Eric Sardinas with Zen Okies, Roland Bowling Band and The Blackhawk Blues Band
7 p.m. Friday
Oklahoma City Limits
4801 S. Eastern
Eric Sardinas loves the blues. You can hear it in his voice when he starts talking about its artists. He sounds as excited as a little kid, which is appropriate since that's when it began for the Florida-born guitar-slinger.
"Basically, I had toy guitars since I was a baby. I was always fixated on holding a Tinkertoy like a guitar or microphone, twanging away to whatever records my mom was listening to, from gospel and Motown to the R&B, Elvis and Ray Charles," he said. "Whatever was cranking in the house. It was really natural for me to hold something like that, so my folks got me a little kiddie guitar at a really young age."
By the time Sardinas was 7, his early diet of gospel and soul had been augmented by classic '70s rock artists including Blue Oyster Cult, UFO, Foghat, Triumph and, of course, Led Zeppelin.
"Each artist that I discovered, I just fell in love with it," he said. "I fell in love with the primal simplicity and the energy of somebody's emotional content with just their instrument."
While you'll definitely hear a little Jimi Hendrix and Howlin' Wolf, Sardinas retains the evocative, primordial feel of the early acoustic blues. He'll bounce between the electric and acoustic, thanks to his choice of instrument: the resonator guitar.
Using an amplified, Dobro-style instrument, he readily can switch between electric and acoustic styles. Throughout his four full-lengths, he'll play songs with a classic acoustic-blues foundation, only to explode into torrents of electric squall, connecting the blues' long history from Robert Johnson to Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
While he's a dedicated lover of the blues " in all its forms, including Texas blues, country blues, and blues-based rock " he's not a purist, employing all the idioms to create his own, reverent pidgin blues.
"No matter which side I lean on, that blues-rock rope that I've been knitting and climbing forever, I don't have a problem blurring those lines," he said, "because I can take it straight down the line and I can bend it."
While his last album, 2008's "Eric Sardinas and Big Motor," features gospel-flavored backup singers and a little bit of organ, he keeps it simple live. He likes the power-trio format, translating that studio sound into something vibrant and very much "of the moment" each night. By now, he's played thousands of shows " nearly 300 annually for more than a dozen years " and he's honed his performance to diamond sharpness.
After letting five years pass between his latest and his prior release, 2003's "Black Pearls," Sardinas is intent on releasing his next album out sooner. He's already begun work on it, for a spring release. For now, his focus is the stage, where he feels most at home, although a little something new could creep in Friday at his Oklahoma City Limits show.
"I don't really know what we're going to be pulling out. We're just going to be loosey-goosey and whatever hits us. If we pull out some new stuff, then we do," he said. "But it should be a nice, fresh show." "Chris Parker