Kent DuChaine has listened to, hung out with, opened up for, travelled and played with most of the great blues men and women his whole adult life.
Some of the major ones are: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, BB, Albert and Freddie King, Willie Dixon, Bukka White, Johnny Shines, Robert JR Lockwood, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis and Son House.
These were the big country and urban blues influences Kent heard and/or played with.
Kent’s early days with the blues involved him both living and learning the blues life.
He has played in most of the major blues festivals in the USA and Europe and was part of a Grammy nominated album recorded at the prestigious Smithsonian Institute Festival of Folk Life in Washington DC.
The theme of the festival was The Roots of Rhythm & Blues, The Robert Johnson Era and was recorded and released by Sony Music. It featured Robert Johnson’s old buddies Johnny Shines, Robert JR Lockwood, Honeyboy Edwards, and Henry Townsend.
Kent attended two of the early Ann Arbor Blues Festivals in the 70s. It united together virtually every important blues man and woman in the world who performed for the three days and nights in August.
His dedication and talent for the blues earned him the honor of opening two shows for Bukka White, spending time with Mississippi Fred McDowell and befriending his hometown bluesmen Lazy Bill Lucas and Mojo Buford in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He has even hung out with Muddy Waters who he later paid his last respects to at Muddys’ funeral in Chicago.
The blues were happening all around Kent at this time and he ended up playing alongside Kim Wilson in a band called Aces, Straights & Shuffles. Willie Dixon heard the band and complimented Kent on his slide playing sounding like a young Muddy Waters.
Willie arranged a recording contract for the boys to help them launch their career by putting them on stage with Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins and Margie Evans.
Kent spent time in Austin, Texas in the mid 70s, soaking up the blues at Antone’s, who were beginning to bring in a lot of the old blues men. He met Stevie Ray Vaughn and learned there were others who shared the same passion and respect for the real blues.
After some time, Kent could see that the solo blues life was where he wanted to go. Travelling the roads alone allowed him the opportunities he was seeking. Following the blues trails unhindered gave him the freedom to play where and when he wanted, for whatever he could get, even if it was just a meal and a drink. The solo life built his following, reputation and talent for the real blues.
By the late 80s he was doing 300+ shows a year all over North America. He was blessed by the blues in 1989 by coming across the great Johnny Shines who was living in Alabama. Kent and Johnny travelled for three years and did more than 200 shows together before Johnny passed away in 1992.
He has spent most of the last 20 years traveling back and forth to Europe and has done close to 100 European tours of 4-6 weeks each. He has logged millions of miles and many thousands of shows.
He will return to Alexander’s in Chester on February 19. Tickets available from the bar at Alexander’s Jazz Theatre, online at www.alexnderslive.com , by calling 01244 340 005, or on the door.