with Tony Kayehas

After a 10-year hiatus from music, Saskatoon guitar player Tony Kayehas recorded his debut CD Boredom is the Devil’s Tool in 2012. A renewed focus on creativity saw him become an award winning Blues songwriter at the 2015 Edmonton Music Awards for the title track. Here are five songs he considers favourites. /Gregory Beatty

“Machine Gun”
Band of Gypsies
Band of Gypsies (1970)

Listening to this song as a 16 year-old woke me up to the possibilities of the electric guitar — it became more than just a musical instrument. Hearing Hendrix mimic the shriek of jet planes, dive bombs, and sirens changed how I hear music to this day.

“Texas Flood”
Stevie Ray Vaughan
& Double Trouble
Live at the El Mocambo (1991)

I recorded this on VHS when Much Music aired the gig as part of their live concert series. Watching it made me pick up the guitar and seriously learn to play — it was my Damascus Road. A jaw-dropping performance start to finish that his brother said was “just another night.”

“Don’t Shake My Hand”
The Hoax
Humdinger: 10th Anniversary Edition (Disc 1) (2008)

I love Hugh Coltman’s vocal work as much or more than Jessey Davey and Jon Amor on guitar. Total attention to guitar tone and atmosphere with more than a few nods to Texas blues strat legends.

“Bright Lights”
Gary Clark Jr.
lak and Blu (2012)

Part parable and personal revelation about the folly of the music industry, this song is about how we mystify performers. I love that Gary can play Chicago blues in juke joints but can also throw down these huge-sounding fuzz-guitar singles that draw the masses towards blues/rock music.

“James Alley Blues”
Back Alley John
More A Feeling Than A Living (1995)

I always play a version of this Rabbit Brown tune at the end of the last set as a tribute to Back Alley John. John died a few years ago in Calgary after living the bluesiest life I can think of. He once told me this was probably his favourite song. It’s just a sublimely lyrical, long blues song that gets to the many, many heartaches of love and living with the blues.