"Sauce Boss" Bill Wharton

Friday, December 5, at Wilbert's.

Plaid Tidings Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue Through December 21, 216-795-7000
Bill Wharton, aka the Sauce Boss, gives new meaning to "Dinner and a show." When this Boss performs, a large cooking pot stands on stage, in addition to the axes, amps, and mic stands. And it's more than a prop: Between tunes, Wharton's stirring up his trademark gumbo, which he serves to the audience at the end of the show.

When he's not minding the meal, the gray-goateed singer-guitarist is most likely romping his way through an upbeat blues number, brandishing a slide guitar with full-throttle boogie. When he's not rockin' the blues, the Sauce Boss can deliver an uncomplicated country-soul ballad or spice things up Spanish-style.

Wharton has recorded steadily since the '90s, mostly under his real name. He now operates exclusively as the Sauce Boss, his most recent offering Sky Blue, from his own Burning Disk label. From a guy who gets more exposure to the Food Channel than VH-1, the inclusion of Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen" on the CD shouldn't be too surprising. Show up hungry.

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