Andy Coats

Location: R.A. Fountain

From our promo for this show:

West coast bluesman Andy Coats grew up in Raleigh but he established his blues credentials while living in southern California for the last 7 years. His third CD, That’s What They Call the Blues, was released earlier this year.

Coats began playing music in rock cover bands as a teenager in the Raleigh area. It wasn’t until he started graduate studies in philosophy at the University of California, Riverside that he began paying attention to the power of blues musicians such as Robert Johnson.

“They had a great weekend blues show on the campus radio station at San Diego State,” he said, “and I have fond memories of listening all day, picking up my guitar, and jamming along.”

Coats credits the blues with helping him through the difficult years of school: “As a grad student I made almost no money, and I felt my career prospects were pretty bleak — there were very few teaching jobs available, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy is not exactly the most marketable degree. I came to identify with the blues, although I’ll be the first to admit that the kind of problems I had were nowhere near as immediate and urgent as those of the classic blues singers.”

Coats tried the life of an academic nomad but the blues he’d grown to love and the allure of southern California took him back to the west coast, where he established a solid reputation as a performer and guitar teacher. Before moving back to Raleigh last year, he had been named one of the top 12 blues performers in the region by the Southern Californian Blues Society. He recently returned there for a gig at the B.B. King Blues Club in Los Angeles.

Tags: blues, Delta blues