King of the Blues coming to the South Okanagan

Bluesman B.B. King, who has inspired generations of blues-rock guitarists, is coming to the SOEC on May 12.

Blues legend B.B. King

Blues legend B.B. King

When you start talking about blues-rock guitarists, there are some names that are bound to come up.

Stevie Ray Vaughn. Eric Clapton. Robert Cray. Buddy Guy. But there is one name that overshadows them all, the veritable king of the blues.

For more than six decades, Riley B. King — better known as B.B. King — has had an incalculable influence on music around the world. And on May 12, you have a chance to hear this legend in person at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Over the years, King has borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others. In turn, he has influenced thousands, including the likes of Jeff Beck and George Harrison.

King mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound, matching what has been called one of the music world’s most identifiable playing styles.

“When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille,” said King, referring to his trademark Gibson guitar.

At 86 years old, his reign as king of the blues has been as long as that of any monarch on the planet. He has a long list of credentials to back up that claim: 15 Grammy Awards, member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and of the Blues Hall of Fame, more than 60 albums since he started recording in the ‘40s, along with more than 15,000 live performances.

Tickets go on sale for the May 12 concert on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at the SOEC Box Office, the Wine Country Visitor Centre, online at valleyfirsttix.com or by phone at 1-877-763-2849.