Guitarist Earl Klugh isn’t an artist easily boxed.
While many consider his improvisational style jazz, others recognize his distinctive finger style as more classical or even Americana inspired.
Some consider him a singular writer and composer, while others consider his innovative interpretations his calling card. After more than 40 years, Klugh has addressed his artistic aspirations much more simply.
He considers himself a guitar player.
“I just try to let the music live and breathe,” he said during a recent telephone interview. “And that means bringing in all those influences and all the things that you love.”
Over the course of his career, Klugh, who will appear at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans, has worked with legends such as Chet Atkins, George Benson and Bob James and has been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards. Still, Klugh believes his success is measured in much the same way as every artist who picks up an instrument.
“If I’m playing well, if I feel like I’m onto something good, well that for me is about the best you can feel,” he said. “I love that feeling you get when I’m able to turn things around just a little bit. I mean the truth is you can never make something perfect, but you can always make it better.”
Augusta Amusement’s Michael Deas said it’s that approach to music that makes the Klugh concert such an interesting event for the Augusta-based promoter.
“This, for us, was really a no-brainer,” he said. “And it is because he has that recognition. He has brought that kind of performance to audiences all over the world.”
Deas said he was able to bring an artist like Klugh to Augusta because he leaves himself free to improvise. He said people often ask him to prepare a season, but he refuses because he wants to be free to book and present interesting acts if and when they become available.
“I feel like I have to treat this very loosely,” he said. “Some folks only want to focus on country or on comedy. I don’t do that. I’ll book anything I find interesting and I keep myself open to anything that might fall into my life.”
Deas said every show he produces also has an added component. For the Klugh show, it’s an invitation to the audience to dress in “elegant jazz” attire.
Tickets cost $40-45 from www.augustaamusements.com.