Buddy Guy’s got the blues about the blues.
He’s still playing them, and doing a good job at it — evidence the glowing reviews for his Grammy Award-nominated 2008 album “Skin Deep.” But as he tours with fellow blues legend B.B. King (who beat Guy out for this year’s Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy), the five-time Grammy winner worries that the genre is in danger of dying out with its elders.
“Country-western’s still got their own stations. You still have a few jazz stations. Some places play the blues, but there’s no such thing as a blues station,” explains the Louisiana-born Guy, who moved to Chicago in 1957 and gained fame as a session guitarist at Chess Records, winning fans such as the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
Blues, Guy continues, “is just being ignored. I don’t know what we’re gonna do about it. Unless some young person comes along like Stevie Ray Vaughan did and explodes a bit, I think we’ll be ignored for quite some time. I hope I’ll be around when something happens, but right now blues and blues clubs are almost endangered species.”
Guy, however, plans to keep doing his part. Energized by the response to “Skin Deep,” on which he stepped up more as a songwriter, he’s starting to work with producer Tom Hambridge on a followup. But even that excitement is tempered by what Guy feels is the reality of the marketplace.
“I have the largest blues club in Chicago (Buddy Guy’s Legends),” he says. “I was in there one day, and a guy came in who’s a disc jockey and said, ‘You ain’t had nothin’ out in awhile.’ And I said, ‘Man, any time a disc jockey doesn’t know I’ve got a new CD out, it’s kinda terrible for blues.’
“But I’ll keep playing, man. I’ll make my records and just hope for the best.”
Buddy Guy performs with B.B. King at 7:30 p.m. Monday (Feb. 16) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $32.50-75. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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