J.C. Smith keeps fightin’, playin’ the blues

“There’s always a fight,” says San Jose’s J.C. Smith. “That’s why I play the blues.”

Winner of the Bay Area Blues Society West Coast Blues Band of the Year award in 2006, the guitarist-vocalist-bandleader clearly follows in the steps of his heroes T-Bone Walker, Albert King and Johnnie “Guitar” Watson.

After playing drums with the Back to Back Blues Band on two CDs, Smith switched to guitar in 2000, armed with a Gibson ES-335. His most recent album, “That’s What I’m Talk’n ’Bout,” features contributions by producer and Grammy Award nominee Joanna Connor and Chicago players including Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who played with Muddy Waters for 20 years.

Smith, known for smokin’ live shows, was honored as the best-dressed male artist at the 2003 Bay Area Blues Hall of Fame induction; he’s also been known as radio personality Johnnie Cozmik on KKUP-FM out of Cupertino.

Check him out with his band — Paul Smith on keyboards, Robert Green on bass, Donnie Green on drums, Abraham Vasquez on sax and Tommy Tuesday on trumpet at 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday at Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason St., San Francisco.

Tickets are $15. Call (415) 292-2583 or visit www.biscuitsandblues.com.

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