Photo courtesy Buddy Guy

MUSIC REVIEW | Buddy Guy fights for the rights of the Blues at the State Theatre

Sometimes, all you need is a spotlight for a good show. And that’s all Buddy Guy needed, along with some good old-fashioned showmanship, to enthrall and entertain the crowd at the State Theatre on Sunday, September 7. In the face of diminishing mainstream interest, Guy champions the blues by playing like a 21-year-old with ferocious vigor and passion that is determined to keep the genre alive.Along with his Damn Right Blues Band, Guy opened with “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues” after being introduced as a six-time Grammy Award winner by his keyboardist Marty Sammon, also known as Slammin’ Sammon. At the end of the song, Guy greeted the crowd and after a fan shouted praise in response, the 78-year-old proved that his personality is as gritty as his guitar playing by responding, “Now, if you shut the fuck up for a minute, I’m gonna play something so funky you can smell it. It goes like this.”Throughout the night, the feisty blues legend (some argue he is the greatest blues musician of all time) made the theatre feel as if it was a small, intimate club in Chicago. Continue Reading

Photo courtesy Jonny Lang

Jonny Lang isn’t getting better with age—but then, he doesn’t need to

Blues rocker Jonny Lang has leveled off at a quite satisfactory plateau of guitar playing. He hasn’t improved much in past years—but, on the other hand, he was always pretty damned good to begin with.The same thing with his singing. He has never been impressively melodic and still can’t resist reaching for high notes he’s not going to hit. But, that signature, raw-edged wail of his is very much intact, effective as it ever was. At any rate, the fans who showed up at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on September 18 were solidly with him and the veteran (at all of age 32) did not disappoint.Surprisingly, he didn’t pack the place (but then he was here just last year with his good friend and mentor, blues great Buddy Guy). Continue Reading