Paul Nelson, Musician, and Friend to Johnny Winter, Finds His Spring

Paul Nelson East Coast Rocker
Paul Nelson pays tribute to the 1970s with new album – Photo courtesy Paul Nelson

Releases New Album ‘Badass Generation’

By DONNA BALANCIA – Johnny Winter’s collaborator and friend Paul Nelson is finally making music again.  Guitarist and songwriter Nelson, who was Winter’s right hand man and friend, is touring with his own band promoting his new album Badass Generation.

The collection honors two of Nelson’s favorite subjects: His late friend Johnny and the music of the 1970s.

Badass Generation is influenced by the bands of the ’70s,” Nelson said. “I always loved the music of the ’70s and bands like  Aerosmith, Queen and Led Zepplin,” Nelson said. “I wrote most of the music and the lyrics. The record has a retro ’70s feel with a modern twist. I’m really happy the radio stations are digging it.”

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Badass Generation is a sexy work that gives people who didn’t grow up in the ’70s, a taste of the era.  It’s clean and solid, with tunes that alternate between the sounds of Marshall Tucker Band and Allman Brothers to Bad Company and — not surprisingly — Johnny and Edgar Winter.  Favorite tunes are “Cold Hearted Mama,” “Down Home Boogie,” the funky “Out of Time,” and “Trouble.”  Frontman Morten Fredheim has the voice to pull it all off and he has pleadingly charming vocal range to get what he wants out of each song.   Nelson’s work on slide guitar is to be noted.

Badass Generation East Coast Rocker
Badass Generation

A lot of care went into the four-panel CD jacket, which has all the lyrics for the songs written on the inside. That in itself is reason enough to buy the CD. It’s really cool to sit down with a record cover — and not a laptop — in your lap to read the lyrics along with the music.  We hear that’s what they used to do in the 1970s.

If you’re old enough to remember the music of the ’70s, the songs each bring back memories of a beloved band or place.  The whole package is appropriately named.   The record is indeed badass throughout and is available now.

“I just think there’s a void that needs to be filled with the music,” Nelson said. “People love this type of music but nobody’s playing it.”

The tour for Badass Generation opens in Canada and takes the East Coast by storm.

Writing and recording music has been good for Nelson, who was emotionally gutted by the loss of his friend, Winter, the maestro of blues guitar who passed away on July 16, 2014 while on tour in Europe. But Nelson has been playing in the Johnny Winter All-Star band and he says that’s been therapeutic as well.

Morten Fredheim East Coast Rocker
Morten Fredheim is the dynamic frontman in the Paul Nelson Band – Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson

Nelson said audiences across America will get a chance to see Winter in the new film Johnny Winter: Down and Dirty, which opens around Winter’s Feb. 23 birthday.  Johnny Winter: Down and Dirty was guided by Greg Olliver, the same director who helmed the Lemmy movie.

“The crew followed us for three years,” Nelson recalled.

The new album has some marketable components, Nelson said.

“‘Please Come Home’ could develop a loyal following,” he said. “The song was sent to the Armed Forces Network.

“‘Please Come Home’ is an inspiring and lighthearted song, it’s got a Duane Allman feel and a great vibe.”

As for Johnny dying, “It was really rough, he’ll always be a partnof me he was my mentor and friend. I got him back on top. It wasn’t easy but the all-star shows are therapeutic

“Johnny taught me that less is more,” Nelson said. “He knew everything about the blues. Not only could he play but he was a blues historian. He taught me how inportant it is to listen and incorporate the classic blues into ny work.”