December 27, 2012

Versatile musician finds way home

Musical journey from New Orleans to Paris and North Country

TRI-LAKES — Singer-guitarist George Kilby Jr. peppers the region with his rough-cut-American music on his Adirondack tour.

With a new CD in hand, “Six Pack,” Kilby brings along guest artists Becca Frame on Friday at the Upper Jay Arts Center, John Doan of Big Slyde on Saturday at Delta Blue in the Northwoods Inn in Lake Placid and Lily White at First Night Saranac Lake on Monday.

Kilby and his band, the Road Dogs — Neil Thomas (keys, accordion), Eric Halvorson (drums) and Arturo Bauger (bass) — perform Sunday at Whiteface Mountain’s Après Ski in Wilmington.


A native of Alabama, his musical influences include the Allman Brothers, Outlaw Country and his uncle Scott Andrews.

“I remember as a boy listening to my uncle play Hank Williams songs,” Kilby said. “Sometimes, people would try to stump him.”

As a teen, Kilby picked up a guitar. Unlike thousands of teens, he encountered the late blues pianist Pinetop Perkins, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and Blues Hall of Fame inductee.

“When I met and understood what Pinetop was doing and where he came from that influenced me. I’m very thankful to be as close to Pinetop as I was.”

It was heady experience to meet Perkins, who rocked before Elvis thought about it.

“He (Perkins) did not think of himself as an artist playing music. It was just something he did.”

After Kilby graduated from Princeton University in 1982, he met Perkins in New Jersey.

“Muddy Waters had died two years before that. Pinetop was playing with a band called the Legendary Blues Band, mostly made up of Muddy Waters’s band.

“I was hanging out at the Stanhope House. I would be there as many weekends as I could to see blues and roots acts. It was a great roadhouse in the ‘80s. It’s still around today.”

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