Lucky Peterson to play Big Cities

Lucky Peterson to play Big Cities


Popular blues guitarist Lucky Peterson will play at Big Cities from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Big Cities, 905 E. State St., Rockford.

Lucky Peterson played his first gig at age 3. By the time he was 5, he had already recorded his first single, produced by the legendary Willie Dixon. Before Lucky turned 6, his career had been propelled into the national spotlight with television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and even What’s My Line?

As a child prodigy, Peterson was somewhat of a novelty act. Now he is a true blues veteran. Over the last three decades, he has played to audiences all over the world, dazzling both fans and critics with his multi-instrumental talents (he plays keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and trumpet), his soulful vocal style and his youthful approach to the blues.

Chicago’s Reader raved: “His musicianship is unassailable … a combination of sleek-handed dexterity and imagination … a happy marriage of blues authenticity and foot-pleasing danceability. This is a young musician of unlimited enthusiasm and nearly unlimited potential having the time of his life and excelling at every stop along the way.”

Born Judge Kenneth Peterson in 1963, Lucky was raised on music in his hometown, Buffalo, N.Y. His father, James Peterson, was a blues singer and owner of the Governor’s Inn, a Northern version of a Deep South “chitlin’ circuit” roadhouse club. Artists such as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor played there regularly. Virtually growing up on stage, little Lucky began playing almost before he began talking.

He started on drums, but after once hearing the famed Bill Doggett, he became fascinated by the huge Hammond B-3 organ. After some lessons from Doggett and the legendary Jimmy Smith, Peterson focused most of his musical energy on the organ. He also mastered bass and piano and began to sit in with his father’s band.

By the time Lucky was 5, word of this child prodigy had spread among the blues community. Willie Dixon, a friend of James Peterson, heard little Lucky and produced the boy’s first record, a single titled 1, 2, 3, 4 and a follow-album for Chicago’s Today Records. The single hit the airwaves with a bang, and national TV appearances followed.

As he grew, Peterson honed his instrumental skills by learning from and jamming with some of the best blues players in the world. He once sat in with Little Milton’s band. Milton was so impressed, he asked Lucky to join the band permanently. After seven months, Lucky had become Milton’s bandleader. His three-year stint with Milton led to an equally long gig with Bobby “Blue” Bland as a featured soloist.

During a break in the touring schedule, Peterson went to Europe on a package tour billed “Young Blues Giants.” There he recorded his second career album, this time for the French label Isabel Records. In 1988, he left Bland’s touring band, relocated to Florida’s Tampa Bay area and began his solo career. He put out some releases on the Alligator Records label, and, in 1989, they released his third solo outing, Lucky Strikes!

Alligator’s promotion helped bring Peterson’s music to the attention of radio stations and music critics nationwide. They liked what they heard. Billboard called Lucky, “… a prodigy whose raw talent bodes well for his future as a leader.” Keyboard said, “Peterson is a 26-year-old blues master.” The album received airplay on nearly 200 radio stations nationwide, and Peterson toured the U.S. several times.

In 1990, his recording Triple Play picked up right where Lucky Strikes! left off, again featuring his dynamic organ fills and leads with equal emphasis on his stinging lead guitar and soulful vocals. The material blended straight-ahead blues, Memphis soul and funky grooves.

Come to Big Cities and see a blues legend in person!

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