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Guitar Shorty
Appearing Live at Moes Alley
Sunday, July 9th
Afternoon Blues Series
4:00 PM, Doors Open 3:00 PM, $20, day of show tickets available after 2pm at Moe's or by phone at 831 479-1854

Eat At Moe's

Moe's Alley presents blues legend GUITAR SHORTY as part of our afternoon blues series.

Legendary guitarist/vocalist Guitar Shorty is a giant in the blues world. Credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Guitar Shorty has been electrifying audiences for five decades with his supercharged live shows and his incendiary recordings. Like a bare knuckled boxer, Shorty strikes with his blistering, physical guitar playing and his fierce vocals, connecting directly with body and soul. What really sets Shorty apart is his absolutely unpredictable, off-the-wall guitar playing. He reaches for sounds, riffs and licks that other blues players wouldn’t even think of. Amazon.com says his guitar work “sounds like a caged tiger before feeding time. His molten guitar pours his psychedelicized solos like lava over anything in his path.” The Chicago Reader declares, “Guitar Shorty is a battle-scarred hard-ass. He slices off his phrases and notes with homicidal fury. He is among the highest-energy blues entertainers on the scene.”

Through the years, Shorty has performed with blues and R&B luminaries like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Guitar Slim and T-Bone Walker. He started playing with these legends while still in his teens and recorded a handful of singles for a variety of labels and an obscure LP during the first 30 years of his career. After decades of paying his dues (like so many unheralded American bluesmen), it took a tour of England to establish Shorty’s fame in his home country. His recordings since then all received massive critical acclaim, and his renowned live performances have kept him constantly in demand all over the world. His 2004 Alligator Records debut, Watch Your Back, became his best-received, best-selling album to date. His 2006 follow-up, We The People, won the coveted Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. Now, with his new CD, Bare Knuckle, Guitar Shorty unleashes a barrage of hard-hitting combinations of guitar, vocals and lyrics, hitting his listeners with some of the most awe-inspiring guitar and vocal work of his long career.

Produced by veteran Los Angeles-based songwriter and bassist Wyzard (an original member of Mother’s Finest, he has toured and recorded with Stevie Nicks and others), Bare Knuckle finds Guitar Shorty singing and playing with ferocious urgency and a fierce righteousness. Bare Knuckle‘s blues burns with heavy rock and roll fire from start to finish, putting Shorty’s infectious energy and guitar pyrotechnics on full display. From the up-to-the-minute “Please Mr. President” to the celebratory “Texas Women” to the politically charged “Slow Burn,” Guitar Shorty has created an album that is as memorable for its menacing, slashing guitar work as it is for its defiant vocals and hard-rocking spirit.

Guitar Shorty was born David William Kearney on September 8, 1939 in Houston, Texas and raised in Kissimmee, Florida by his grandmother. He began playing guitar as a young boy, excited by the sounds of B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker. His first lessons came from his uncle, but when it became clear that the youngster was serious about his music, his grandmother hired a teacher for him. “I learned so fast I was always two or three pages ahead of my teacher,” Shorty recalls. After a move to Tampa when he was 17, the young Kearney won a slot as a featured guitarist and vocalist in the locally popular 18-piece orchestra led by Walter Johnson. Being younger—and shorter—than the rest of the band, a club owner bestowed the name Guitar Shorty on him, and it stuck. After a particularly strong performance by Shorty in Florida, the great Willie Dixon, who was in the audience, approached Shorty and said, “I like what you’re doing. You’ve got something different. I gotta get you in the studio.” A few weeks later Shorty was in Chicago and, backed by Otis Rush on second guitar, he cut his first single, “Irma Lee” b/w “You Don’t Treat Me Right,” for Chicago’s famed Cobra Records (the first label home for Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy) in 1957. “Willie Dixon was a huge influence on me and my singing,” Shorty remembers. “Willie helped me find my own singing voice and showed me how to tell a story with my words.”

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