How many superlatives can be packed into a Studebaker? For Studebaker John, plenty.
Squaw Valley’s Bluesdays performer Tuesday, is an authentic Chicago bluesman, having lived in the Windy City his whole life. And like the first automobile models ever made, Studebaker’s guitar is electric. He also is an accomplished harp player.
“He has a deep understanding of the blues tradition that comes from hanging with the classic Chicago bluesmen, but he’s created his own sound and style from these roots,” said Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer.
The Chicago Tribune: “His raw amplified canonical work recalls past masters like Little Walter and Big Walter Horton, while his slide guitar style is descended from the styles of Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor.”
“Dedicated to the vintage sounds of Chi-town in the golden age of the ’50s on guitar and harp, he is no retro man recycling worn out standards,” Guitar One’s David Rubin wrote. “He makes original music that is both timeless and relevant.”
Born in 1952, Studebaker John Grimaldi was inspired to play slide guitar after seeing Hound Dog Taylor, with whom who he later jammed. He also shared the stage with Big Walter, Buddy Guy and Jimmy Johnson. His guitar playing is so respected he reportedly was offered to join the new version of the Yardbirds.
Studebaker John and the Hawks include drummer Willie “the Touch” Hayes, who has backed some of the city’s all-time greats: Luther Allison, Koko Taylor, Magic Sam, Son Seals, Carey Bell and Junior Wells. Bassist Bob Halaj played with the Chcicao Rhythm Blues Kings, Eddy “the Chief” Clearwater and Son Seals.
Studebaker John’s 11th album, “”Waiting on the Sun: contains 12 original songs.
Tuesday will be Studebaker John’s second Bluesdays appearance in as many years.
Studebaker John and the Hawks at Bluesdays
When: 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20
Where: Squaw Valley Village