GUITAR SHORTY, a blues guitar player and vocalist who is signed to Alligator Records, recorded his first single at the age of 17.

GUITAR SHORTY, a blues guitar player and vocalist who is signed to Alligator Records, recorded his first single at the age of 17.

Blues guitar player and vocalist Guitar Shorty will return to Harvelle’s in Santa Monica for a performance beginning at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23.
Guitar Shorty, a.k.a. David Kearney, was born in Houston, TX, but raised in Kissimmee, Fla. by his grandmother. As a young boy, he would sneak into his uncle’s room and try to play his guitar. He was so small that his hands didn’t fit around its neck, so he would lean the guitar against the wall and play it like a stand-up bass. When other kids were in high school, Shorty was a student by day and a working musician by night. He was influenced by the sounds of B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker.
After a move to Tampa when he was 17, the young Shorty won a slot as a featured guitarist and vocalist in the locally popular 18-piece orchestra led by Walter Johnson. He was younger and shorter than the rest of the band, and a club owner bestowed the name Guitar Shorty on him.
Backed by Otis Rush on second guitar, Shorty cut his first single, “Irma Lee,” backed with “You Don’t Treat Me Right,” for Chicago’s famed Cobra Records in 1957. The single was recorded under the direction of Willie Dixon.
“Willie Dixon was a huge influence on me and my singing,” Shorty remembers. “Willie helped me find my own singing voice and showed me how to tell a story with my words.”
Guitar Shorty settled in Los Angeles in 1971, where he recorded his first full album and received his first W.C. Handy Award.
Since that time he has recorded several albums for the Black Top label and he is currently signed to Alligator Records.
Harvelle’s is at 1432 Fourth St., Santa Monica.
Tickets are $12 and available at the door or online, http://santamonica.harvelles.com/show.
Information, (310) 395-1676.

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