June 19, 2014 Buddy Guy brings Blues Rock to life at The Paramount Huntington, NY 6-11-14
One of the most influential Blues Rock musicians on the planet is American performer Buddy Guy. Ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, Guy has a reputation that precedes him over his six decade career. On Wednesday June 11th, Guy brought his Chicago Blues to New York to play at The Paramount in Huntington. Direct support for the evening was Canadian blue guitarist Matt Andersen. Filing into the room and finding their seats, a crowd of blues guitar rock lovers gathered for the celebration to begin.
Starting his career over a decade ago, Andersen has shared the stage with a broad range of acts from Bo Diddley to America while performing an extensive number of shows over the years. On the heels of his newest studio release Weightless in January Andersen was ready to show The Paramount some superb blues.
Performing a brief but stimulating set of songs, Andersen showcased massive guitar riffs, strong vocals, and storytelling lyrics. His guitar abilities immediately grabbed the attention of the room with soulful finger work on the fretboard. His complex usage of chords provided a thick illustrious sound which gave the feeling of two guitarists on stage, when in fact it was just Andersen. Perhaps one of the most powerful songs of the set was “Cold Miner Blues” which featured warm vocals and beautiful melodic guitar notes throughout. Andersen is a natural talent and a gift to the modern blues-rock scene everyone needs to check out.
After the fine opening it was time for Guy to take the stage. With an unprecedented twenty seven studio albums to his credit, including the most recent Rhythm & Blues (2013), Guy had a lot of ground to cover for his dedicated followers. Walking upon the stage Guy and his backing band of Tim Austin on drums, Orlando J Wright on bass, Marty Sammon on keyboards, and Ric “Jaz” Hall on guitar began with his original song “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues”. Passionate and lively from the start Guy played through a set of classic blues including pieces of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom”, newer track “On The Road, and Guitar Slim’s “Things I Used to Do”. Giving each track the undivided attention of soulful string-bending guitar playing, Guy showed exactly why it takes more than just ability to play the blues. His performance justified the concept that Blues guitar playing is straight from the heart and soul of the artist as much as it is from their fingertips.
At 77 years young, Guy exhibited great amounts of energy on stage while joyous the entire time. Also completely keen on modern culture Guy made it a point to speak of how much times have changed and how Blues essentially has become an underground form of music seldom heard on mainstream radio. Although trends may come and trends may go Blues-rock will forever stand the test of time and Guy played on with his newest contributions to the art form with “Skin Deep” and “74 Years Young”. Telling the story behind the first of the newer tracks, Guy confessed the piece was written based on his life and a time when he saw his mother putting make-up on in the mirror and he said “mama you’re beautiful, and she didn’t crack a smile n said that beauty is only skin deep”. An enlightening commentary, in-between songs, silence blanketed The Paramount with all ears tuned to Guy’s soulful voice as he spoke. Perhaps one of the brightest moments in the show, full of color and excitement already, was the performance of “Best Damn Fool”. It was here where keyboardist Sammon exploded with an amazing performance and received abundant cheers.
Jiving up and down his guitar with ease, Guy was as entertaining as he was inviting to the audience. Being more candid with his followers, Guy openly admitted at one point that he and his band rarely rehearse and like to go out night after night to get the feel for the crowd. Unmistakably effective for Guy’s style of play he definitely had his finger on the pulse of this room with each song performed. Each member of the band helped bring the tracks to life as Guy was in the spotlight playing with the physicality and vocal range of a man half his age. His stage presence is undeniable and watching him improvise through guitar solos is truly magical. Guy will be touring all summer long and will be part of the stellar line-up at The Experience Hendrix Tour this fall, so do not miss this living legend as he continues to dazzle.