Chris Thomas King

7 p.m. Thursday, February 16. The Gramophone, 4243 Manchester Avenue.

In the hands of Chris Thomas King, blues is a foundation sturdy enough to support just about any walls he sets atop it. His work as Chris Thomas in the late '80s and early '90s is up-tempo rock painted in Technicolor; from there he produced the first-ever rap/blues hybrid record. His recent career has been more traditional, though sepia-tone album covers with names like Antebellum Postcards cannot mask his predilection for big production and radio-friendly hooks. You don't sell more than 10 million units, as he has, without an ear for mass appeal.

Chris Thomas King blues modernizer.
Chris Thomas King blues modernizer.

Zero Degrees of George Clooney: In O Brother, Where Art Thou? King plays Delta bluesman Tommy Johnson, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for guitar chops.

 
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