Blues music icon B.B. King will begin hosting his own weekly music show for XM Radio beginning in September 2008, it was announced today by the company. The program will feature a broad range of blues and gospel music hand-selected by King, along with stories about the artists and other personal anecdotes from the bluesman’s epic career. In anticipation of King’s hosting debut, today XM relaunched its dedicated blues channel “Bluesville” as “BB King’s Bluesville” (XM 74).
“I love the blues and am looking forward to sharing my passion, stories and my favorite music with all the folks who listen to XM, one of the few places where the vibrant sounds of the blues still thrives,” said B.B. King.
For more than 60 years, Riley B. King — better known as B.B. King — has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over 50 albums, many of them classics, won 14 Grammy Awards, been inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) Chairman’s Award, among many other awards. In a special ceremony at the Library of Congress, Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington presented B.B. with a “Living Legend” medal in honor of his achievements as a musician and ambassador for the blues. After 10,000 concerts, B.B. King continues to bring his music to audiences around the globe spending the better part of each year on the road with his beloved guitar, “Lucille.”
On August 26, Geffen Records will release B.B.’s newest T Bone Burnett-produced album, “One Kind Favor,” and, on September 13, King — one of few living musicians in the world to be so honored — will preside at the opening of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in his hometown of Indianola, MS.
B.B. King was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bene, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.