Concert Review: Kent DuChaine

Concert Review: Kent DuChaine at Lichfield Guildhall – February 2014

Reviewd by: Rob Demarco with photography by Dave Jones

On Sunday night Kent DuChaine and his 80–year-old slide guitar “Leadbessie” rocked The Guildhall for a near capacity audience made up of Blues enthusiasts, Country lovers and a smattering of those who simply enjoy something different.

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DuChaine has been playing the slide guitar for more than 40 years and it was a treat for those of us unfamiliar with the range of this instrument to watch and hear its elongated whines, twangs and added bass applied both to Blues classics like “St. James Infirmary” and originals like “Tribute To Muddy (Waters)”.

Kent Duchaine at Lichfield Guildhall

DuChaine plays Leadbessie in the normal position using a bottleneck slide and metal finger- and thumbpicks. This very distinctive sound and stretching of tones is what defines Delta Blues. This distinctive Blues form originated in Mississippi and enjoyed its greatest popularity in the first half of the 20th century. Chicago and Detroit Blues were both influenced by the Mississippi Delta.

Kent Duchaine at Lichfield Guildhall

DuChaine has included the UK in his touring schedule for over 20 years and has played at The Guildhall several times before. “Blues Forever” is his tagline and his performances are not only entertaining but also an education in the history of the Blues. He is comfortable with the audience from the outset and each tune, be it doleful or upbeat, is punctuated by a commentary about those great artists from a bygone era – Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Chester Burnett, Johnny Shines. He actually partnered the latter during the early ‘90s. Shines, in his 70s and DuChaine, then in his 40s, travelled the States and played over 200 shows together.

Kent Duchaine at Lichfield Guildhall

Titles like “Come Into My Kitchen”, “Little Red Rooster” and “Fifi Bordeaux” perhaps give you a flavour of the evening’s offerings. We laughed, tapped our feet, joined in with the occasional chorus and had one helluva time.

Lichfield Arts, its organisers and its volunteers, once again brought something special to The Guildhall. Well done!

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