If you think it’s difficult for legends to live up their legacies, imagine their children following them into the family business and finding their second-generation work being measured by the first-generation yardstick of their parents’ achievements.
Ronnie Baker Brooks knows every chapter in that book. The guitar-slinging son of Blues icon Lonnie Brooks has opened shows for his lionized father and been a member of his band as well. And while the younger Brooks learned well about the foundations and craft of the genre his father helped to shape in the ’70s and beyond, he also began to think about how he would divert from his father’s path and blaze his own sonic trail.
To that end, Ronnie Baker Brooks launched his solo career 13 years ago with the release of Golddigger, an album that heralded his unique vision of taking the Blues into the 21st century.
With 2001’s Take Me Witcha, Brooks established his own identity as a scorching Blues guitarist, but with 2006’s The Torch, he laid out his recipe for the future of Blues, with plenty of Rock volume spiced with Soul, R&B, Funk and Hip Hop. Already a fan favorite from his long association with his father, Brooks expanded his base with The Torch, which, even with its non-traditional methodology, garnered a Best Blues Album of the Year nomination from the Chicago Music Awards.
In the past five years, Brooks has been touring relentlessly on his own and as a member of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue alongside Tommy Castro, Deanna Bogart, Magic Dick and a rotating cast of Blues greats. (The Revue was captured on the 2008 album, Command Performance.)
Take a peek at Brooks’ extensive press clippings and you’ll see references to two pretty potent names — his father Lonnie and Jimi Hendrix. Neither reference could be considered hyperbole. Ronnie Baker Brooks is one of this generation's most gifted and incendiary guitar talents; you can hear it in his recordings, but you’ll feel it to the very core of your being when he takes the stage. And he’ll be the first one to tell you — it’s all just music.
RONNIE BAKER BROOKS plays the Southgate House Thursday, May 5 with guest NOAH WOTHERSPOON. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.