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Adrian Duke brings keyboard talents to this year’’s Blues Festival

by YES! Staff

Adrian Duke brings keyboard talents to this year’s Blues Festival

The New Orleans influence at the Carolina Blues Festival has become something of a tradition, and this year Adrian Duke straddles the divide between the North Carolina heartlands and Louisiana bayou country. Duke, of Chapel Hill, has performed on piano and Hammond B3 organ all over the Carolinas and has even played before the Queen on her recent trip to the US. But he’s been known to commune with the ghosts of New Orleans boogie-woogie piano — Mr. Eddie Bo, the legendary James Booker and the man born Henry Roeland Byrd, but better known to piano freaks as Professor Longhair. On his CD Live in New Orleans, Duke tackles classics like “Lil’ Liza Jane,” “Iko Iko” and “Tipitina.” But his repertoire doesn’t begin and end in the Crescent City. Duke’s body of work mines the entire South and even plumbs some big-city sounds as well. His latest, Adriatica, features covers of classics like “Cabbage Alley” from the Meters, “Lucky Old Sun” by Louis Armstrong “Will it Go Around in Circles” by Billy Preston and “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan, all intoned with a tin-pan baritone that is seriously quirky. This is Duke’s first performance on the Carolina Blues Festival stage, so all we can guarantee is that the set will be hot.

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