They’ve been doing just that since 1989, when Texas-raised bluesman Kubek invited Louisiana native and jazz musician King to join him onstage during a Dallas gig. Looking back recently at their time together, Kubek was quick to express appreciation for King inspiring him to be more adventurous.
“What he did is make me do the best that I can and see where it takes me and not to paint myself into a corner by saying, ‘Well, I’m only going this far because I don’t want to threaten the blues in any way,’ ” Kubek says. “What I want to do is grow.”
Kubek and King keep moving forward with their latest release, Fat Man’s Shine Parlor. It’s their first studio collection featuring the North Carolina rhythm section of bassist Shiela Klinefelter and drummer Eric Smith. Their working relationship isn’t new, however: Kubek says he met Klinefelter around 2001-2002 at a North Carolina festival and played with her on several dates soon thereafter, and through Klinefelter he met Smith.
“She pretty much sticks to a pattern, which is really what a guitar player wants — [someone who sticks] to a pattern so you know it’s going to be there,” Kubek says of Klinefelter’s approach to the bass.
And as for Smith, Kubek is equally succinct in summing up the drummer’s strengths.
“He sounds good onstage, and he can play a shuffle,” says Kubek with a laugh.
Recorded in Dallas and produced by Kubek, the 12-song Fat Man’s Shine Parlor was released earlier this month on Blind Pig, which issued three of the duo’s albums between 2003-06.
“It was kind of a no-brainer for me,” Kubek says. “I knew they would give me a little more freedom with the artistry, and as an established label, they would provide tour support. I feel like they believe in me.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King on tour (schedule subject to change):
* March 6: Rhythm Room — Phoenix
* March 7: Boondocks Lounge — Tucson, Ariz.
* March 8: Malarkey’s Grill — Long Beach, Calif.
* March 9: Maui Sugar Mill Saloon — Tarzana, Calif.
* March 11: Biscuits & Blues — San Francisco
* March 14: Winter Blues Music Festival — Milwaukie, Ore.
* March 15: Highway 99 Blues Club — Seattle
* April 1: BBS Lawnside BBQ — Kansas City, Mo.
* April 2: Hard Rock Hotel — Sioux City, Iowa
* April 9: Bleu Bayou Harley Davidson Bike Rally — Monroe, La.
* April 18: Blues Tavern — Mobile, Ala.
* April 21: Boston’s on the Beach — Delray Beach, Fla.
* April 24: Little Bar — Goodland, Fla.
* April 25: Sun Coast Blues Festival — Sarasota, Fla.
* April 27: Monday Night Blues — Pensacola, Fla.
Photo of Smokin’ Joe Kubek (left) and Bnois King courtesy of Blind Pig Records