WESTERLY — Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Booker T. Jones, the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys and arguably the most famous Hammond B3 player in history, will perform at the Knickerbocker Music Center on Saturday, May 11.
As leader of the legendary Booker T and the MGs, the musician known as "a pillar of soul music," collaborated with such talents as Otis Redding, B.B. King, Bob Dylan and more during his tenure at Stax Records. Since then, he has shared his trademark keyboard chops with a number of other musicians and has produced classic albums such as Willie Nelson's multi-platinum hit “Stardust” and Bill Withers’ “Just As I Am” featuring the hit song “Ain’t No Sunshine."
Jones' 2009 solo release "Potato Hole" and his 2011 solo release "The Road From Memphis" both earned Grammy Awards for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In 2013 he released "Sound The Alarm," marking a return to Stax Records after 40 years. In 2016, Jones debuted his live show "Booker T Presents: A Stax Revue," working with new talent to create a show that reflects the heart and soul of Stax Records. He is currently working on a new recording project, writing his memoir, and touring worldwide with his solo band.
Jones originally found fame as the leader of the Stax house band, Booker T. and the MG’s, but has since spent time as a producer, sideman, songwriter and performer. The new record is the latest project in a winding career that, to hear him describe it, has always followed its own inscrutable logic.
“Had I known in third grade when I started playing my clarinet that one day I would be playing with the likes of B.B. King, Otis Redding, or Bob Dylan, I might have been too paralyzed to continue my journey,” Jones said in a statement. “But in life, you do things one moment at a time. That’s what I want to share with readers — how each step of my winding, rocky road has led me to where I am today.”
Portland-based songwriter Matt Dorien will join Jones for the concert. Dorien, who released "two sleepy folk records under the moniker Snowblind Traveler," according to NPR's Jerad Walker, has ditched his stage name and guitar, and, as an ode to his songwriting heroes — legendary musicians Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman — released a new album almost entirely performed on piano.
Like his heroes, Dorrien, Walker said, he has "a wry sense of humor, a solid grasp of songwriting fundamentals, and a deep love of melancholy, binge drinking, and rain."
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro