Living Ind

Going Down to the Crossroads

by Dege Legg

Baton Rouge bluesman Chris Thomas King plays Lafayette’s hippest music series.

From the Delta blues you can trace the roots of rock and roll, rockabilly, southern rock, punk rock, alt-country, modern R & B, pop music, jazz, hip-hop, elements of Cajun, zydeco, and Creole music, and whatever other genre of popular music you’d like to fit in there. There is no debate; elements of almost all of it came from the great wellspring of the blues. There is no other greater influence on modern music. The Delta spills from the cotton fields of Mississippi to the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and Louisiana bluesman Chris Thomas King is a tributary of it as well as a rightful heir to that massive wellspring. Born in Baton Rouge, son of the late Tabby Thomas — owner and proprietor of the legendary Tabby’s Blues Box — since the 1980s King has explored many facets of the multidimensional universe of the blues. From its raw, dirt-packed roots to rap/blues hybrids to gunslinger flash, he’s covered a lot of ground in the last few decades. Awards along the way include Album of the Year from the Grammys and the Country Music Awards. King has sold more than 10 million records in the U.S., appeared in movies like O Brother Where Art Thou? and Wim Wenders’ The Soul of a Man, and tunneled his way into the subconscious of blues fans around the world by putting out records that both challenge, appease and inspire roots music fans from around the world.

On Jan. 21, King plays this month’s installment of the Louisiana Crossroads series at the Vermilionville Performance Center in Lafayette at 7 p.m. In addition, he’ll be doing educational presentations on the blues at various Lafayette public schools Jan. 19 - 22.