Artur Menezes, a Brazilian tone for Woodstock Guitares 10th Anniversary!

By José Oliveira & Rosine Alleva -Rock At Night EU Editors 

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Woodstock Guitares Live has invited Artur MENEZES, one of the guitarists – songwriters who makes up this new generation of Blues.

Featured at “Top 25 New Blues Guitarists” by the American Press, ARTUR MENEZES is the new nugget of the world blues panorama. His Brazilian roots give him a very particular style, a different way of approaching the emotional paths that characterize the Blues.  

Under the protection of the famous producer Josh Smith and having already played with Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa, there is no doubt about his success in the Blues pantheon of the new guitar heroes.

“SMOKING KILLS” (the local Blues band of Jérémy CARDOT, the Programming Directeur of WG) opened the hostilities on that beautiful night.

ARTUR MENEZES was accompanied by Loris TILS on bass and Samuel RAFFALOWICZ – “Super Sam” on drums. During the concert, ARTUR MENEZES invited the local talented guitarist Clara Henry to join him on stage.

Rock At Night was there and discovered a fantastic Blues lover and a very kind person.


RAN – Please, tell us a little about your story?

Artur Menezes- I’m from north east of Brazil, a city called Fortaleza. I grew up listening to Baiäo music but also my mother is a singer and I heard  MPB (música popular brasileira) Brazilian popular even before I was born!

RAN – Being Brazilian, it surprises us to see you engaged in a musical genre that is completely atypical for a Brazilian. How and when did you come to the Blues? 

AM– I was three years old when my brother started to listen to rock with an AC/DC album. So listening to his albums I wanted to be like him! When I turned 11, I decided to play guitar and started with an acoustic guitar. At the age of 13 I started to discover the blues through a radio blues program,  Albert King, BBKing, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan… I joined a first blues band in my hometown called Blues Label. I’m a self taught musician and when I started to become professional I learned music as I was curious about what I was doing!

RAN – You are on the road to promote this great work which is Fading Away which was out in 2020. What was the kind of the recording process? JOSH SMITH is your Producer and kind of mentor. What are his qualities?

Loris Tills

AM– Josh Smith produced my 2 previous albums, the 2018 one “Keep pushing” and “Fading Away” in 2020. It was the first time I was working with a producer.  For my last album  “AM/FM” in 2023, it was with another producer and a completely different way of recording, a very interesting experience.

RAN – Joe Bonamassa is currently the blues mentor. How were you able to count on his presence on an album track “Come On”? How did it happen?

AM– He wrote a very nice comment on one of my videos on Instagram. From there we started to exchange a lot. He gave me his contacts and he was playing at the Baked Potato,  the “Rock Candy Funk Party”. I was living close at the time, he put me on the guest list and told me to come every night. As we were talking after a show he said “if you want me to record something on your next album, let me know”. He said he usually was very expensive but for friends a Diet Coke would do! (Laughs)

Artur Menezes

RAN – You already have a busy career in the field of Blues and having received numerous awards. Which was the most impactful for you? To be in the ranking of Best New Guitarist 2023 or another one?

AM– I think it’s during the Blues Foundation’s Gibson in Memphis in 2018 , the Albert King Award for “Best Guitarist, I was recently coming from Brazil to the US and playing at this competition with artists coming from all over the world, suddenly receiving this award really meant a lot.

RAN – I grow up in the British Blues Invasion, early Sixties, Seventies and Albert King, Freddy King or even BB KING drop me to the Blues. Do you think the Blues is still gonna reach a younger audience?

AM– I hope so to be honest! But everything is changing, getting crazy with new technology, social media but things evolve. Like Chicago Blues is the blues we’re most familiar with. But at the time it was innovative, everybody was playing acoustic solos with harmonica, the Delta blues stuff. Then Muddy Waters came to Chicago, the big city where they had electricity. He grabbed an electric guitar and an amplifier as he started playing in bigger clubs, with harmonica and a bullet mic. It was completely different , an innovation. For purists this wasn’t blues, just like today… I think we have to have both. The artists keeping the traditional blues alive but also those mixing blues with other styles to bring the other audiences to the blues. I really believe in Kingfish, a very young and very talented artist. He really got the blues and already received a Grammy award, I think this year. He’s the kind of artist who will bring new people to the blues. I can’t  wait to see where he goes with his career when he’ll start to explore more styles…I’m sure it will be really nice!

Artur Menezes & Clara Henry

RAN – You lived in Chicago and met BUDDY GUY. What did you learn on that great experience?

AM– I went to Chicago in 2006, 2007 & 2011 for 3 months each time, playing and jamming every night. Every Monday I was at the Buddy Guy Legend Club, he was usually there, we talked and I took a picture but he probably doesn’t remember me. But I am going to open more shows for him.  

RAN – Now, you live in LA. I don’t know why everybody goes to live in LA but there must be real interest. What’s yours?

AM– It’s work! Of course it’s a great place, with lots of great people but I think everybody goes there to get something. It’s very hard to connect, to have real friendships. But I love California with its beautiful nature. Actually I met my partner POPS MAGELLAN in L.A. She is Brazilian and an amazing bass player. She also has her own career. The only things I miss are my family and the Brazilian food of course! 

RAN – What’s the Blues scene in Brazil? It’s very underground, isn’t it ?

Artur Menezes & José Oliveira backstage

AM– I think the Blues is underground everywhere, it’s not mainstream. There are beautiful scenes in Brazil but the festivals are usually more jazz and blues. This might confuse the audience a little bit, you know. I used to have a foundation with other band friends to promote blues in the schools and give free concerts at the time. 

RAN – You play a lot at the “Backed Potato Jazz Club” in LA. Is there a difference compared to European scenes?

AM– I don’t think it’s that different. It might be different personalities, different crowds. 

RAN – Thank you very much, it was a pleasure meeting you and chat a bit in Portuguese ! 


Photo credits concert: Philippe Haumesser  & interview: Frany Doceglinsky 


Jose Oliveira

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