By Joe Curtis
Back from the Byron Bay Blues Fest, in Australia, and before that a successful ‘Experience Hendrix’ tour, Buddy Guy and his Damn Right Blues Band, will be appearing at Toronto’s Massey Hall, this coming Saturday night, April 22, 2017.
Friday, they’ll be in Buffalo, NY at the University of Buffalo’s Amherst Campus. Both nights, Tom Hambridge will be opening the show with the Damn Right Blues Band. He co-wrote “Skin Deep” from the album of the same name, with Buddy Guy, a few years ago. It’s always a pleasure seeing him do this one with Buddy, at his shows. It’s one of those songs that says a lot, with only a few words and a beautiful melody.
Buddy always has stories to tell, to go along with his songs. He also takes time to mention his mom, in these stories, as well. Personal anecdotes from Buddy Guy throughout his show, are always enjoyable to hear.
He sadly mentioned B.B. King’s passing at his last show, and said, “Now that B.B.’s gone, I’m the only one left.” That makes Buddy’s concerts all the more special, wherever he plays.
I’ve seen Buddy Guy and his amazing blues band, many times over the years, at Massey Hall, as well as outdoors at Port Credit’s Southside Shuffle, and the Kitchener Blues Fest. It is always a great treat to see them, because Buddy makes the blues ‘fun’, with his walk through the audience, playing to the fans right at their seats, via the remote pickup from his Fender Strat to his amp onstage.
He’s even gone outside onto the street in front of Massey Hall - making a surprise appearance playing ‘da bluz’ for fans who couldn’t make it inside the show itself. Minutes later he’d be playing to fans in the balcony and orchestra areas, while leaning over the railing of one of the balconies, to enthralled blues fans of all ages.
The Damn Right Blues Band has been backing Buddy Guy for over a decade, and are always right-on-the-mark, never missing a blues cue. Buddy gives them all a featured spot in the show. He’s very proud of them.
Marty Sammon’s superb talent on the ivories goes from blues to classical to jazz, with Buddy following his every nuance. Ric ‘JazGuitar’ Hall’s endearing rhythm and lead guitar solos, complement Buddy’s ballistic riffs – allowing Buddy to go wherever the ‘blues muse’ takes him, at any given moment. Sometimes Buddy and Ric play an acoustic guitar duet together, center stage on a few old classics from the early days of Chicago blues.
Orlando Wright’s bass lines hold it all together, helping the whole mixture rock alright and outta sight. Wright is married to revered blues singer Shemekia Copeland, who’s opened Buddy’s shows, at times over the years.
Last but not least, Tim Austin’s heavy-duty drumming throughout Buddy’s exhilarating performance, holds down the beat, and can’t be beat.
So, with that said, it’ll be a real pleasure as always, seeing Buddy Guy & the Damn Right Blues Band, rock the blues at Toronto’s Massey Hall like there’s no tomorrow, this coming Saturday night, at 8 p.m.