Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center: Buddy Guy is beyond legend
GREAT BARRINGTON -- The term "legend" is often used far too cavalierly when describing various artists, alive or dead.
Such is truly not the case with George "Buddy" Guy of Lensworth, Louisiana. Guy, who will be performing at 8 tonight night at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, has a resume that may pass beyond legendary into something higher.
The 77-year-old Guy is touring ostensibly in support of his 2013 album, "Rhythm and Blues." The disc is already No. 1 on the blues charts and features a host of Buddy Guy acolytes, including Keith Urban, Gary Clark, Jr., Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Beth Hart and Kid Rock.
Who: Buddy Guy
Where: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle St., Great Barrington
When: 8 p.m., tonight
Info: (413) 528-0100; mahaiwe.org
But Guy is also one of the last links between the present and the Blues greats of another era, and it is something of which he is clearly aware.
"It's kind of scary," he told interviewer Donald Gibson in 2013. "Blues music is like an endangered species almost.
"The few of us that's still left, they don't play our music for some reason much anymore."
Guy, of course, still does. "Rhythm and Blues" is his 27th studio album. He has won six Grammys for various blues records.
Guy may well make up for those few contemporaries. He has been called by Eric Clapton, no slouch himself, "the greatest living guitarist."
Over his stunning 55-year career, the former sideman for the late Muddy Waters and bandmate of Junior Wells has played with rock legends such as the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead.
Guy is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Blues Foundation's Keeping The Blues Alive award. He was one of a handful of musicians to win Billboard magazine's Century Award and in 2011, the city of Chicago renamed a section of Wabash Street "Buddy Guy Way."
In 2013, he was honored by the Kennedy Center.
Blues is all Guy has ever really played. And he wins converts whenever he performs.
"Once I was checking into a hotel and a couple saw [me]," he recalled in a story several years ago in Rolling Stone. "They said, ‘You play blues. That music is so sad.' I gave them tickets to my show and they came up to me afterwards and said to me, ‘You didn't play one sad song.' "
"Listen to the lyrics," he said in an interview with National Public Radio. "We're singing about everyday life: Rich people tying to keep money, poor people trying to get it and everyone having trouble with his husband or wife."
But his quest to keep the Blues alive is just part of the reason he still performs..
"I don't know nothing else to do," he said in a 2012 interview. "I'm enjoying it. I get tired, but you get tired if your working in the steel mills, so what's to complain?
"I've never missed a gig yet," he said. "Music makes people happy, and that's why I go on doing it. I like to see people smile."
To reach Derek Gentile:
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile
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