Living legend: Few bluesmen are on the level of Buddy Guy.
Scheduled to perform on Wednesday, March 1
Ikeda Theatre at Mesa Arts Center
Buddy Guy got his start in Baton Rouge during the '50s before heading to Chicago, where he recorded with heavyweights such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon. Despite his fiery onstage guitar pyrotechnics, distinctive vocals, and the unparalleled respect of guitar gods such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, Guy was a nowhere man, without an American record contract for much of the '70s and throughout the '80s. The '90s witnessed the rebirth of his career, as he scored Grammys with three consecutive releases, starting with 1991's Damn Right, I've Got the Blues. Guy's scorching solos, chugging rhythms and passionate yelp/croon (which bears the influence of Howlin' Wolf) always found him bordering on rock, and he even took a stab at it on 1998's Heavy Love, which included a duet with Jonny Lang and a ZZ Top cover. However, it was 2001's Sweet Tea, where he headed to the Mississippi hill country to record a primal album in the ramshackle style of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, that will stand as his greatest legacy. An exciting and versatile performer, they don't make them blues guitarists like Guy anymore.