Hall of Fame bluesmen and old pals reunite for Everett gig

Charlie Musselwhite and Elvin Bishop play with a rapport developed over 50 years of friendship.

Charlie Musselwhite, known for his skills with the electric blues harmonica, is playing with fellow Blues Hall of Fame member Elvin Bishop Jan. 19 at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Danny Clinch)

Charlie Musselwhite, known for his skills with the electric blues harmonica, is playing with fellow Blues Hall of Fame member Elvin Bishop Jan. 19 at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Danny Clinch)

When they perform together, Charlie Musselwhite and Elvin Bishop like to think of the stage as their front porch.

The blues Hall of Famers and Grammy nominees swap stories and laughs about the Chicago blues scene of the early 1960s in between songs.

“There’s not too many guys I can talk to about the way things were in Chicago those days, and Charlie’s one of them,” Bishop said. “We have a lot of fun reminiscing.”

The longtime friends, who are both up for Grammy Awards this year, will perform Jan. 19 at the Historic Everett Theatre.

Musselwhite, 74, was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. He’s best known for his skills on the electric blues harmonica, though he also plays the guitar and sings. His slicked-back hair, black suit and sunglasses inspired Dan Aykroyd’s Elwood Blues in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers,” in which Musselwhite played a small part.

Bishop, 76, was the lead guitarist of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. His solo career took off with the hit single, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” which reached No. 3 on Billboard’s hot 100 singles chart in 1976. He was inducted as a solo artist into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2016.

Elvin Bishop is best known for his 1976 hit song, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” (George Glotzer)

Elvin Bishop is best known for his 1976 hit song, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.” (George Glotzer)

Musselwhite’s collaborative album with singer-songwriter Ben Harper, “Get Up,” won a Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2014. Musselwhite and Harper’s newest album, “No Mercy In This Land,” is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album at this year’s Grammy Awards, airing Feb. 10.

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, which includes pianist and guitarist Bob Welsh and percussionist Willy Jordan, also is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album with “Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here.”

Musselwhite and Bishop met early in their careers while studying the greats of the Chicago blues scene in the early 1960s. They sometimes collaborate — Musselwhite was featured on Bishop’s 2014 album, “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” — and go fishing together when their schedules allow it.

“We just have such a great rapport,” Musselwhite said. “We laugh at each other’s jokes. We find the same things funny or interesting. We love the same music.”

Their joint performances are far and few in between, which makes them all the more special. Welsh from the Big Fun Trio will join them on piano and guitar for the Jan. 19 show.

Musselwhite and Bishop said fans should expect to hear Bishop’s song “100 Years of Blues” — a nod to their long careers — as well as covers of songs by well-known blues musicians, such as Robert Nighthawk and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

“We just have so much fun that the audience can’t help but have fun,” Musselwhite said. “It’s real contagious.”

‘Beethoven & Franck’

The Cascade Symphony Orchestra’s “Beethoven & Franck” concert is at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. Pianist Jessica Choe is the featured soloist. Tickets are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors, $15 for students and $10 for youth. More at www.ec4arts.org or by calling 425-275-9595.

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