As usual, veteran Jersey blues-rocker Billy Hector has a full schedule of bar and nightclub gigs throughout the month of January. But he’s also doing something a little bit unusual for him, with a show at the South Orange Performing Arts Center’s “Blues in the Loft” series, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m.
“I usually don’t work from a set list, but that day I probably will,” he said in a recent interview with HomegrownRadioNJ.org. ”
“I figure this is more like a listening room. This will be like a European gig: In Europe, when you play there, the people really appreciate the musicianship. They’re listening. You’re not a bar band, or something like that.”
Hector also talked with HomegrownRadioNJ.org about some of his guitar heroes, such as Albert Collins and Hubert Sumlin.
Collins once asked him to play with him onstage, says Hector, “and it was a great moment for me. I went to see him at the Lone Star in New York, and a friend of mine was a photographer and took pictures of it. I actually got to stand onstage with him and play. He actually gave me a solo. It was very tough for me to play next to him. He was so powerful, such a powerful player.”
Hector worked with Sumlin, who was best known as Howlin’ Wolf’s longtime guitar play, for “quite a while,” he said, playing in his road band.
“That was a great experience,” he said. “He was a great guitar player — innovative — and a great guy. Everybody loved Hubert; he was such a bright light. And his guitar playing changed the world, basically. Those Howlin’ Wolf records … the lead singer from Led Zeppelin says ‘Smokestack Lightning,’ that was the tune that they wanted to be like.”
Though Hector is based on the Shore, he is originally from Orange, so this is also something of a homecoming gig. He’ll be backed at the show by bassist Winston Roye and drummer Sim Cain.
You can listen to the interview in its entirety, below.