Rewards | Fire Keeper's Club
Thursday, October 6 and Friday, October 7 at 8 p.m.
At age 79, Buddy Guy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who was a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound and a living link to the city’s halcyon days of electric blues. He has received seven Grammy® Awards, a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, 34 Blues Music Awards (more than any other artist), Billboard Magazine’s Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, a Kennedy Center Honor, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone ranks him in the top 25 of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Keeping alive the blues legacy of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and others, in 2015, Buddy Guy released his brand new studio album, Born To Play Guitar, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart. The album features guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons, and was a follow-up to his 2013 first-ever double-disc release, Rhythm & Blues, which also debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart.
Though Buddy Guy will forever be associated with Chicago, his story actually begins in Louisiana. One of five children, he was born in 1936 to a sharecropper’s family and raised on a plantation near the small town of Lettsworth, located some 140 miles northwest of New Orleans. Buddy was just seven years old when he fashioned his first makeshift “guitar”—a two-string contraption attached to a piece of wood and secured with his mother’s hairpins.
In 1957 Buddy took his guitar to Chicago, where he would permanently alter the direction of the instrument, first on numerous sessions for Chess Records playing alongside Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and the rest of the label’s legendary roster, and then on recordings of his own. His incendiary style, still evident throughout his latest record, left its mark on guitarists from Jimmy Page to John Mayer. “He was to me what Elvis was probably like for other people,” said Eric Clapton at Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005. “My course was set, and he was my pilot.”
These many years later, Buddy Guy is a genuine American treasure, and one of the final surviving connections to a historic era in the country’s musical evolution. And still, as one of his glorious tracks puts it, he claims that, “…all that makes me happy is the blues.”