Kent DuChaine the nomadic Bluesman from Minnesota. Leadbessie is his Steel Guitar and they are back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 28th February – welcome news for his many fans in the area. His abundant energy and enthusiasm for the Blues plus his exceptional Guitar playing, combined with the power of his voice means it’s a night not to be missed at the Irvine Club.
Kent was born in Wayzata, Minnesota. He started with the Ukulele when he was six and knew then that he wanted to be a musician. Having formed a garage band at 13, it was reading Eric Clapton album notes that led him to check out a Robert Johnson album at his local library – the music of the Mississippi Delta had captured him.
Kent learned to play slide guitar and after a ten year search, found his beloved Leadbessie – ‘a beat-up 1934 National Steel Guitar’ as he describes her. Kitted out with extra heavy strings to cope with his ferocious style, the name Leadbessie is an affectionate amalgam of Blues legends Leadbelly and Bessie Smith.
In the late ‘80s, Kent had a three year spell playing over 200 Shows with Johnny Shines. Johnny’s death hit Kent hard and he elected then that his career would be as a solo Blues player. Every year since then, Kent has traveled back and forth from his home in Georgia USA to Europe every year for three tours of four to seven weeks duration each. Approximately that stacks up to ten thousand Shows and three million miles! Plainly, Kent is a hard worker and off stage he is a quiet almost shy man who lives to spread the Blues.
Kent sings and writes songs about the people and situations he has met in his life and always brings something of his own interpretation to covers of standards such as Little Red Rooster, St James Infirmary, I’ll Be True To You or Trouble in Mind. One of his albums features a song he wrote about Marilyn – a 1956 Cadillac in which he lived and toured throughout the ‘80s. Perhaps it’s Kent’s Guitar playing that he is noted for as much as his voice. His intricate, finger-picking slide-guitar and use of his hand as a hand-hammer is a much admired skill of Kent.
For sheer intensity of performance, it’s difficult to beat Kent DuChaine. If you like the Blues, make sure you are in the Irvine Folk Club audience on Wednesday 28th February for 8pm. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and it’s BYOB.