Bullfighting bluesman 

Duck hunter, bullfighter, son and bluesman - John Lee Hooker Jr.

Hooker cranks it at Buffalo Bill's Sunday, Nov. 5. Photo by Nicole Fitzgerald
  • Hooker cranks it at Buffalo Bill's Sunday, Nov. 5. Photo by Nicole Fitzgerald

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: John Lee Hooker Junior

When: Sunday, Nov. 5 & Monday, Nov. 6

Where: Bufallo Bill’s

Tickets: $20

How does the son of a legendary bluesman describe himself these days? The heir to one of the most prestigious names in the history of blues? The pied piper of ushering a deeply-rooted historic art form into the new century?

Nope, he calls himself a duck hunter and a bullfighter, depending on what side of the recording studio glass he is standing on.

But most blues fans call him John Lee Hooker Junior, the man who brings the latest tracks from his new album Cold as Ice to Buffalo Bill’s Sunday, Nov. 5 and Monday, Nov. 6.

In Hooker’s first album, Blues with a Vengence , which scored a 2004 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album, Hooker kept his contemporary take on the historical music form in great, straight strides.

His new album shoots for a more eclectic menagerie of sound. Hence the likening of the recording artist to a duck hunter.

“It’s extreme,” Hooker says from his California home of Cold As Ice . “It’s a duck hunter. The ducks fly out of the bushes and he doesn’t aim at one, he aims at everything and shoots. That is what I’ve done with this. I’ve shot at every race, creed and colour. I am shooting at the young and old. I am shooting at the modern and traditional. I am shooting. We always try to get better and better. It’s like a Cadillac. They outdo themselves every year.”

His album is a bit of both: precisely aimed and a smooth ride.

Instead of the 1950s and ’60s vibrato of crying the blues over your daddy leaving or taking to the drink, Hooker’s lyrics hit closer to home, including a memoir of his father who passed away in 2001 at the age of 83.

The song entitled Do Daddy journeys through Hooker senior’s life as a dad tucking junior into bed; the self-made musician with no formal education; the blues legend on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; and the common man watching baseball on the big screen — only this everyman wore a three-piece suit.

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