One of the biggest draws to this year’s Baton Rouge Blues Festival is Buddy Guy’s performance. The blues icon will be playing the festival on Saturday, April 9.
Buddy Guy is a Louisiana native who has been releasing music consistently since the late ’50s. He was and still is a heavily influential artist in the Chicago blues scene in particular and the blues rock genre as a whole. His latest album, Born to Play Guitar, was released in July of 2015. It won the 79-year-old his seventh Grammy award at this year’s ceremony. It is his 17th studio album and features guest musicians like Kim Wilson, Joss Stone and Van Morrison.
This album feels like a heartfelt tribute to what Guy has been doing his whole life. Like most blues tracks, Guy writes from his heart and his experiences. This makes for songs that are beautiful lyrically all the way through. The songs’ messages range from the simple story of how he came to play and love music in the title track “Born to Play Guitar,” to Guy talking about how he sees the state of the world in “Crazy World.” The words bring a smile when they want to and cut deep when they need to. The lyrics combined with Guy’s guitar skills make for a solid album all around.
What is also striking about this album is how heavy and gritty the guitar sounds in a few of the tracks, particularly “Wear You Out” and “Too Late.” Not that blues isn’t heavy or gritty much of the time, but the intros to these tunes seem to have a bit more bite than usual. It’s as if Guy is taking a lesson or two from the countless numbers of acts he’s influenced over the years.
The influence of Guy and many blues musicians like him is so important to a lot of the popular rock and alternative music that is popular today. Without musicians like Guy, artists like Jack White, the Black Keys and many others wouldn’t sound the way they do today. They have taken the traditional blues sounds that have been around for so many years and are using it to make something completely their own. It’s nice to hear someone as influential as Guy possibly taking inspiration from these acts and letting them influence him as well.
Overall, this album is a phenomenal example of a traditional blues record with a bit of a modern twist. It is Guy once again showing his thankfulness and passion for what he does. These tracks are sure to sound just as wonderful as he performs them live at the festival alongside many other talented artists.