President Barack Obama belted out a tune for all to enjoy, once again – and once again, he did a surprisingly good job! The first time he gave a taste of his singing abilities was when he sang a bit of an Al Green song, just last month at the Apollo Theatre in New York. This time, our president was enticed into singing a rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago” at the close of a blues concert that will be a part of a series that airs on PBS entitled, “In Performance at the White House”. Buddy Guy is the one that egged him on, telling him “You gotta keep it up”, since he had heard him sing so well before. So, he did just that! When Jagger handed him the mic, he sang the beginning of the song “come on, baby don’t you want to go,” and joined in at the end singing the lyrics “Sweet Home Chicago”. Being that he and his wife Michelle are from Chicago, this proved to be a fitting close to the evening.
Prior to the surprise song from the president, a long list of performers did their thing as well. Buddy Guy, Jagger, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi were some of the greats performing that night. Some young performers were also showcased such as, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Gary Clark Jr., Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Actress, Taraji P. Henson hosted the program, and Booker T. Jones was the music director and band leader.
President Obama was quoted by the Huffington Post saying, “no one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.” This is true of the blues. It is a universal language that people know, and it was clear that the audience enjoyed themselves. Barack and Michelle were moving to the beat the entire night as well.
You can see the president, “the crooner”, and this memorable concert Monday, airing on PBS stations in celebration of Black History Month.