Child prodigy turned renowned statesman kept the blues alive and well in the 21st century
VIDEO: Lucky Peterson at 7 performs “Our Futur” on the PBS series Soul, 1971
Lucky Peterson, wizard of both the electric guitar and the Hammond B3 organ, was only 5 when he was discovered by Willie Dixon in a spot called The Governor’s Inn in Buffalo, NY that his father James Peterson owned and operated at the time.
50 years later, in March of 2020, a middle aged Lucky Peterson broadcast himself over the Internet while quarantining in Paris, France, with a new original called “Coronavirus Blues”, the latest tune in a half century’s worth of original blues music that saw Peterson grow from gifted child prodigy to blues elder statesmen, one of the last of the American bluesmen to have direct links to the likes of Dixon and Memphis Slim.
Peterson eventually made it back to the States. However, two months later, this past Sunday afternoon, it was announced on his Facebook page that the blues prodigy had suddenly passed away. He was only 55.
“It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Lucky Peterson on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM CST in Dallas, Texas,” the statement said on his Facebook page. “He was at home when he became ill and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but unfortunately did not recover. At this time please respect the family’s privacy, but do keep them in your prayers.”
The blues veteran has been touring extensively with his group The Organization and his wife, singer Tamara Tramell, for much of the last two decades with several impending dates in the books for a post-COVID concert circuit later in 2020.
In October 2019, Peterson celebrated his 50th anniversary as a professional musician with the album release 50 – Just Warming Up! on the Jazz Village / PIAS imprint.
Being around such titans of the craft at an early age instilled a sense of purity for the blues in Lucky Peterson that kept the artform alive against the ignorant din of hipster media complexes like Vice and Pitchfork, who tried their best to decimate the blues as old dad music or whatever.
But with more and more kids around Lucky’s age will see his 7-year-old self tear it up on the Hammond B3 during that Soul! clip above and get inspired to follow in the footsteps of such modern blues masters like Kingfish and Gary Clark, Jr. to explore the sound that gave all forms of pop its grit and backbone.
VIDEO: Lucky Peterson “Coronavirus Blues”