Buddy Guy sings about the joys of reaching Heaven and finally escaping a life of gloom and pain on "Blue No More," his new duet with James Bay.
It's no surprise that Guy's latest song adheres to classic blues form. The drummer sets the light, ticking beat in 6/8 time, and the guitarist interjects pointy, unruly riffs on top of the rhythm. Bay knows he's singing in the company of musical royalty, so he pushes his voice as hard as he can, exploring the rougher edges of his register. "When I reach heaven's gate, and they see the joy on my face/ They might not know me, 'cause I won't be blue no more," Guy sings.
Bay is one of several high-flying English blues fans to contribute to Guy's upcoming album, The Blues Is Alive and Well. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck also make cameos on the LP. Tom Hambridge, who has already won a Grammy with Buddy Guy on 2015's Born to Play Guitar, will return as producer.
Buddy Guy is 81, but he shows no signs of decreasing productivity. Since 2000, he has put out an album every two or three years. In conjunction with the release of The Blues Is Alive and Well on June 15th, Guy will tour through November, playing more than 40 shows around the U.S. and Europe.