Immersed in the Blues: Three Nights with Buddy Guy in the Pacific Northwest

Buddy Guy and The Damn Right Blues Band returned to the Northwest for three performances this past May and I was there for every show. The venues, three of my favorites in the Northwest, included the Silva Concert Hall in Eugene's Hult Center (the largest venue of the three) on May 23, followed by the Edmonds Center for the Arts on May 24, and then the final night of my journey at the magnificent Pantages Theater in Tacoma on May 25.

Guy, just a few months shy of his 80th birthday, was in top form for all three shows, walking on stage each night with his infectious smile as he tore into “Damn Right, I've Got the Blues” like he was 20 years old, playing one of the fiercest guitar solos you will likely ever see.

When Guy sings the blues, it’s all emotion—he's the real deal, giving everything he has. And when he plays the guitar, it appears to almost be an effortless extension of himself. Guy is not only a master guitar player, but also a remarkable vocalist and showman. Something that was constantly on display at all three shows was Guy’s storytelling, speaking with such heartfelt conviction while reflecting about his childhood, the masters who taught him, and the hope for someone to carry on the songs of the blues masters for future generations. He has the ability to make this amazing connection because, through his squeals and tight-fisted gyrations, we feel the pain and we feel what he's feeling because we've all been there too.

Opening for Guy all three nights was his longtime keyboard player Marty Sammon and Rick King, while The Damn Right Blues Band also included Ric Hall on guitar, Orlando Wright on bass, Sammon on keys, and Tim Austin behind the kit.

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