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Blinddog Smokin’ hits High Point Theatre

2015 Grammy nominated funk band Blinddog Smokin’ are continuing their High Steppin’ Tour through the fall around the follow-up to their awardwinning, Grammy and Blues Music Award nominated album from last year. The group will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1t at the High Point Theatre.

Blinddog Smokin’s larger-than-life new album High Steppin’ is a kaleidoscopic romp through the wild side of roots music. The disc’s nine songs ricochet from rock ’n’ roll to juke joint blues to New Orleans jazz to raw Americana, all supported by the band’s twin pillars: hot ’n’ greasy funk and frontman Carl Gustafson’s epic storytelling. Since it’s release its spent four months on the Blues radio chart, they’ve toured the nation by bus for over three months, and just had their first release in Europe by a label in Belgium, Music Avenue.

High Steppin’ follows 2014’s Decisions, a collaboration with soul-blues legend Bobby Rush that earned a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album. Decisions includes the song “Another Murder in New Orleans,” which enlisted another legend, Dr. John, to tell its tale of street violence. The tune was widely played on Americana and blues radio, and was used by the New Orleans Crimestoppers organization to raise awareness.

Blinddog Smokin’s imaginative video for “Another Murder in New Orleans” mixes performance footage, cartoons and live action actors, and has received more than 110,000 views on YouTube.

Blinddog Smokin’s marvelously eclectic sound and approach is the result of Gustafson’s literal and musical world travels. He and the band have toured the planet numerous times since 1994, putting more than a million road miles on their vehicles — which include Gustafson’s bicycle.

“When we get to a new town, I like to take my bike off the bus and ride the backstreets,” he says. “When you travel the alleys, you learn about people. The front yard is for show; the backyard shows the way they live. And when I run into old-timers, I stop and listen to their stories.”

The core members of the group comprise one of the finest modern bands in American roots music. Dynamic drummer and vocalist Chuck Gullens started with the Blinddogs in 1994 in Laramie, Wyoming, shortly after Gustafson and the band, then named Bluestone, returned from traveling the Middle East and Mediterranean, playing for troops on a 49 day DOD tour. Versatile bassist Roland Pritzker joined in 2000, followed by keyboardist and exceptional vocalist, Mo Beeks — whose own, earlier band, Lock & Chain, gave R&B singer Chaka Kahn her start back in 1972. In 2009 came back-up singer and bassist Chris White, and virtuoso guitarist Chalo Ortiz also entered the fold, followed quickly by backing vocalist Linda Gustafson, who plays feminine yin to her husband’s hot-dogging, high stepping yang in concert. !

WANNA go?

Wanna go? Blinddog Smokin’ will perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the High Point Theatre, located at 220 E. Commerce Ave. in High Point. Tickets begin at $30 and more information is available at highpointtheatre.com.

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