Kent DuChaine the nomadic Bluesman from Minnesota and Leadbessie, his National Steel Guitar, are back at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 5th June – 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.
Born in Wayzata, Minnesota, Kent was six years old when his father taught him to play the Ukulele and from then he knew 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 Kent’s powerful style of playing, the name Leadbessie is an affectionate amalgam of Blues legends Leadbelly and Bessie Smith. Kent has listened to, hung out with, opened up for and travelled and played with most of the great Blues men and women his whole adult life.
He has played at almost all of the major Blues Festivals in the UK and Europe, and his popularity is such that for the last 25 years, Kent has been doing UK tours three times each year. That adds up to thousands of shows and millions of miles! Plainly, Kent is a hard worker and off stage he is a quiet almost shy man who lives to spread the Blues – and watch the beautiful sunsets and enjoy fishing in Lake Eufaula in Oklahoma.
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 and 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. It’s maybe 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’s.
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 5th June for 8pm. The Club meets in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and it’s BYOB.