Guitarist returns to old stomping grounds

Pat "Guitar Slim" Chase hasn't performed on the Eastside since he moved away from Snoqualmie in 2001. Now based in New Mexico, the blues guitarist will perform a free concert at the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue Friday, Dec. 29, as part of a short Northwest tour.

"I have a lot of friends in Snoqualmie," Chase said. "I thought I'd let people know I'll be in the area."

Chase moved to Snoqualmie in 1987 to live near a brother in Bellevue. He was a volunteer firefighter in Snoqualmie for 10 years.

Chase was born in San Jose, Calif., and grew up in the '60s and '70s during a huge blues explosion. His brother took guitar lessons and taught the future "Guitar Slim" everything he learned, only Slim was left-handed.

"I didn't know the difference," Chase said. "No one told me it was backward so I learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down."

During a stint with the Navy, Chase was stationed in North Chicago, where his love with the blues blossomed. After a lot of practice, Chase found himself filling in for a vacationing guitarist on tour with blues pianist Sunnyland Slim.

Since then, he has played guitar and sometimes toured with blues legends like John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Brownie McGhee, Charles Brown, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Lowell Fulson, Luther Tucker, Pee Wee Crayton, Phillip Walker and George "Harmonica" Smith, Rod Piazza and Smoky Wilson.

Chase has released several CDs. His latest, "Playin' the Blues," will be available for the first time in the Pacific Northwest during his tour of the area.

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