WBEZ | Buddy Guy http://www.wbez.org/tags/buddy-guy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy chosen for Kennedy Center Honors http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-bluesman-buddy-guy-chosen-kennedy-center-honors-104058 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP905221780317.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy will receive Kennedy Center Honors this Sunday in Washington, D.C.</p><p>The Chicago blues community came together Tuesday to give him a musical send-off. Blues artist Eddy Clearwater, the Blues Kids of America and several other musicians took the stage at Jay Pritzker Pavilion to congratulate Guy.</p><p>Michelle Boone, commissioner of the city&rsquo;s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said Chicago wanted to send Guy off in style.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody was so willing to participate and wanted to show their love and be a part of something really special for a very special man,&rdquo; Boone said.</p><p>Buddy Guy&rsquo;s been playing the blues in Chicago since leaving his home state of Louisiana in 1957. He came to the city hoping to see Muddy Waters and Howlin&#39; Wolf play the blues in person.</p><p>After several months in the city, Guy found a steady gig playing guitar at the famed 708 Club in Bronzeville. He later became a session man at South Side record label Chess Records.</p><p>&ldquo;I came to Chicago 55 years ago, and [when] I got here, it was pretty cold,&quot; remembered Guy. &quot;I started listening to the music here, and I forgot how cold it got. 55 years later, I&rsquo;m still here, and I&rsquo;ll be here.&quot;</p><p>Guy owns Buddy Guy&rsquo;s Legends club in the South Loop, where he can be found performing when he&rsquo;s in Chicago.</p><p>He was chosen as a Kennedy Center honoree for his musical contributions. Numerous guitarists including Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn cite him as a major influence.</p><p>On the Kennedy Center website, chairman David M. Rubenstein called Guy a &quot;titan of the blues.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;[He] has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century,&rdquo; said Rubenstein.</p><p>During his career, Guy has received six Grammy awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003, he received the National Medal of Arts for his contributions to blues music.</p><p>The bluesman will be joined in Washington this weekend by his fellow honorees including TV host David Letterman and rock band Led Zeppelin.</p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-bluesman-buddy-guy-chosen-kennedy-center-honors-104058 Chicago to honor guitarist Buddy Guy http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-honor-guitarist-buddy-guy-104036 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/GraffitiPhotographic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago is honoring blues guitarist Buddy Guy before he receives a national award for his lifetime contribution to the arts.</p><p>Guy is among several artists who&#39;ll receive 2012 Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 2.</p><p>But before he leaves, Chicago wants to send him off in style. The city has planned to honor Guy on Tuesday afternoon with a concert at Pritzker Pavilion Stage in Millennium Park.</p><p>The distinction from the Kennedy Center is the nation&#39;s highest honor for those who have influenced American culture through the arts.</p><p>Other winners include actor Dustin Hoffman, comedian David Letterman, rock band Led Zeppelin and ballerina Natalia Makarova.</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 09:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-honor-guitarist-buddy-guy-104036 Buddy Guy: From the farm to fame http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/buddy-guy-farm-fame-99599 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4398790979_52312e7131_z.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 415px; " title="Buddy Guy performing at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. (Flickr/Aaron Warren)" /></div><p>Buddy Guy: His name is as synonymous with blues music as that of his idol, mentor and father-figure, Muddy Waters. But Guy would be the first person to say he could never equal or surpass the musical prowess of &ldquo;Mud.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s the kind of man Buddy Guy is: humble and honest. His middle name should be &ldquo;Nice.&rdquo;</p><p>But he is also a determined man. From the day he heard his father&rsquo;s friend, Coot, play a beat-up, two-string guitar when he was a youngster living in a shack with his family in the small town farm town of Lettsworth, Louisiana, Buddy seemed to know that music was meant to be his life.</p><p>But the blues wasn&rsquo;t the first music that touched his heart &ndash; it was the singing of the birds. Guy grew up in the fields of a plantation, picking cotton alongside his dad. He loved and still loves the outdoors and nature.</p><p>How do I know this? I just finished reading Guy&rsquo;s biography, <a href="http://www.buddyguy.net/news/buddy%E2%80%99s-autobiography-%E2%80%9Cwhen-i-left-home%E2%80%9D-available-may-8"><em>When I Left Home: My Story</em></a>.</p><p>Guy takes the reader on a wonderful ride filled with humor, sadness, some regret, lucky breaks and, of course, music. I learn that Guy made his first two-string guitar by stripping some of the wire from the new screen window his mom, Isabell, bought. When he was 12 years old, his dad plunked down $4.32 to buy his son Coot&rsquo;s guitar.</p><p>Like many African-Americans in the first half of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, Guy left the south to come north to Chicago. He arrived on September 25, 1957, a small town young man with no prospects and enough cash to last maybe a month. But boy, what a ride. Guy came to Chicago when blues music was the music of choice for African-Americans, especially the working class who toiled away in the factories and needed release of all kinds after slaughtering cattle at the stockyards or making steel.</p><p>I believe Guy&rsquo;s breaks, in what he calls &quot;the crazy blues life&quot; of Chicago, were equal parts luck, humility and kindness. No, he wasn&rsquo;t a saint. But he also certainly wasn&rsquo;t rough and tumble like some of his early heroes and peers in the blues life.</p><p>Another of those talented characters was the father of Chicago blues: McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters. There&rsquo;s good reason Guy&rsquo;s book is dedicated to Muddy Waters, &ldquo;father to us all.&rdquo;</p><p>From the first night Guy met Muddy Waters, who was driving his red Chevy wagon outside the 708 Club, until Water&rsquo;s death in 1983 at the age of 70, Guy was always in awe of Waters and his creativity.</p><p>Guy hit Chicago at the height of blues in Chicago, then rode the waves of its decline in the African-American community and its ascendance among white fans around the world. Now at age 75, Guy is a legend. He may have slowed down some, but he continues to show no lack of energy and creativity when he picks up his guitar. I think after 55 years in Chicago, we can rightly call him one of our own and beam with pride.</p><p>He&#39;s my guest on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Tuesday. Join us!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/43046857?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="600"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-05/buddy-guy-farm-fame-99599 Famous blues musician Buddy Guy makes special appearance at grandson's school http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/art/famous-blues-musician-buddy-guy-makes-special-appearance-grandsons-school-84468 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-30/buddyguy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It’s not every day a legendary blues musician comes to your high school. But it helps if he’s your grandpa.</p><p>When teacher Kathryn Guelcher learned one of her student’s was Buddy Guy’s grandson, her jaw dropped. She sent Gregory Guy home with a request for a visit.</p><p>Of course, Buddy Guy's really busy, so it took months to arrange a date. There were several attempts.</p><p>"It’s really embarrassing, but I thought there’s nothing to lose here," Guelcher said. "I drew a stick-figure scenario of this room, so I had a stick-figure Buddy Guy with his stick-figure polka-dot guitar, and then like a bunch of kids saying, 'Oooh, yeah, wow,' and 'That’s my granddad,' and I said 'Please, please, please, please'."</p><p>Gregory Guy sent her a text message with the date his grandpa would appear at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park.</p><p>"I said to my husband, oh my God, oh my God, I think Buddy Guy’s coming," Guelcher said. She's been so excited, she hasn’t slept much. But she downplayed it for students, just in case something came up on the Grammy-winning musician's schedule.</p><p>What she didn’t know yet is that Buddy Guy (as he would soon point out in his speech) has never missed a gig. He came early.</p><p>"I’m feeling humbled and excited and I’m trying not to be anxious because he’s so cool," Guelcher said.</p><p>Guy gave the command performance on behalf of his grandson to about 50 students. A few teachers and staff snuck in, and later, a guitar class joined them. Most of the students rushed to sit up front, a high honor from high-schoolers.</p><p>Gregory Guy introduced his grandfather. Buddy Guy sat on a stool next to him in a brightly patterned sweater and khakis.</p><p>He looked like someone's trim grandpa, until you saw his hands. The big rings on his fingers spelled out his initials, "BG" and the word "blues" in diamonds.</p><p>Guy told the students there are songs to be found everywhere, even in people talking about their problems in a restaurant.</p><p>"My producer, every time me and him sit down and talk, he comes with his pad and pen, he says man, because every time you say something, there’s a song," Buddy Guy said. "I didn’t know that ‘cuz I just figured I was never a good guitar player, never a good song writer, I just tried to follow the greats that I learned everything from by watching and listening."</p><p>He was strikingly humble and open with the students. Guy said he was so frightened at an early gig, he couldn’t face the audience and got fired. He still gets stage fright. But he told the students, they don’t need alcohol or anything else to find their courage.</p><p>"This was my little thing to hide behind," he said. "But that was a poor excuse. So you don’t need nothing to learn how to play a guitar, but keep it in your hand as much as you can, or the keyboard or the drums, whatever you want to do, just keep doing it."</p><p>Someone asked Guy to play. He was hesitant without his band or his famous polka-dotted guitar. He explained he likes the feel of his own instrument.</p><p>But his grandson pulled out his own guitar.</p><p>"What kind of guitar did you bring? I think he set up all of this, didn’t he?" Buddy Guy said to the students, who laughed.</p><p>Guy started tuning the guitar, and gently chided his grandson for not playing it more -- he could tell from the tension of the strings.</p><p>There was no amp, so Guy started strumming, unplugged. Staffers ran to get an amp from the band room, and Guy's music soon filled the school auditorium.</p><p>One of the students, Najeeb Dababneh, kept yelling out requests.</p><p>"Now guess what," Guy told him. "Come up here, I want to hear you play. You can play this I know."</p><p>Guy played a few bars from "Sunshine of Your Love." Dababneh said he didn't want to play that song.</p><p>"Just play man, you sound like I did when I was your age. I was afraid to do everything. Go ahead," Guy told him.</p><p>"You got no pick, nothing. We going to use our fingers, we gonna go old school?" Dababneh asked.</p><p>"Whatever man, you want my pick?" Guy asked.</p><p>"Yeah, can I please, of course," Dababneh said.</p><p>"You can have it because I already autographed it," Guy said to laughter.</p><p>Guy gave him his stool, and Dababneh sat down and played for a legend.</p><p>Dababneh said he was terrified. But he understands now how professional musicians feed off the energy of a crowd because he enjoyed being up there so much.</p><p>"I knew I would never have this chance again. I’m so glad I did it, because it got rid of some stage-fright, and I got to play for Buddy Guy, and hopefully, he enjoyed it," Dababneh said.</p><p>As he played, Buddy Guy nodded his head in time, then applauded for Dababneh when he was finished.</p><p>Student Chris Sigel called this the best experience of his life. He was raised listening to the blues.</p><p>"Music is something that should be appreciated and artists are getting older and older," Sigel said. "We need to value their contributions as much as we can, especially if they’re still alive because we can lose them at anytime."</p><p>He said he'd like to see more events like this to introduce the blues to a new generation, and help save the art form.</p><p>"I think introducing kids my age and younger to artists like Buddy Guy or B.B. King, I think it will broaden their perspective and bring more to their music palette," Sigel said. "They need to appreciate more than just what they hear on the Top 40 stations because that’s not real music. This is real music."</p><p>Even Guy’s grandson, Gregory, who’s used to seeing him perform, was touched by the experience.</p><p>"Today was a good experience for me, first time ever being onstage with my grandfather as he was performing in front of my friends," Gregory Guy said. "Big change. Now I’m more confident around people."</p><p>After, students and teachers rushed to get Buddy Guy's autograph. The line soon reached all the way along the stage in the auditorium and into the aisle.</p><p>Guy stayed until the last autograph was signed, and the last photo taken. He left thanking the crowd as they thanked him, and wishing everybody a good time.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 04:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/art/famous-blues-musician-buddy-guy-makes-special-appearance-grandsons-school-84468