Song Premiere: Steve Vai, 'John the Revelator' - Rolling Stone
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Song Premiere: Steve Vai, ‘John the Revelator’

Guitar god was inspired ‘to add some voodoo hot sauce’ to gospel-blues classic

Steve Vai, 'John the Revelator'Steve Vai, 'John the Revelator'

Steve Vai

Courtesy of Favored Nations

Click to listen to Steve Vai’s ‘John the Revelator’

Veteran guitar virtuoso Steve Vai will release his 16th solo album, The Story of Light, on August 14th. The album will be Vai’s first since 2005’s Real Illusions: Reflection, and it will reportedly continue that album’s “conceptual narrative arc,” which involves “the cosmic journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment and redemption.” 

The Story of Light will also include guest appearances by Aimee Mann, who duets with Vai on a song she cowrote, and The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan, who appears on Vai’s searing rendition of the gospel call-and-response anthem “John the Revelator.” The version, says Vai, was inspired by the 1930 recording by Blind Willie Johnson.

“I heard Blind Willie Johnson’s version and it oozed with mojo,” the guitarist told Rolling Stone. “I was overwhelmed with the compunction to add some voodoo hot sauce to it.”

Vai’s rendition of the song samples the 1930 recording. Listen to the track here, and check out the guitarist’s upcoming tour dates below.

8/15 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
8/16 St. Petersburg, FL – Palladium Theatre
8/17 Lake Buena Vista FL – House of Blues
8/18 Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre
8/20 Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
8/21 Nashville, TN – Marathon Musicworks
8/22 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
8/23 Atlanta, GA – Centerstage
8/24 N. Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues
8/25 Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre
8/26 Richmond, VA – The National
8/28 Washington D.C. – Howard Theatre
8/29 Stroudsberg, PA – Sherman Theatre
8/30 Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre
8/31 Westbury, NY – Theatre at Westbury
9/2 Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
9/4 Ridgefield, CT – Ridgefield Playhouse
9/5 Wilmington, DE – Grand Opera House
9/6 Greensburg, PA – Palace Theater
9/7 New Brunswick, NJ – State Theatre
9/8 Morristown, NJ – Mayo Performing Arts Center
9/9 Albany, NY – The Egg
9/11 New York, NY – Best Buy Theater
9/13 Boston, MA – Wilbur Theatre
9/14 Northampton, MA – Calvin Theatre
9/15 Concord, NH – Capitol Center
9/16 Lebanon, NH – Lebanon Opera House
9/17 Quebec, QC CAN – Capitole Du Quebec
9/18 Montreal, QC CAN – Metropolis
9/20 Toronto, ON CAN – Sony Centre
9/21 Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
9/22 Buffalo, NY – University of Buffalo Center for the Arts
9/24 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
9/26 Minneapolis, MN – The Brick
9/27 Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater
9/28 Chicago, IL – House of Blues
9/29 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
9/30 Salina, KS – The Stiefel Theatre
10/1 Denver, CO – The Ogden Theatre
10/3 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
10/4 Seattle, WA – The Moore Theatre
10/5 Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
10/6 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
10/7 Napa, CA – Uptown Theatre
10/9 San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom
10/10 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
10/11 Anaheim, CA – City National Grove of Anaheim
10/12 Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia
10/13 Agoura Hills, CA – Canyon Club

In This Article: Steve Vai


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