In most cases, musicians have one specific instrument they play best. In the broad genre known as blues, gifted guitarists, saxophonists and harmonica and keyboard players abound. Rarely does one find a musician who possesses the multi-instrumental talents of one Lucky Peterson.

Besides guitar, organ and keyboard, this true blues veteran plays drums and trumpet. He has for the last three decades played to audiences all over the world, impressing fans and critics with his energetic style and youthful approach to the blues.

Sunday, April 17, he will bring his live show to Auburn’s Midnight Blues Club as part of its 2005 Sunday Night Blues Series.

Born Judge Kenneth Peterson in 1963, he was raised on music in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. His father, James Peterson, was a blues singer and owner of the Governor’s Inn, a northern version of a Deep Southern roadhouse club. Blues greats, including Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, played there regularly.

As a child prodigy, Peterson was somewhat of a novelty act. By the time he was 5, word of his talents had spread among the blues world. Willie Dixon, a longtime friend of Peterson’s father, heard “little Lucky” and produced his first record, a single titled “1,2,3,4” and a follow-up album for Chicago’s Today Records. That single hit the airwaves with a bang and national television appearances soon followed.

Peterson honed his instrumental skills by learning from and jamming with some of the finest blues players in the world. When Little Milton’s band needed an organ player one night, Milton asked the then-17-year-old Peterson to sit in. The blues legend was so impressed he asked Peterson to join the band permanently. After a three-year stint with Little Milton, Peterson played for three years with Bobby “Blue” Bland as a featured soloist.

In 1984, Peterson recorded his first album, “Ridin’,” on the Evidence label. Response to the album was positive, drawing an invitation to Europe as part of the Young Blues Giants tour. Peterson parted ways with Bland in 1988 and relocated to Florida’s Tampa Bay area to begin concentrating on his solo career.

Peterson started to gain national attention with the release of his 1989 debut for Alligator Records, “Lucky Strikes.” He co-wrote three songs for the album, played all of the keyboard parts and all but one of the guitar solos.

In the early and mid-1990s Peterson produced three albums on the Verve label: “I’m Ready,” “Beyond Cool” and “Lifetime.” In 1998, he made his debut on the Polygram label with “Move,” following that effort up with a self-titled release in 1999. Despite strong sales of those albums, he moved on to the Blue Thumb label in 2001 with an album titled “Double Dealin’.” After a successful CD on the Birdology label in 2003, Peterson recorded an album with his father in 2004 called “If You Can’t Fix It” on JSP Records.


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