Popular blues/rock guitarist and singer George Thorogood will bring his raucous Delaware Destroyers to So Cal for multiple concerts in early October.
Turns out, virtuoso blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band will be in SoCal at the same time. So, what are a couple of legendary blues artists to do in such a situation?
That’s right — they’re joining forces.
You’ll get two great blues/rock artists for the price of one when they share the same stage at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Humphreys in San Diego, and Oct. 5 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.
Though both are currently on their own respective tours (Kenny is co-headlining with Robert Cray), friends Thorogood and Shepherd decided to treat local fans to a pair of special tour stops where Kenny will open up for George for both gigs.
“We’ve done shows together before,” said Shepherd. “We have a history together and have played shows in the past. And, we have similar fans, so it makes sense to hook up again.”
Well-known for his original tunes (“Bad To The Bone”) as well as his faithful versions of blues and early rock classics (“Move It On Over,” “Who Do You Love,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”), Thorogood is touring behind his latest album and a return to his musical roots, “2120 South Michigan Ave,” where he covers songs by some of his heroes — Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Chuck Berry.
As blues and rock aficionados know, that address is where famed Chess Records resided in Chicago through the mid-1960s. The music produced by Chess would, in effect, give birth to rock and roll as we know it.
“When you do Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, when you play Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, there’s no experimenting. That’s religion, and you’ve gotta do it right,” explained Thorogood.
The younger Shepherd agrees and has been a huge fan of Thorogood’s ability to “preach the gospel” of the blues to fans around the world for the past 30-plus years.
“I’ve always liked and respected the way he blends rock and blues and the way his music appeals to a mass audience,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd’s own current album (“How I Go”) is a return to his roots as well, sidestepping the quasi alternative rock-like sound of his previous studio effort (“The Place You’re In”) to a back-to-basics blues-rock foundation.
One of the album’s highlights is a blistering, Hendrix-inspired take on the Beatles’ “Yer Blues” — perhaps John Lennon’s most powerful tale of personal anguish.
“It’s very primal sounding,” Shepherd said. “When I heard it on the radio while driving one day, it just jumped out at me. I could hear my band doing it.”
Two artists harkening back to their respective roots and keeping the “blues flame” burning brightly — George Thorogood and Kenny Wayne Shepherd — is a show not to miss.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.