Saturday, May 1, at the Grand Emporium.

Curtis Salgado 

Saturday, May 1, at the Grand Emporium.

Legend has it that John Belushi modeled his "Joliet" Jake Blues character after the persona of a young Curtis Salgado. These days, however, Salgado's whip-thin ponytail has been replaced by bottle-blond spikes, making his rough voice the only proof that he's been torching songs for thirty years. From Salgado's early stints with Robert Cray and Roomful of Blues to his last decade as a solo artist, it's been his interpretations of old songs that have made fans perk up most. Who else would cover the Beatles' "I'll Be Back"? With his new album, Strong Suspicion, Salgado is keeping company with the likes of swamp guitarist Sonny Landreth and singer Bekka Bramlett, and he's still keeping himself young by transforming tunes such as "Who Is He (and What Is He To You)" into crowd-melting spasms of joy. Shades of Joliet Jake, indeed.

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