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Buddy Guy and The Robert Cray Band play the blues at the Pikes Peak Center

click to enlarge Buddy Guy (left) and the Robert Cray Band (right).
  • Buddy Guy (left) and the Robert Cray Band (right).

For more than 40 years, Buddy Guy has played the blues with some of the best in the business: Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor and many others. Now he's revered as one of the greatest living exponents of classic Chicago electric blues. His tour rolls into Colorado Springs on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Pikes Peak Center.

Also on the bill is The Robert Cray Band, enjoying ongoing critical and musical success since the release of their latest recording, Time Will Tell (released July 2003).

In 1969, Robert Cray was in college playing in a psychedelic cover band when he saw Albert Collins in concert -- a concert that would profoundly alter his musical life. Following his 1980 debut, Who's Been Talkin', Cray made his breakthrough in 1986 with the release of the double platinum, Best Contemporary Blues Recording Grammy winner, Strong Persuader. Cray, along with Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughn, is often credited with the blues revival of the 1980s.

Cray's intuitive playing and knowledge of roots music have garnered him respect among his peers, and he can also be heard in the recordings of Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and John Lee Hooker, among others.

Referred to as the king of the contemporary Chicago blues scene, Guy is known to bring the house down with his magnetic and inventive guitar playing and his consummate showmanship. Fresh off the success of his 2001 release, Sweet Tea -- one of his most innovative and critically acclaimed albums in his career -- Guy released his journey into acoustic blues, Blues Singer, in 2003, winner of the W.C. Handy Blues Award for Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year, Handy Blues Award for Blues Album and Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, and the Grammy for the Best Traditional Blues Album.

Born in Lettsworth, La., in 1936, George "Buddy" Guy played with "Big Poppa" John Tilley and Baton Rouge harpist Raful Neal before moving to Chicago in 1957. In Chicago, Guy met Waters and Otis Rush. By 1960, Guy had signed a deal with Chess Records, where he was immediately an in-demand session guitarist backing up such noted artists as Waters, Dixon, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Taylor. His recording of "Stone Crazy" reached No. 12 on the R & B charts in 1962, and in 1965 he toured England, amazed by the blues/rock movement that was underway.

Guy left Chess Records in 1967 and signed with Vanguard where he truly came into his own. There, he began his long-standing working relationship and friendship with harpist Junior Wells, recording such albums as A Man and the Blues, This Is Buddy Guy and Hold That Plane!

Guy's guitar playing is legendary -- Jimi Hendrix is said to have been profoundly influenced by Guy's playing, and Clapton has called him the "greatest blues guitarist ever." Owner of Chicago's Buddy Guy's Legends nightclub, Guy maintains an active touring and performance schedule.

-- Carolyn Carroll

capsule

Buddy Guy and The Robert Cray Band

Saturday, Aug. 21, 8 p.m.

The Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Tickets still available; prices range from $39 to $57

Call 520-SHOW or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com. Doors open 45 minutes prior to show.

  • Buddy Guy and The Robert Cray Band play the blues at the Pikes Peak Center

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