The San Luis Obispo Blues Society, which calls itself the third oldest in America, will launch its 35th season Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo.
It will offer seven shows during its season from September through May.
“We always invite a nationally touring artist to our first one. This year it is Chris Thomas King,” said the group’s president, Wayne Benham.
King is a blues innovator with Louisiana roots. A multiple Grammy winner, he is an actor and musician with strong stylistic influences from Jimi Hendrix. His biography is at www.sloblues.org .
An aficionado of the blues, Benham spins tunes Monday nights at 7:30 on “Wayne’s Evening Blues” and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, on Estero Bay’s 97.3 The Rock.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing music,” he said. “One song hits a listener during my show and I’ve done my job.”
Regarding his musical preference, he said, “Blues when done right is so simple coming straight from the heart and soul. It might start out ‘my baby left me and we’re oh so sad, but, hey, we’re getting over it.’ The blues can be very upbeat.”
King, who tends to experiment with traditional blues, is also recognized for his work in the films “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) and “Ray” (2004). Many are pleased to see him revisiting his traditional roots, Benham said.
“We like his dance-ability,” Benham said.
Benham is now retired from Dr. Bloodgood’s Photo Emporium where his duties spanned operations, financial services and technology implementation.
He moved to Morro Bay in 1999 and got involved in the SLO Blues Society. Since 2005 he’s been an active member, serving on the board in various leadership roles.
The organization, which has produced more than 250 shows, is always seeking volunteers, Benham said.