The Center for the Arts brings six-time Grammy Award winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and living Chicago Blues guitar legend Buddy Guy to Grass Valley at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
In a career spanning nearly five decades, Buddy Guy has more than 50 albums under his belt. Most recently he added the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors and NARM Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement to his long list of achievements.
Guy also has earned 28 blues music awards, the first annual Great Performer of Illinois Award, a Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Guy has influenced rock titans such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
He first ventured from his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., to check out the post-war electric Chicago blues explosion of the late 1950s. He became a house guitarist at Chess Records and a member of Muddy Waters’ band.
“He took me, he took Little Walter, he took Junior Wells, he took James Cotton, and he treated us all like we were his children. I just felt like, this isn’t my biological father but the father of me in music and I better listen,” said Guy of Muddy Waters.
“This is my second dad and I better listen if I want to learn something. That was the kind of connection that we all had with him, and until the day he died. I felt like he was the father of my musical career.”
Guy combined a blazing modernism with a fierce grip on his roots, playing frantic leads heavy with swampy funk on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle,” as well as on his own Chess Records sides and the fine series of records he made with harp man and longtime collaborator Junior Wells.
In August, Guy’s recent RCA Records release, “Rhythm & Blues,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s blues charts.
“Rhythm & Blues” is the follow-up to his 2010 Grammy Award-winning album “Living Proof.” The album shows the 76-year-old musician is still at the peak of his creativity.
“I’m trying to keep the blues alive. It was created by some of the best that ever was but has been forgotten by the big radio stations. You can turn on some of the biggest radio stations in this country or any other country, and you may hear what came up in the late ’50s or ’60s of rock, or whatever you want to call it, playing a version of a Muddy Waters record, but they won’t play Muddy’s version,” said Guy.
“The young kids out there don’t know nothin’ about Muddy Waters, and they won’t unless you play him once or twice a week. Then they might say, ‘Oh, I see where they got it from.’ That’s my goal, and I’m gonna fight for that until I leave.”
Local musicians Seth Miner and Scott “Phil Harmonica” Hickman will open the show as the Grease & Grime Duo. The pair is two-fifths of Grease, Grit, and Grime. The group has delighted blues fans in Western Nevada County for more than six years.
Miner’s searing, emotional guitar tone lays down catchy and heartfelt blues grooves behind Hickman’s powerful blues harp to produce freshly interpreted blues standards.
Miner has spent many years playing in bands and has toured extensively throughout the Northwest. Hickman has played blues harmonica since 1971, doing stints with blues artists, most notably Luther Tucker and L.C. “Good Rockin’” Robinson among others.
For more about Guy, go to http://buddyguy.net.