Amid a night of red hot music, one of the most moving moments occurred when the Louisiana bluesman paid tribute to a music legend. Before the final song of the night, Chris Thomas King shared his story of working with the late Ray Charles.

“One of the coolest things I’ve done on my musical journey is go into the recording studio with the legendary Ray Charles and record some music for this movie for which he…he heard it….he couldn’t see it. But it was an amazing experience for me to watch a man who has never seen a movie before, score a movie. And I get a chance to work with him and do that. And as a tribute to a legend, we want y’all to help us out.”

Within one quick breath of his last words, King transformed Charles’ immortal piano riff intro of “What I’d Say” and smoothed his beautiful, blue Gibson ES-137guitar into service and gave the Vinyl Music Hall crowd one last fervent song to end an electric night.

Kicking off the show was local musician, Brooks Hubbert. A one-man machine of many styles and talents, Hubbert performed a set of blues music infused with helpings of beatbox breaks, charm and a smooth command of slide guitar playing.

Following Hubbert’s performance were local group, Mr. Fahrenheit. Supported by a very vocal and enthusiastic following, the members of Mr. Fahrenheit include Katy Hubbard (saxophone, vocals), R.J. McKee (guitar), Ben Minor (drums) and Robert Pennington (bass). With an eclectic, infectious sound that has jumped the crowd of every show I’ve seen of theirs into good-time mode, the stage was positively set for the main performance.

Making his Vinyl Music Hall debut, Chris Thomas King made his way to the front of the stage accompanied by Jeff Mills (drums) and Ryan Clute (bass). Having made musical contributions to the movies “Ray” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, King also appears in both the Academy Award winning biographical epic about the life of Ray Charles and the Grammy winning film based on Homer’s poem “Odyssey.”

With a set that included “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” an astral rendition of “St. James Infirmary Blues,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “The Thrill is Gone” (a blues standard made popular by B.B. King and written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins), Chris Thomas King presented a healthy dose of the blues on this Saturday night.

-Michael L. Smith

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