Buddy Guy was named a Kennedy Center honoree today. Overdue? Clint Eastwood was honored 12 years ago (he uttered one line once that somebody else wrote for him). Neil Diamond made it last year.
Many readers know I’m a huge Buddy Guy fan and a big fan of the blues, the uniquely American musical form that still doesn’t get its due in popular culture unless it’s played by a white man.
“I am a simple man blessed to be able to make a living at what I love, and I am a fortunate man to have learned from the best — from men like Muddy Waters — who made me promise to keep the Blues alive,” Guy wrote in a statement printed by the Chicago Sun-Times. “I cannot begin to describe my feelings of deep gratitude to be receiving the Kennedy Center Honor. I am even more humbled because this award was beyond my wildest dreams in 1957 when I left home, and my mother and father, to pluck my guitar promising to return to them one day with a polka dot Cadillac. This Louisiana, and now Chicago, man respectfully thanks the Kennedy Center for such high praise and especially for recognizing and helping to keep the Blues alive today.”
Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova and Led Zeppelin. None of them can do this (strong language warning):
Buddy Guy is ranked 30th on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest guitarists of all time. He taught several of the ones in the top 29 how to play.
update 3:16 p.m. Here’s Buddy Guy’s Daily Circuit interview from earlier this year.
In other guitar news, a man has planted a forest in the shape of a guitar to memorialize his wife, who died tragically at 25.