with Quinn Sullivan
with Quinn Sullivan
|Age:||Ages 21+ Only|
Contender for the title of greatest blues guitarist ever, with a fiery, screechy, super-quick technique that influenced countless of other musicians.Buy Tickets
Ticket Price: $88 advanced / $94 day of show / $154 reserved seating
At age 79, Buddy Guy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to the city’s halcyon days of electric blues. Buddy Guy has received 7 GRAMMY Awards, a 2015 Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award, 34 Blues Music Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, a Kennedy Center Honor, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #23 in its "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Buddy Guy released his brand new studio album Born To Play Guitar on July 31, 2015 via Silvertone/RCA Records, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart. The follow-up to his 2013 first-ever double disc release, Rhythm & Blues, which also debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart, Born To Play Guitar is produced by GRAMMY Award winning producer/songwriter and Buddy’s longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge. The new release features guest appearances by Van Morrison, Joss Stone, Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons.
Though Buddy Guy will forever be associated with Chicago, his story actually begins in Louisiana. One of five children, he was born in 1936 to a sharecropper’s family and raised on a plantation near the small town of Lettsworth, located some 140 miles northwest of New Orleans. Buddy was just seven years old when he fashioned his first makeshift “guitar”—a two-string contraption attached to a piece of wood and secured with his mother’s hairpins.
In 1957, he took his guitar to Chicago, where he would permanently alter the direction of the instrument, first on numerous sessions for Chess Records playing alongside Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and the rest of the label’s legendary roster, and then on recordings of his own. His incendiary style left its mark on guitarists from Jimmy Page to John Mayer. “He was for me what Elvis was probably like for other people,” said Eric Clapton at Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2005. “My course was set, and he was my pilot.”
Seven years later, July 2012 proved to be one of Buddy Guy’s most remarkable years ever. He was awarded the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime contribution to American culture; earlier in the year, at a performance at the White House, he even persuaded President Obama to join him on a chorus of “Sweet Home Chicago.” Also in 2012, he published his long-awaited memoir, When I Left Home.
These many years later, Buddy Guy is a genuine American treasure and one of the final surviving connections to an historic era in the country’s musical evolution. He keeps looking to the future of the blues through his ongoing work with his 16-year-old protégé, Quinn Sullivan.
“I worry a lot about the legacy of Muddy, Wolf, and all the guys who created this stuff,” he says. “I want people to remember them. It's like the Ford car—Henry Ford invented the Ford car, and regardless how much technology they got on them now, you still have that little sign that says ‘Ford’ on the front.
“One of the last things Muddy Waters told me—when I found out how ill he was, I gave him a call and said, ‘I'm on my way to your house.’ And he said, ‘Don't come out here, I'm doing all right. Just keep the damn blues alive.’ They all told me that if they left here before I did, then everything was going to be on my shoulders. So as long as I'm here, I'm going to do whatever I can to keep it alive.”
It can be argued that Quinn Sullivan has been a real music professional for more than 75 per cent of his life. He’s shared concert stages with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Los Lobos, The Roots, Foo Fighters, Derek Trucks and opened for B.B. King who later invited him play his treasured “Lucille” guitar. He has performed on concert and festival dates throughout the United States, including such venues as the Hollywood Bowl, RFK Stadium Madison Square Garden and worked overseas at both the Montreux Jazz to India’s Mahindra Blues Festivals. He’s also played several editions of the Experience Hendrix Tour, backed by Billy Cox, Jimi’s original bassist. He’s appeared on national TV with guest shots on Ellen (twice), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and CBS News. His third album, Midnight Highway, drops just as he embarks on a European tour that kicks off in Scotland at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on June 30th.
Yes, Quinn Sullivan has packed a lot of extraordinary experience into the span of his decade-long career and that’s even more remarkable when you consider that he only turned 17 this spring. Midnight Highway, produced by multiple GRAMMY® winner Tom Hambridge who also does double duty as Quinn’s studio and road drummer. The album is yet another milestone in a pursuit that has seen Quinn jamming with kids music combo Toe Jam Puppet Band at the age of three, appearing on network television (Ellen, performing a Beatles-inspired version of “Twist and Shout”) when he was six and, at eight, being taken under the wing of blues legend Buddy Guy whose protégé he remains to this day.
He’ll be with Guy for the Glasgow concert that is followed by a string of dates in England, his third Montreux Jazz Festival appearance (this time on a bill with ZZ Top), plus performances in Zurich, Paris, Rotterdam, Perugia and then back to the states in July for performances in his native New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. It’s another action-filled summer for Quinn whose youth belies his professionalism.
The fact of Quinn’s age and his enduring relationship with Buddy Guy is certainly notable but so, too, is his total dedication to his craft. “I wanted to see how far we could get musically on this album,” he commented from his family’s home in New Bedford, Mass. “I had a lot more creative input in this one and was more active in writing so it’s something of a mixture. I didn’t want to completely break away from the blues, that’ll always be my home ground, but I just wanted to stretch out.”
As his voice has changed since the last album, Quinn has been honing his vocal chops. “Mastering the vocals is the result of a lot of playing and touring and I went to a vocal coach who was very helpful in making my voice stronger. I’ll admit I hit an awkward stage with my voice when it was changing a few years ago but now things have evened out and I know both my limits and capabilities. I like the way things have worked out so far.”
Quinn confides, “My major goal now as an artist is to get into songwriting more” and he’s well on his way to achieving that with the new album for which he had a hand in writing three of the stand-out tracks, “Eyes For You”, “Lifting Off” and “Going.” One of the other songs that Quinn tackled is George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” While Quinn will forever be rooted in the blues, his love of the Beatles is truly transcendent so every effort was made to replicate the Harrison classic as faithfully as possible. Producer Hambridge remarked, “We really tried to make it sound like it was off the White Album so we researched everything about the track, where the mike placement should be, how to get the organ to sound like the original. Quinn is a Beatle nut so, of course, he really loved that.“
The album was recorded primarily at Nashville’s prestigious Blackbird Studio with Quinn’s backing band including many of the same players who have recorded on the Buddy Guy albums that Hambridge has produced. These include bassist Michael Rhodes, guitarist Rob McNelley as well as Reese Wynans on keyboards, the latter a veteran of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble. Producer/drummer Hambridge notes, “Quinn was anxious to make an album the way I make those Buddy Guy albums and he did, in fact, tear it up. Quinn felt the mojo and he ‘brought it’ in a big way.”
As a young child, Quinn was brought to numerous festivals and concerts by his music-loving parents. He was the guitar-toting toddler in the audience who would strum along with what was happening on stage. Through videos, the child became enamored of Buddy Guy so his dutiful dad made arrangements for him to meet his idol when Guy came to New Bedford. Backstage, before the show, he asked Buddy to autograph his guitar which, of course, he did — but on condition that the boy play it for him. That led to Buddy calling Quinn onstage to join him during his set and an unlikely, though solid bond was then formed between the great Chicago bluesman and the eager youngster from Massachusetts.
Tom Hambridge calls Quinn “a sponge who soaks up everything that’s around him,” adding, “he’s listening all the time and he just so happens to be around great artists. Every time he plays it’s a little deeper. Buddy Guy is, of course, his mentor so he channels Buddy’s over-the-top reckless abandon.” That’s completely understandable as Buddy has, more than once, advised Quinn, “Go for it; make them remember you.”
Off stage, Quinn Sullivan well aware of the unique opportunity he’s been afforded and is focused on music as an ongoing pursuit. He contrasts his circumstance with that of most of his contemporaries: “They’re struggling to come up with what they’re going to do when they’re out of school but I’ve decided this is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life “
His hope is “to make a splash” with Midnight Highway. “This one I really want to be taken seriously,” says the very poised and purposeful young musician. That’s our intention as well.