WHEELING - Guitar Shorty will kick off Heritage Music Blues Tuesdays - an extension of the Summertime Blues series - at 8 p.m. Tuesday at River City Restaurant in Wheeling.
"We got such a positive response to our July summer series that led up to the Heritage Music BluesFest earlier this month, that we decided to carry on with the blues on Tuesdays at River City. We are aiming for once a month," Bruce Wheeler, producer of the events, said.
"Guitar Shorty, the brother-in-law of Jimi Hendrix, has influenced not only Jimi Hendrix but Buddy Guy and other notable blues artists. Shorty was a favorite at the BluesFest last time he was here - a real crowd favorite," Wheeler said.
Guitar Shorty, aka David Kearney, was born in Houston but raised in Kissimee, Fla. As a young boy, he would sneak into his uncle's room and try to play his guitar. He was so small, his hands didn't fit around its neck, so he would lean it against the wall and play it like a stand-up bass.
When other kids were in high school, Shorty was a student by day and a working musician by night. Right out of high school at the age of 16, Shorty joined Ray Charles and his band for a year. At the age of 17, he recorded a single under the direction of Willie Dixon on the Cobra label. When Shorty was lured away to play with Guitar Slim, he moved to New Orleans.
In New Orleans, Shorty fronted his own group that became the house band at the legendary Dew Drop Inn. There he played with greats such as T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner and Little Richard. It took a job with Sam Cooke to get 19-year-old Shorty on the bus and on his way to the West Coast.
Shorty lived and worked in both Los Angeles and Canada until 1961 when he met his wife, Marcia, in Seattle.
When Shorty married Marcia, he also got Hendrix, Marcia's brother, for a brother-in-law. The young Hendrix came to see Shorty play often, and they were friends until Hendrix's death.
Tickets to see Guitar Shorty are available at heritagemusicfest.com/tuesday. River City is located at 14th and Main streets in downtown Wheeling.