Arts and Entertainment

Serving up some holiday blues

Carter Castle and Ricker Winsor will join Island legend John Browne, pictured, for a concert at the Blue Heron Art Center.  - Janice Randall photo
Carter Castle and Ricker Winsor will join Island legend John Browne, pictured, for a concert at the Blue Heron Art Center.
— image credit: Janice Randall photo


Vashon Allied Arts

A mid-December concert at Vashon Allied Arts is being billed as a way to beat the holiday blues.

Former Islander and blues guitarist Ricker Winsor will join Island musicians Carter Castle and John Browne for an all-blues concert with a holiday flavor, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Blue Heron Art Center.

Organizers said the evening will include solos by each of the musicians, as well as the rare chance to hear them come together to perform as a trio. The evening will also include a few blues-tinged holiday tunes.

Inspired by the likes of Mance Lipscomb, Willie McTell, John Hurt and others, Winsor specializes in finger-picking country blues. He also plays bossa nova and sings in Portuguese, Italian and French.

Winsor performs in venues near his home in Vermont and New Hampshire and has released four CDs. He is also an accomplished painter and chaired the art department at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma for eight years.

Since leaving Vashon in 2002, Winsor has taught visual arts and photography in Bangladesh at the American International School and administered a student music program for Dartmouth College.

Castle, who describes himself as a “folk-driven” singer/songwriter, integrates blues elements into much of his music.

“Blues is the ultimate roots music,” he said.

Originally from Maryland, Castle played gigs in New York City and has performed with Iris Dement and Rod MacDonald. He has also performed regional venues including The Tractor Tavern and Folklife Festival. Castle has played two VAA New Works concerts at the Blue Heron.

A Vashon resident for 25 years, John Browne has played guitar since his he was in his teens. He learned to play harmonica in the mid-1960s. He lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district during the same time, where his band, The pH Factor, played a combination of jazz, blues and social protest songs. They toured with Big Brother and the Holding Company and opened for The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger, the Byrds, Mothers of Invention, Lenny Bruce and Jefferson Airplane.

He and his wife Vicki now own Judd Creek Nursery, where they specialize in native plants.

“When I first heard John Browne play, I thought now there’s a guy who really knows how to play the blues. He’s the real thing — he and Ricker both are very expressive masters of the blues,” said Castle of his fellow players. “They are historians of this type of music and play a lot. They are both true storytellers.”


Tickets are $10 for VAA members, students and seniors, $12 general, and can be purchased at Heron’s Nest and Blue Heron Art Center. Call 463-5131 to reserve seats.

For find out more about VAA, visit

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