SW logo "Stevie": ES Magazine, June 6, 1997

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SW in black
photograph by Kevin Westenberg

He's kept on running now for more than 30 blues-shouting years. So how come Stevie Winwood looks as if he still hasn't broken into a sweat?

It's sickening, really. You can usually rely on rock 'n' roll to wreck lives - and looks- with its attendant surfeit of sex, drugs and rehab. Not in Stevie Winwood's case: a reluctant star (no Ferraris in his driveway), the teenage wonder who once fronted the Spencer Davis Group is now a 49-year-old pillar of British rock (Traffic, Blind Faith, solo successes) ,whose hair is still thick and tousled, whose features are still angular and unfractured, and whose voice is still as strong and as soulful as when of offered us 'Gimme Some Lovin' ' back in the 60s. He's happily married, too, and lived in Gloucestershire with his Tennessee-born wife, Eugenia, their 4 children and several horses. Just to complete the domestic idyll, he's got a studio across the yard. Slip in there and you get the feeling that you've interrupted a boy immersed in his afternoon games. In fact, the most enviable man in England works hard; his seventh solo album is released this month. The superb Junction Seven includes classic Winwood upbeat tracks, a bluesy gospel ballad, some 70s disco, and the musical polyglot's first Cuban-Latino track.

Stevie's had hits form more than 30 years now, and things have changed. "It was less glamorous then, thought there wasn't as much pressure. This instant stardom people are now exposed to didn't exist. It was a slow, gradual climb. You might have a hit record, but you'd still be touring England in a van." You get the feeling he'd still like it that way: "The thing I try to do is raise people's spirits. If I can do that, even just slightly, then I feel like I've fulfilled my ambition. Music is a vocation for me." Like I said: sickening, really.

-- Allegra Donn

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Thanks to Paul for sending the article.
Page created February 25, 1998.
Last updated February 25, 1998.
© 1998 by the author; reproduce only for non-commercial purposes and with full attribution.