CLEARWATER — Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd will perform Friday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
Tickets start at $53.27. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
Guy is a multi-Grammy-award winning influential blues legend as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member. He returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall with the blues-infused rock group Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Guy has received seven Grammy Awards, a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, and 37 Blues Music Awards — the most any artist has received. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him No. 23 in its list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
“The Blues Is Alive and Well,” Guy’s latest release, is his 18th studio album.
“I got children and grandchildren who didn’t know who I was, but nowadays we can play outdoor concerts and see kids that are 8, 9, 12 years old coming to me and saying, ‘I didn’t know who you was, but I read what Eric Clapton said about you,’” Guy said in a press release promoting the album. “I’m always trying to make an album that someone accidentally plays where some kid hears it, picks up a guitar, and helps keep the blues alive.”
The record is arriving on the heels of a spate of high visibility for the 82-year-old performer: at the 2016 Grammy Awards, he picked up a trophy for Best Blues Album honoring “Born to Play Guitar” and that same year he hit the road for a U.S. tour opening for Jeff Beck. In addition to bringing the house down for a recent sold-out performance commemorating the closing of New York City’s B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill, he recently appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix talk show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”
Even as Guy pushes forward with his astounding career, he’s careful not to forget his late contemporaries who inspired him along the way.
“I went to sleep yesterday and woke up and all the great blues players are no longer with us,” Guy said. “Muddy, Wolf, B.B. — they’re all gone. Before they passed away, when they were in their prime, we used to have a drink and a laugh and talk about how when one of us is gone, the others have to keep it going. I’m trying to do something to keep this music that I love so well alive.”
With “The Blues Is Alive and Well,” it’s clear that the music — and Guy himself — isn’t going away anytime soon.
Now 20 years into his recording career, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has built an enviable resume as an accomplished recording artist, a riveting live performer and one of the most talented and distinctive guitarists of his generation. Shepherd has sold millions of albums worldwide, received five Grammy nominations, two Billboard Music Awards, as well as a pair of Orville H. Gibson Awards, the Blues Foundation's Keeping the Blues Alive Award and two Blues Music Awards. He's had seven No. 1 blues albums and a string of No. 1 mainstream rock singles. His latest album, “The Traveler,” was released in May 2019.