Bluesman Buddy Guy performs July 7 on the Stravinski Hall stage during the 42nd Montreax Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. - AP

Buddy Guy remains fiery on 'Skin Deep'

Blues may be an ageless music, but most players ease into old age with relaxed grace. Not Buddy Guy, who sounds as distinctively piercing on "Skin Deep" as on his classic '60s Chess Records cuts or his early '90s comeback albums.

At age 72, Guy, a five-time Grammy winner, still cuts shards of razor-sharp glass from his Fender Stratocaster, and his voice remains an anguished cry.

"Skin Deep" follows the modern formula for legendary figures by pairing the Chicago blues master with acolytes. In this case, he duets with Eric Clapton on the groovin' "Every Time I Sing The Blues," steel guitar standout Robert Randolph on the swampy "Out In The Woods" and the hip-shaking "That's My Home," young guitar ace Derek Trucks on the sweetly soulful "Skin Deep" and with Trucks and his wife, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi on the fierce "Too Many Tears." This album marks the first time Guy has recorded all original tunes.

But the real inspiration for Guy seems to be the band assembled by producer and drummer Tom Hambridge. With rock veteran Willie Weeks on bass, Texas kingpin David Grissom on rhythm guitar and Stevie Ray Vaughan sideman Reese Wynans on keyboards, Hambridge's core band gives Guy and his guests a deep, solid foundation. Guy responds by ripping inspired solos every chance he gets, fighting mortality with every ferocious note.

"Lyin' Like A Dog" sets up Guy with a wicked groove, with roadhouse accents by Wynans on piano, and the guitarist replies with in-your-face solos that burst with swagger and inventive ideas.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee touches upon a series of personal memories and observations on the way in which "underneath" we're all the same with the album's title song, "Skin Deep."

The new album was released by Silvertone/Zomba and is Guy's 10th release for the label.


At Press time: Lawn seating is still available for the Buddy Guy show on Saturday, July 26, at Britt Festivals in Jacksonville. George Thorogood and the Destroyers open the show at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $39; $24 for ages 12 and younger. See brittfest.org or call 773-6077.

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