Kent DuChaine has listened to, hung out with, opened up for, traveled and played with most of the great Blues men and women his whole adult life. The list is too long to name them all, but 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 who 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 U.S.A. and Europe and was part of a Grammy nominated album recorded at the prestigious Smithsonian Institute Festival of Folk Life in Washington D.C. 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 70’s. 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. You will have to wait till you see him on stage to hear if he took up Muddy’s offer of some reefer and Champagne!
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 70’s, soaking up the blues at “Antone’s”, who where beginning to bring in alot of the old Blues men. He met Stevie Ray Vaughn and learned that there where others who shared the same passion and respect for the real Blues.
Around this time the most incredible thing happened: after searching for ten years, Kent found his beloved 1934 National Steel guitar, Leadbessie.
After some time, Kent could see that the solo Blues life was where he wanted to go. Traveling 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 what ever 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 80’s he was doing 300+ shows a year all over N. America. He was blessed by the Blues in 1989 by coming across the great Johnny Shines who was living in Alabama. Kent had been based there already for seven years so he knew his way around. The two of them together where a sight to see….” The Young and the Old”. Kent and Johnny traveled for three years and did over 200 shows together. He also recorded a W.C. Handy award winning album with Johnny and Snooky Pryor. The Blues rained down April 21st 1992, just four days before the two of them where to celebrate their birthdays together, Johnny passsed away. Kent understanding that this is life, carried on alone.
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 1000’s of shows.
You can have the opportunity to see what Kent DuChaine can do at Bedford Esquires on Friday March 6th