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Chris Duarte at B102.7

Chris Duarte

I still remember living in Rapid City, South Dakota, working at a radio station when a CD showed up from one of the record labels called “Texas Sugar Strat Magic” from an artist named Chris Duarte. On it was a song called “My Way Down”. The first time I heard it, I was hooked and instantly became a fan of Duarte. It would be over 15 years before I finally got to see his live show but since then I’ve seen him five times and each has been an experience in it’s own right.

Friday (August 8) Duarte was in Sioux Falls to play at Old Skoolz after a week in Sturgis so I asked him to stop by the studio to finally do an interview. Duarte was born and raised in Texas and at 16, he made a decision that he says he doesn’t recommend. He dropped out of high school and moved to Austin to further his musical journey.

I was kind of surprised when I asked Duarte who or what it was that first turned him onto music, his reply was seeing “Fiddler on the Roof” when he was 8 years old. He said literally the scene when Tevye is on the roof playing, he said he knew he wanted to play music. He wanted to sign up for the school orchestra but was told they had too many vilin players already, but he could play clarinet if he wanted. Duarte told his mom and she told him that he was NOT playing the clarinet!

But he also started listening to his older brothers records like Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath which turned his attention to the guitar which he started playing in his early teens. But he eventually found how much he loved jazz & blues. If you go to a Chris Duarte Group show, you’ll hear influences from all his musical inspirations in his playing.

Duarte is celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Texas Sugar Strat Magic” this summer and hopes to have a new Live album released this fall. I asked him if this is the career he wanted when he chose music and he admitted that of course it would have been great to have the career that would have him playing arenas with a bigger bank account, but says all in all he’s extremely grateful for the career he has. He’s been able to put his daughter through college, he’s released 13 albums on established labels and he’s able to go out and play his music for people who want to come see him. And as long as he keeps doing what he does so well, we’ll keep going!

You can hear the full interview below plus check out a video of Duarte performing “My Way Down” solo in our B102.7 studios.

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