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Guitar-wielding wizard casts spell on The Blues

By Daniel Sutphin, Sun Events Staff Writer

It’s ‘all about the moment’ for Rusty Wright — but a moment goes a long way when he and his band take the stage. With long, white hair and an Epiphone guitar in hand, Wright is a wizard on top of a rock n’ roll mountain.

The Rusty Wright Band defies space and time with riff-packed covers and rock-tinged blues. “I just don’t fit into one little space,” says Wright. “I have so many influences. I’m trying to find a way to take the blues farther down the road that will appeal to a younger generation as well. I’m not afraid to bring in other styles of music, but I want it to have passion; you never want to lose the passion.”

Rather than regenerating the old-rut grooves so common with classic blues, Wright and his band give the genre a 21st-century makeover, fusing Texas- and Chicago-style blues, swinging boogie, southern rock and a fistful of Motor City grit.

“He’s a monster of a player,” says Laurie, Wright’s wife and second guitarist. “It’s fun to watch the reaction of the young bloods who don’t often get to see that kind of musicianship up close.”

Rusty Wright grew up in a household surrounded by blues, country, rockabilly and gospel music. His first taste of show business was playing in his mother’s gospel band. Now, he pulls a national audience and has been recognized as a Master Blues Artist in the International Blues Hall of Fame®.

“I loved the blues from my childhood because there was so much emotion behind it,” Wright says.  “Art gives life its real color.”

About 95 percent of the band’s repertoire consists of original blues; the band released their fifth studio album, “Wonderman” in 2015, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Blues chart. As for the other 5 percent, it might not sound like much on paper, but listen to Wright transform “Mississippi Queen” — among other cover songs — and audiences will realize how huge 5 percent can really be.

“People are there to be entertained,” says Wright, “and playing well is only half of it; you have to entertain.”

Performing at 7:00pm Saturday, September 16 at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County. Tickets available online at www.SunEvents.com, by phone at (941) 625-4175 ext 221 or at the venue box office at 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Advance Prices:  $17, $13 for CC Members (limit 2 at the discounted price). Day of Show:  $17 – no discounts. All sales are final.

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