What you see is not necessarily, what you get. As Whiskey walks onto the stage all dressed in black, a plethora of tattoos on show, the majority of the audience are going to label him a tough, hard drinking biker. He was at one time, and still has his Harley Davidson but these days there is a very different man inside the image.
I had the pleasure of spending several hours with him and his family over a prolonged meal, sitting on the patio as the sun went down, playing guitar and chatting about anything and everything.
As the layers unfolded, I learnt that the major influence in his life was and still is his grandfather. While everyone starts out life headed in their own direction, as time passes other people’s influence leads them either in the right direction or down a road of ruin, fortunately, Whiskey was extremely close to his grandfather. This is the man who realised there was talent in the 9 year old and encouraged him to play his first instrument, the trumpet. He marched alongside him at Boys Brigade parades through the streets of Birmingham, he told him stories about the devastation of war, and if you listen to Whiskeys own music you can hear these tales still.
I expected the music that influenced him to be along the lines of Steppenwolf’s Born to be wild or They call me the breeze, Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is therefore surprising to learn that his all time hero is Robert Johnston who, as the legend goes, sold his soul to the devil and turned out to be reputedly the best blues guitarist ever known. Whiskey’s knowledge of the blues is exceptional, he can tell you all about the great blues artists how and where they started their careers, what they played and how they adapted the music to suit the people listening on street corners in the States.
His passion is his instruments, he has a house full, many of which are specially made for him. Each one is different; they all have their own voice. His latest indulgence is an Asher lap steel, which is being made in California by the company that make guitars for the likes of Ben Harper, Peter Frampton and Graham Nash to name but a few Asher Guitars and Lap Steels
Above a custom built Lazy river Weissenborn electric slide guitar built by Rance White for Whiskey in 2009 made in the USA from koa wood
While his name is Whiskey and he likes the odd malt or two, he is also a bit of a wine connoisseur. Add this to the fact that he is an excellent cook, an astute businessman having started several successful businesses in the UK and knowing exactly the time to sell these on. He still retains several in the Birmingham area, as well as a flourishing business in Tenerife. He is a family man, he gets excited as Christmas approaches, even before his boys came along he took his wife to Lapland to visit Father Christmas, thrilling in the reindeer rides and wanting to take the hand of a little one so they could visit Santa. He has a delightful family a beautiful wife and three young boys who he adores. Family is very important; his children have impeccable manners as he passes on the values his grandfather gave him.
By the end of the evening, the biker had totally disappeared, replaced by a very different character. Is this the reason why the music he writes and plays with Traveller Blues Band is so very diverse, I think so.
All photos supplied by Whiskey – Traveller Blues Band, Tenerife