Before I talk about Buddy, I want to tell you about Brandy Zdan. She was the opening act for Buddy. You probably don’t know her name, but she is a great songwriter, singer/guitarist. She has been heralded as a “one woman tour de force” …. just her, her guitar and a drummer. A full sound, but not a full band. Not an easy feat. Her music is a mixture of country, (she lives in Nashville by way of Canada) rock and 80s pop. At least that’s the influence I heard. She said playing with Buddy Guy’s is” like being in school every day.” Seems as if she has already learned a lot. An impressive performance.
What can I say about Buddy Guy? He is a blues/rock guitarist who hails from the blues/jazz capital of the world, Louisiana. He got his start in Chicago in the 1950’s recording and touring with Muddy Waters. In 1969 he started performing and recording his own music and in so doing, has influenced some of the biggest rock names of our time. Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix to name few. He has played and recorded with Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Stephen Stills. He is the winner of 7 Grammy awards. Buddy was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his good friends Eric Clapton and BB King in 2005. Eric Clapton called him “The best guitar player alive”. If you’ve been a fan of any of these talented artists, then you have been a fan of Buddy’s.
I knew who Buddy Guy was…. but wow, what a resume. I feel so privileged to have heard him play, and right here in our backyard in Escondido at the California Center for the Arts. The evening started with him coming out in a shiny red shirt, holding his polka dotted guitar. You already know, he is going to give you a great show. He is 81, but you wouldn’t know it. His voice is clear, his playing is incredible. He enjoys interacting with the audience and you immediately fall in love with his fun and carefree personality. He had us laughing and enjoying his stories of his childhood, early life and history of all his very famous friends and colleagues. He explained, that when he and Muddy Waters were playing blues/rock in Chicago, no one really paid much attention until the British invasion arrived in the US. The Rolling Stones to be exact. That is when everyone started taking note of the originators of that sound…it was Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy. It then hit me, I was listening to a living legend.
The highlight of the evening was when he decided to take his guitar and microphone out into the crowd. As I said before, he LOVES interacting with his fans. He traveled the entire first level of the Center. I have a picture here to prove it. Everyone loved it, and you knew then, if you didn’t know it before that he was having the time of his life. I love when I go to a show, and the performers are having fun. The most obvious of these artists I can think of is Bruce Springsteen. He and his band are just loving what they are doing, it is contagious. Another artist that comes to mind is Bruno Mars. He is just having a great time up there on stage. This is the essence of a true performer. Buddy Guy is one of these performers.
He started at about 8:30 p.m. finished about 10:15 p.m. He received a standing ovation, but didn’t come out for an encore. That was ok, since he gave it his all, and had a ball doing it. What more could I ask for? Just a WONDERFUL TIME I will not soon forget.
Arts and Food Writer for the North County Daily Star
See the full list of upcoming shows at the Center here http://artcenter.org/
Download Buddy Guy’s music here
Download Brandy Zdan’s music here