Robert Lockwood Jr.

With Gene Schwartz and Patrick Sweany.

Starlight Express State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue Through December 21, 216-241-6000
Since the world rediscovered Robert Lockwood Jr. in the early '70s, he's traveled that world extensively. Seen most often in town with a full band, he's different on tour. When in Spain or Japan or wherever, Lockwood performs as a two-piece with his longtime friend and bassist Gene Schwartz. It's more than economics: What packs the house overseas or what brings Lockwood's fans to a major U.S. festival is a one-of-a-kind mainline connection to the blues in its pristine state, one degree of separation from the Delta master himself (and Lockwood's mentor), Robert Johnson. Not an everyday musical experience.

This is the sort of stuff that came out initially on imports such as Robert Lockwood Jr. Plays Robert and Robert: straight-up country-style blues, deceitfully simple-sounding, yet always with more going on upon careful listening. After decades of stage time together, Lockwood and Schwartz play pretty much like a single instrument. Their periodic return to the Beachland stage is one of that venue's classiest offerings. Fans all over the world look forward to Lockwood's concert sets; they would surely envy Clevelanders' easy access to him.

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