the City" was composed during this period) and performing as a sideman with Sugar Blue, Larry McCray, The Morris Ellis Orchestra, The Dells, Chideco Zydeco, and an occasional gig under his own name. It was also during this period that he received a fateful call that would change his life forever "Out of the blue, I got a call one day from Jeff Schroeder asking if I'd be interested in working as a tech at Chicago Trax, a now defunct major recording studio where he headed the tech staff. God has a way of putting you where you're supposed to be and that was the perfect situation for me at the time. I was able to not only hone my audio electronics skills while there but also hung out daily with top flight engineers picking up valuable insight into the recording process." He goes on to state "We had major artists, engineers and producers in all the time. folks like Billy Corgin, Soul Asylum, Mickey Hart, Eddie Money, Kasey Chambers, Rick Rubin, Joe Chiccarelli, R. Kelly, Destiny's Child, Sean Combs, Ministry, and a host of others. I would go home at night and try out the things I'd learned there in my home studio. The three engineers that worked on my CD: Abel Garibaldi, Dylan Ely, and Chris Steinmetz, are all people I met and worked with w