Blair himself seems to have little patience for stylistic labels. "I dig pretty much everything," he says. "Jazz, funk, salsa, classical, old country, new country, new-new country." He says the Twain audition was a stressfree situation: "I got called in at the last minute, I had nothing to lose and all the cats were quite helpful in making a brutha feel comfy. I've been passed on so many times that I didn't really expect anything. I just looked at it as a chance to get out of the 'ville and see some new mugs."
What's the biggest challenge of the Shania gig?
"There is no challenge," laughs Blair. "It's just mega-fun. All I gotta do is smack them drums and groove. The most satisfying thing is knowing that the pocket is in the house and the peeps are going to have a funky good time!"
With Twain, Blair favors a thin-shelled Maple Yamaha Custom Absolute kit. "Maple makes me smile", he says. "It's a warm thing, tone-wise." For Wooten work, JD uses a custom kit that Yamaha built to his eccentric specifications. It consists of an 18"x18" bass drum, a 12"x8" snare with a wooden hoop on top and 30 snares below and a 10"x4.5" sopranino snare with wooden hoops top and bottom.
"My kits slam in and out of the studio," says Blair. "Yamaha flat-out knows what they're doing. Great time and care are put into the making of the Yamaha gear. If Yamaha made it, I know it's good for the earhole."