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Gino Baronelli – The Blues Don

Gino Baronelli - The Blues Don

Gino Baronelli – The Blues Don
Gino Baronelli – The Blues Don


State your reason for choosing music as a career.
You could say it chose me. There was always music in the home, and, the next-door neighbor had a house full of Blues records. I started performing at six on street corners, with friends. From the time I was thirteen, it was all about the Blues. Although I always had a band, I had to choose other ways to supplement my income. Now, I’m retired and music is the prime factor in my life.
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
My lyrics primarily start from concepts about life experiences and daily events that get my attention. I write notes 24/7 and keep them until a concept comes along that they can fit into.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
“VERY good music. Nice Blues Fusion. BTW, your voice sounds similar to Johnny Cash but stronger and more dynamic!!” – JS /AT.
“Tight and shiny Blues!”  – J.F.S.
“Very cool groove and tone!! much success!!” –  F.
“Great top-notch Blues band. Thanks for the music.” – AKOK.
“Fantastic Blues, Don Gino. I can’t wait for the next CD.” – SOS.
“The Blues Don plays some mean Blues! Loving it.” – TTB / AHP.
“Love it man, I am hoping I get to catch one of your shows soon, Looks like you have some gigs not too far away. I’ll say Hi when I get there – good tunes.” NC.
“Cheers!!! Success!!!” BSF.
“Some music is too beautiful to be human. You are an example of how beautiful the Blues can be. Thank you.” MRP.
“wonderful Chicago-blues inspired track ‘Crazy Woman’ … makes me want to put on a fedora and some black Ray Bans and get down.”  – Nat Allister, Fox & Beggar Theater, Inc
“Blues You Can’t Refuse” Sounds great. Rhythm section is good. The guitar solos are fresh. The horns add a nice touch. The background vocals are great. But whatever you paid Deacon Jones you better triple it. Deacon’s performance was off the hook. By the way Deborah heard some of the CD and she likes it as well. If she likes it you done real good!!! You have a product that will sell. The rest of you folks out there need to check this music out”. –  CMJ’s Blog.
“I’ve listened to the tracks of a new Album by Gino Baronelli, the Blues Don, entitled “Blues You Can’t Refuse”. A word on the guitar sound: The guitar’s tone is EXCELLENT. It’s thick, creamy, and crunchy, the way Blues guitar is supposed to sound on record. Overall the record is what a good Blues record is supposed to be. To Gino, and his band (the Capos): you should be very proud of the work you did on this project.”  Tyler’s Blog.
Tell us about your life outside the music world.
Over my life, I’ve worked in a restaurant, a movie house, at a bank, a couple of electronic manufacturing companies, and ran a software company. I raised children while playing my music and working. My second spouse is a semi-professional bowler – I bowl with her for comic relief – and my biggest support. Today, there’s very little in my life that doesn’t have to do with music.
Brief us about your music career.
I sang impromptu do-wops on the street corners of South Philadelphia from the time I was six ‘til I was ten (when the family moved to Los Angeles). It was in L.A. that I met a man who lived next door who introduced me to the Blues. From the time I was thirteen to late in my twenties, I was in Blues oriented bands all over the L.A. area. I moved my immediate family to the SF Bay area where I became involved in the Oakland Blues scene, as a sideman for many of the local (and, when they came town, national and international) headliners. Among them was Mr. John Lee Hooker. Today, I front my own band and play shows for anyone who’ll book the band.
Elaborate on how you come about your artist’s name.
Gino is a nickname, not my birth name; Baronelli is a family name. The “Blues Don” moniker was started by a Harmonica-playing Band Leader of mine named Red Archibald, who heard some friends calling me “Don Gino”. Mr. John Lee Hooker had trouble pronouncing my last name and made the moniker official.
List your five favorite music videos with reasons.
Very few professional music videos interest me. Most seem to be extremely vague about what subject is being presented and others seem to be selling sex and not the music.
Tell us your source of inspiration.
I take inspiration from everyday life events, old stories, conversations I have with people, and the occasional music-oriented movie that has a good premise and vehicles for such inspiration.
Tell us your impression of dealing with paparazzi.
I’m a ham and a showman. So, I embrace the fans, the photographers, and anyone else who’s interested enough in my music to want to interact, take pics, want autographs in strange places, etc. I thrive on it.
Elaborate on the A-Z process of this song.
All of my songs are based on true life events or concepts of human interaction. I don’t have a fixed process for writing/composing. I tend to start with a concept, develop a lyric and compose a melody around the lyric. I leave the task open for editing and re-editing both the lyric and the composition – sometimes many times – before I’m finally ready to cut the song.
Tell us what you have on the way for your fans.
We’re performing at the Russell City Blues Festival (Hayward, CA) and New Blues Festival (Long Beach, CA) this year. We’ve also submitted to Sturgis, which we’d love, but they haven’t chosen us yet. We’re finishing another CD and have a third in the works. Once the finances are secured, they can be recorded and released. We have a benefit coming up, on March 17, in Ventura, CA, for the still displaced victims of the Thomas fire. We’re booking local, national, and international shows, as they become available.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
  • The Capos (Jeremy “Wolf” Danks, Harmonica; Flip Seldes, Bass; Ivor Wiener, Drums; Melvin “Deacon” Jones (R.I.P.), Hammond B-3 and Gary James, Saxophone). Current members: Bob Conti and Randy Merin.
  • The Associates:  [Al Walker, Sax; Gary Bivona, Trumpet and George Pandis, Trumpet (on Crazy Woman, Take My Blues To Town, Hey Lil’ Mama, Chicken, My Good Woman)];
  • The Backup: [Bobby Henley III and Frank Siciliano (on Crazy Women, Take My Blues To Town, Hey Lil’ Mama, Chicken)];
  • The Guitar Enforcer: Phil Gates (on Take My Blues To Town and Chicken);
  • The Harmonica: Little Barry G (on Police In Centerville);
  • The Co-Producer/Engineer: Chuck Kavooras, Slideaway Studios, Shadow Hills, CA;
  • The Mastering: Channel Fuse Media;
  • The Manager, (Roadie, Support, Frustration Calmer, Bookie, etc.): Elizabeth Silverman.


Musicians who have given a little extra: Dennis Jones, Brian Batchley, Mark Sells, Burnett Watson, Coo Moe Jee, JT Doublet, Dave Hale.
AND, that small group of fans that have supported the music and are always there to help get the word out when needed.


Tell us your opinion on the use of auto-tune.
I like natural vocals. The nuances and natural variances of the voice provide a dynamic that you can’t get otherwise. That said; the singer has to have the talent to be able to sing in key.
Tell us your opinion on quality and quantity in terms of releasing songs.
MY current CD was recorded in analog onto two-inch tape and Red Book Mixed. When you listen to the record, it has depth and dimension – you can hear every voice and instrument. Even with the great stuff you can do with digital, most of the finished products are flat, with very few exceptions. I was told by my co-producer, that people can only tolerate forty-five minutes of music. I kept my album around that number – ten songs.
Tell us your opinion on comparing a music career to a non-music career.
To me, anything I did, any work I did, and any so-called career I may have had outside of music were only a means to an end.


Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
I think the sub-genres are important as long as they aren’t niche-oriented or too specific. Many of today’s promoters seem to encourage mixing genres and it makes it very difficult to put labels on the music. I have one such person tell me my music all sounded like Blues and was difficult to book. He’s out there promoting acts that are a mixed bag of five or six different genres and have no home.
State the genre you hate most with reason.
Rap. I liked early Hip Hop. Some of the performers were real and actually had poetic value. The current stuff is just jive, bad rhyme, repetitive, regurgitative, and has no artistic value.


List your five favorite movies with reasons.
Honeydripper – Great statement about the Blues business. Exceptional acting and musicianship.
Godfather; All – Have always been fascinated with the ‘family’ experience.
Good Fellas – Have always been fascinated with the ‘family’ experience.
Blues Brothers; both – Crazy movies, but the cameos were the attraction.
Paris Blues – An old one with a cool story, good acting, and some really hot horn playing.
State the links to your stores and website.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Crazy Woman” – True story about an overzealous stalker.
“Alone in My Room” – Loneliness after messin’ up what could have been a good relationship.
“Take My Blues to Town” – For me, busking is always the best cure for the Blues.
“Played Too Much” – Played ‘my’ music and neglected ‘my’ woman.
“Hey, Lil’ Mama” – True story. She was 15, sneakin’ into a bar. She’s mine now (and legal).
“Come With Me, Baby” – Take my hand and I’ll make you happy.
“Chicken” – No matter a man’s ‘needs’, a good sexy woman can keep him from strayin’.
“My Good Woman” – She’s a good woman and deserves better than she gets.
“Love Menu Fool’ – It’s almost like there’s a fool’s list and a way to Special Order.
“Police in Centerville” – True story. Anti-homeless laws, the police, and survival.
State the title of the album and the reason for picking the title.
“Blues You Can’t Refuse” is a takeoff on the first Godfather movie – “make him an offer he can’t refuse”. Being “the Blues Don” this allows for some very innovative marketing possibilities; i.e. using the “Goodfellas” picture and asking “you’re gonna buy it, right” or Gotti saying, “Gino writes good tunes”, or Carlioni sittin’ in the big armchair with a red Stratocaster.

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