AUBURN – Vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Carl Weathersby is a soul-blues crooner in the classic Chicago tradition. He mixes Southern charm, soulful vocals and fierce guitar playing to produce a mesmerizing sound. Weathersby and his band will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at the Midnight Blues Club and Restaurant.
Weathersby is touring in support of his latest album, “Hold On,” released in 2004. Tickets to the show are $8 and can be reserved by calling the club at 34 Court St.
Born Feb. 24, 1953, in Jackson, Miss., Weathersby moved to east Chicago with his family when he was 8. He was exposed to music at a young age because his father always had musician friends visiting the house. A frequent visitor was a man Weathersby knew only as Albert, the mechanic.
By the time he reached his teens, Weathersby was playing the guitar. One day, while practicing some Albert King songs, he thought he had the classic hit “Cross Cut Saw” nearly perfect. As he began to play, his father’s friend, Albert, said to him, “Man, that isn’t the way that song goes – that isn’t the way I played it.”
It turns out Albert, the mechanic, was none other than blues legend Albert King himself, who proceeded to show an amazed Weathersby just how the song should be played. King offered some encouragement and took a liking to the aspiring young guitarist.
After a tour of duty in Vietnam, Weathersby found employment as a steel mill worker, a prison guard and even a police officer. Eventually, King hired him as lead guitarist in 1979, and his career in music began to take off. Weathersby worked with King until 1982, then spent the next 15 years as lead guitarist for harmonica master Billy Branch and his Sons of Blues.
Following his stint with Branch, Weathersby struck out on a solo career. His debut recording, “Don’t Lay Your Blues On Me,” released in 1996, was hailed as genuine, state-of-the-art Chicago blues for the 1990s. He released his second album, “Looking Out My Window,” in 1997, drawing more rave reviews from the blues community. The song “The Blues Follow Me Around” was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award.
Weathersby’s “Restless Feeling,” released in 1998, features 13 tracks, including four originals. “Come To Papa,” featuring guest vocalist Ann Peebles and keyboard master Lucky Peterson, was the recording that helped Weathersby gain national attention.
In 2004, Weathersby released a live album, “Live At Lucerne, Vol. 5,” reaffirming his position among the best of today’s modern Chicago blues artists. Weathersby joined forces with second-generation blues sensation Bernard Allison and guitar legend Larry McCray last year to record the album “Triple Fret.”