Friday, May 04, 2007
Anthony (Tony) Palmer - The Fret Burner
Anthony Palmer is an astounding guitarist. He has an incredible memory for music, he has blistering technique, he pours all the love, hate, blood and sweat of human existance through his guitar and amp into the world. His nickname (bestowed by Jimmy Burns) is "the Fret Burner."
If there was true justice in the world, Tony would be rich and famous. But he doesn't seem to be the least bit disappointed with the outcome of his efforts. Mr. Palmer is proud to be a sideman; he doesn't lead a band and he doesn't stand up and sing (even though he possesses a fine voice). He supports Jimmy Burns, Katherine Davis, Matt Skoller, Byther Smith and even me, Mr. G. In the past, Tony supported Otis Rush, Joanna Connor, Sugar Blue and Bobby Rush. Tony has said to me, "I want to build a platform for the front guy. I want to lift him up and make things better." This type of unselfish approach isn't common with musicians that have Tony's skills and creativity. So Tony gets a lot of work - a typical week for him could include 6 or even 7 gigs. You can get a great example of Tony Palmer's work by picking up a copy of the Jimmy Burns Band CD/DVD - "Live at B.L.U.E.S." It is a fine piece of work - Jimmy was fabulous, and Tony was in top form.
Tony is a Chicago guy, West Side. He came up with cats like Michael Coleman and Melvin Taylor. He has been on the road for much of his adult life - Europe, Asia, all over the US and Canada. He isn't traveling as much as he used to - his gigs are mostly in the Chicago area. And he has settled in Evanston IL - he is my neighbor, I am proud to say.
Try to get out to see Tony Palmer. He will be playing with Jimmy Burns at the Harlem Avenue Lounge in Berwyn on May 19, and he will be playing with me in the Mystery Band at the Morseland Cafe in Chicago on May 26.