Blues legend’s son comes to Bowling GreenWritten by Andrew Farr | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cla-Zel Theater in downtown Bowling Green welcomes a legendary name in blues music with John Lee Hooker Jr., the son of Delta blues great John Lee Hooker, Hooker Jr. is a contemporary blues singer and musician from Detroit who has earned multiple Grammy nominations throughout his career. He will appear Aug. 12.
Hooker Jr. released his debut album “Blues with a Vengeance” in 2004 and has since released three others, including a live album earlier this year. Since releasing that first album, Hooker Jr. has performed with some of the biggest names in blues music including Jimmy Reed, ZZ Top, BB King and Bo Diddley.
His father, John Lee Hooker Sr., became a popular blues musician in the late 1940s and had continued success and popularity in the blues genre for the next half century until his death in 2001. Although his style of music was closest to Delta blues, Hooker Sr. developed a sound known as “talking blues.” The style is present in hit songs like “Boogie Chillen” and also “Boom Boom” which he performed in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.”
Thanks to his father, John Lee Hooker Jr. developed a passion for blues music at an early age. He first performed on a Detroit radio station when he was 8 years old and realized he wanted to continue in the same path of his father. Hooker said his earliest recollection of performing music live was when he was about 17 years old. He went on to sing in his father’s touring band and performed on one of Hooker Sr.’s live albums.
Hooker Jr. describes his music as blues, but more modern and contemporary than older generations that influence him, like his father. He said some of his influences include James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Jackie Wilson.
“I didn’t try to be different at first,” Hooker Jr. said. “I was very influenced by my dad and sometimes the music I played sounded that way but other times it didn’t.”
But Hooker Jr. said he definitely considers his father one of his main influences and enjoys playing his music as well as his own original material. Hooker Jr. now tours around the world playing a variety of venues and blues festivals. He said he is looking forward to the upcoming tour and playing at some different places than usual, including Bowling Green.
Hooker Jr. said he describes blues music today as a genre that only certain ages really pay attention to.
“When I was younger or when my dad played, young people would fill the room, but today I think blues is more for older generations,” he said. “I don’t think I have a lot of fans that mainly listen to hip-hop, for example. I love Hip-Hop, but that audience isn’t my audience,” he said.
Opening for John Lee Hooker Jr. will be Los Angeles-based blues and R&B singer Janiva Magness.
Banan AlKilani, director of public relations at the Cla-Zel, said the venue is very excited about having Magness and John Lee Hooker Jr. perform.
“Obviously John Lee Hooker Jr. is a huge talent in blues music and a huge name in the blues industry,” he said. “We are excited to have him and Janiva Magness and they should be a phenomenal mix of music.”
Tickets for the Aug. 12 show at the Cla-Zel are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m. with the doors opening at 7 p.m. For more information, visit Clazel.net.