Monday: Solberg Comes Back

local blues legend returns to Eau Claire for concert

Trevor Kupfer

Bluesman James Solberg. He used to own the Stones Throw, man.
Bluesman James Solberg. He used to own
the Stones Throw, man.

When some hear “Eau Claire blues legend,” they’ll think of Howard Luedtke. But those truly in the know will also think of James Solberg. The Thorpe native is Grammy nominated, won the WC Handy Award for Best Blues Band twice, and this kid named Stevie Ray Vaughan once opened for him. During his several decades on the road, Solberg jumped between Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago, but made Eau Claire his home for several years. He famously played the Stones Throw in 1987 and walked out of the place (after a late-night poker game) with the deed of ownership (he sold it in 1993). Solberg has played with such names as Albert Collins, Albert King, Freddie King, Junior Wells, Jimmie Reed, and Paul Butterfield, but it’s with Motown great Luther Allison that Solberg had his greatest success (they played together off-and-on for nearly a decade). Solberg’s sound has been all over the place, from Muddy-esque Chicago blues to that of L.A. or the Mississippi Delta. His 2004 album Real Time was described as “Bob Dylan on steroids, or Ted Nugent doing sticky blues.” His music has shades of raw songwriter, driving rock guitar, smooth R&B and funk, and soulful gospel. This return gig will also feature Charlie Bingham of the Hoopsnakes at The State’s unique backstage venue.

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