Chris Thomas King continues the blues saga in eight shows this weekend

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Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

Guitarist Chris Thomas King returns to the Blues Alley stage on Thursday, bringing his latest chapter in the ongoing story that is New Orleans blues culture.

"We're all storytellers in one way or another," said this Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, composer and actor. "I use musical notes, and the thing about it is that as you get more experience and grow as an artist, you're apt to really fine-tune that story, to expand on it and to color it a certain way that expresses what you do."

King, along with fellow musicians drummer Jeff Mills and bass player Danny Infante, will perform their latest CD release, "Bona Fide," in its entirety, along with some of the music of Nina Simone and Jelly Roll Morton.

King notes that when the trio performs these popular songs, the members add healthy doses of their own flavoring and spices.

Onstage
Chris Thomas King
» Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
» When: 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
» Info: $22.50; 202-337-4141; bluesalley.com

"We've been together now for the last three albums I've done," he explained. "We've had wonderful rehearsals putting our new show together. These guys know all my tunes and all my little quirks. When I improv or go out on a limb, they're right there with me. "

For sure, the music is never status quo when King comes to town. His last visit found the trio performing works from his 2011 release "Antebellum Postcards," along with selected songs he wrote for the films "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" starring George Clooney and the Oscar-winning film "Ray" with Jamie Foxx. In both films, King turned in fine supporting rolls -- as Delta blues man Tommy Johnson in "O Brother" and band leader Lowell Fulson in the Ray Charles biopic.

King, when not on the road, busies himself in his New Orleans recording studio writing, arranging, singing and playing all the instruments on most of his releases.

In this eight-show run at Blues Alley, he and his band and crew are relieved to be leaving their equipment set up, as opposed to breaking everything down and hauling the works to the next one-night stand. But only the instruments are static at Blues Alley.

"Audiences are going to be surprised," King said. "I'm one of those artists that pushes forward; I don't know any other way."

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