Two words describe these two records from Chicago guitarist Guy King: mature and eclectic. That holds especially true for the double record, I Am Who I Am And It Is What It Is. King has an affinity for old Ray Charles songs, and does an amazing job on “Hard Times” and “Crying Time.” The trio, with Ben Paterson on organ and Mike Schlick on drums swings hard on “Sweet Lorraine” and “Roll With My Baby.” Two Stevie Wonder songs get stunning takes; his soloing on “Isn’t She Lovely” is lively and imaginative. All in all, it’s an amazing double set with dazzling guitar work.
By Myself features King solo. He sings and plays chestnuts from the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. The album wraps it up with a jazzy version of “Nature Boy” and a Latin-drenched “Acapulco.”
While his past work was wonderful, King has stepped his game up here. He proves adept at jazz, blues, and anything in-between. Between the two releases, there are 45 reasons to appreciate what a great player he is.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.