Grammy-winner Gary Nicholson and the Whitey Johnson Band bring "feel better" blues to The Palms on Friday, Oct. 5

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and A-list collaborator Gary Nicholson will front the Whitey Johnson Band at The Palms Playhouse (13 Main St., Winters) on Friday, Oct. 5.

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What do Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, Robert Plant, Bonnie Raitt, Keb’ Mo’, BB King and Fleetwood Mac have in common? They’ve all recorded Gary Nicholson’s songs.

How about Delbert McClinton, The Judds and Billy Joe Shaver? Nicholson has produced their albums. And Guy Clark, Bobby Bare and Joe Ely? Nicholson has been their guitarist.

This Grammy-winning, Texas-born, Nashville-based musician’s resume is a treasure trove of connections that puts the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon parlor game to shame. He’ll add some Yolo County connections on Friday, Oct. 5 when he plays The Palms Playhouse with his blues band Whitey Johnson. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $22.

Equally at home in rock, blues, country, Americana and folk, Nicholson is a number one hit songwriter, member of the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recording artist, world-traveling performer and session and touring guitarist. There are over six hundred recordings of Nicholson’s songs in genres including country, rock, blues, folk, bluegrass and pop. In addition to Starr, Plant, Nelson, Raitt and King, major artists who’ve covered Nicholson’s songs include Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy, George Strait, Garth Brooks, John Prine, Neil Diamond, John Mayall, Etta James and the Mavericks.

Recent projects include co-writing the title song of Ringo Starr’s new album, “Give More Love,” with the former Beatle, which is just the latest in a collaboration that stretches back 15 years. Paul McCartney plays bass on the recorded version.

Nicholson, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ co-wrote “Don’t Leave Me Here” for Mahal and Mo’s project “Tajmo.” The song won Song of the Year at the Blues Foundation’s 2018 Blues Music Awards. The album won Album of the Year at the BMAs and Best Contemporary Blues Album at the Grammys.

Nicholson and Tom Hambridge co-wrote the title song to Buddy Guy’s recent release, “The Blues is Alive and Well.”

He’s also contributed music to movies, including “Fallin’ and Flyin'” from the Acadamy Award-winning Jeff Bridges “Crazy Heart.”

Other notable songs include “Somedays You Write the Song” with Guy Clark and Jon Randall Stewart.

You’d think all that would keep Nicholson busy enough, but he also performs under his own name and fronting a blues outfit he calls Whitey Johnson. Named for a fictional blues player, Whitey Johnson is a five-piece band featuring Nicholson in a fancy white suit delivering “feel better” blues with expertise, attitude, a little magic and a sense of humor.

Whitey Johnson includes New Copasetics’ and Commander Cody’s Tim Eschliman and Sean Allen, Dallis Craft (performed and toured with K.T. Frizzell, Mandy Barnett, Bruce Willis) and Ken Hayes (Robert Cray band, Wild Combo).

Tickets for Gary Nicholson and the Whitey Johnson Band’s Friday, Oct. 5 show at The Palms are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite and at the door if not sold out.

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