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John Lamb, Published February 29 2012

Blues legend Buddy Guy to perform here Saturday

If you go

What: Old Man Winter Roots & Blues Fest 2012

When: Doors open at noon on Saturday, music starts at 1 p.m.

Where: The Venue at The Hub, 2525 9th Ave. S.

Info: General admission seats $19. Reserved seats $29. ID-only. www.tickets300.com. (866) 300-8300

FARGO – The Venue at the Hub is a couple of steps up from the juke joints and road houses where Buddy Guy cut his teeth, but it’s nothing compared to the room he played last week.

The singer/guitarist was one of the blues legends featured at the Red, White and Blues concert Feb. 21 at The White House. The show, which highlighted the music’s role in shaping American culture, also included B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, Keb’ Mo and Derek Trucks, among others.

Guy headlines the Old Man Winter Roots & Blues Fest on Saturday at The Hub, and is already creating a buzz among the younger local musicians playing the bill.

“He is one of the last links to the past,” says Corey Krueger, drummer in the Moody River Band.

Krueger has seen Guy twice at the guitarist’s club, Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. The drummer’s profile photo on Facebook is a shot with the icon from a Windy City trip last summer.

At 75, Guy is one of the elder statesmen of electric blues music (B.B. King is 86) and a walking, rocking reference section on the genre.

With blues stars Etta James, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (the last four of which all played the Fargo Blues Fest), all passing within the last year, Guy’s prominence as a blues force grows.

Born in Louisiana, he moved to Chicago in the late 1950s and played with fellow blues luminaries Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor and was a session man at the influential Chess Records in the 1960s.

His electrified style of playing and soulful solos helped form the Chicago blues sound and influenced rock guitar greats from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Jimmy Page to Jeff Beck to Jimi Hendrix.

“He’s been around forever,” says Tom Johnson guitarist in the Johnson Family Band, which will also be playing the Saturday festival. “He’s been a staple of what the blues sound has become and changed what rock guitar was.”

Guy is listed 30th on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and his song “Stone Crazy” is 78th of the magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

“When I hear him play, it’s like sheer, unadulterated honesty when you play from your heart to your hand, he does that all the time. He’s truly inspiring to listen to,” says Pat Lenertz, guitarist in the Fargo-Moorhead reggae band Heavy is the Head.

Guy’s live shows are known for his experimentation on instruments, even playing guitar with drumsticks.

“The amazing thing is that he can still play and put on a really good show,” says Johnson, a music professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“He is still a phenomenal player,” Krueger adds. “It’s ridiculous. When he sings, he fills the rooms.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533