Martinsville, Virginia


Chris Duarte Group to bring Texas blues to Martinsville

The Chris Duarte Group will bring their unique brand of blazing Texas rhythm and blues to the Rives Theatre for a concert this Saturday night at the Rives Theatre.

"I'm real excited to be coming to Martinsville," said Duarte. "I have a little brother who lives in Danville. I'm just really looking forward to it. You all can expect a no-holds-barred performance.

Duarte's sound has been compared to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan by many music critics and fans. He's been touring professionally since the early 1990s, releasing 11 albums in that time, including "My Soul Alone," which debuted in late February.

In the late 1970s, Duarte moved to Austin, Texas, at the age of 16. The music he plays today was greatly influenced by those formative years, when artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan were staples on the Austin music scene.

From the first time he picked up a guitar as a teenager, things have come naturally to him, he said.

 "I think I had a gift, because I found out early that I could pick up things (on the guitar) a lot faster than all my friends around me," he said. "I couldn't understand it. I could take a Beatles song book and blow through it. I'd tell my friends, you know the song and here are the chords right here, it should be really easy."

But Duarte's childhood friends didn't pick things up as quickly as he did.

"So from that moment, I knew that if I really worked at it, I could have something there," he said.

Duarte's in addition to Texas blues, Duarte's band has elements of jazz and rock. He lists his musical influences as Jimmie Hendrix, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few.

Duarte has always played original music, and he met with considerable commercial success in the 1990s.

In 1995, readers of Guitar Players Magazine voted him the fourth best blues guitarist in the world, behind musical legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.

Today, he covers 50,000-70,000 miles per year touring with his band.  

"What keeps me going is I still feel I have a lot to learn in music. My plans for world domination are falling short, so I have to keep working towards that," he joked.

The Chris Duarte Group will take the stage of the Rives around 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance from Woodall's or Studio 107, and $15 at the door of the Rives. The concert is part of the Live at the Rives concert series, meaning season passes will be accepted.

Arts at the Rives is a 501(c)3 community nonprofit dedicated to preserving the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville as a venue for live music, education and the performing arts.

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