By Josh Bell
Steve Winwood was a member of the seminal prog-rock band Traffic, played in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, backed blues legends including B.B. King and Muddy Waters when he was just a teenager, and performed on albums by Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison and Lou Reed, among others. Yet for a large number of people, he’s still best remembered as the guy behind the triumphantly cheesy 1986 hits “Higher Love” and “Back in the High Life Again,” from his chart-topping album Back in the High Life.
There are certainly worse things than being known for two top-notch pop songs, but Winwood has much more to offer than catchy blue-eyed soul. He’s a virtuosic guitarist who can go toe-to-toe with Clapton (perhaps the greatest guitarist of all time, with whom he’s toured), and he was named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time.
A nominee for the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame, he penned intricate compositions on Traffic’s classic albums, and his own solo work ranges from pop to blues to jazz to world music. So sure, check him out live to hear “Higher Love” and “Back in the High Life Again,” but don’t surprised if you come away appreciating the man and his talents a whole lot more.