A musician from the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame is looking forward to the challenge of performing blues, ballads and covers in Pekin for the first time on Saturday.

Michael Charles — Grammy elected, Australian blues rock artist — will take the stage at 8 p.m. May 19, at Capitol Street Sports Bar and Grill, 219 N. Capitol St., Pekin. 

With 35 years of experience and 34 releases of his original music in his arsenal, Charles looks to captivate the audiences attention with his well-rehearsed genre of music including original blues, blues-based rock, inspiring ballads and some well-known covers, said Charles’ publicist Jane Rogers.

“Through the years of playing live music, I’ve become familiar with which songs work better on stage than others,” said Charles. “What I do is pick the songs that I know people like hearing. So I’ll pick various songs from different albums and, of course, always play the latest songs that are out.”

Charles’ musical journey began over five decades ago in his birth place of Melbourne, Australia. Charles started playing the guitar around 5 to 6 years old, when his father, who was also a musician, taught him some basic chords. After touring, recording, and making numerous television and radio appearances in his homeland, Charles traveled all over the world with Chicago blues legend Jimmy Dawkins.

“Back in the day growing up, I witnessed bands such as The Rolling Stones and even Elvis Presley, who were both blues based,” said Charles. “So, I got influenced by these bands, and then as I got older, I backtracked and found out who influenced my influences. That’s when I got introduced to people like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert Collins, and all these great players who influenced my heroes.”

At this time, Charles is traveling on his 11th consecutive tour, the A to Z Tour, which will once again take him to the far corners of the United States, Canada and Australia. The 2018 tour promises a multitude of concerts and publicity appearances as Charles performs a whole new list of cities, festivals, and nightspots and revisits some favorite venues from the last 10 years.

“I’ve crossed all over the United States, but I don’t think that I’ve ever been to Pekin,” said Charles. “This is going to be a new place and a new challenge, so I’m looking forward to it.”

After making the transition from Australia to the United States, Charles spends his days living just a few hours north in Chicago.

“Listening and watching his guitar work is mesmerizing,” said Jack Mulder, concert and festival organizer of The Blues Buddies Band, in a written statement provided by Rogers. “He plays original licks I’ve never heard. He definitely makes all his work his own … He has a style that can’t be explained.”

In another statement provided by Rogers, the Jazz & Beyond Music Festival in Carson City, Nev. said of Charles, “… With Michael’s raw, yet controlled guitar performances, his instrument is always kept forefront and the focal point of his shows as he gives out every ounce of energy deserved...”

In 2015, Charles received the honor of being inducted into the Chicago Hall of Fame, and in March 2018, an Australian film producer released a documentary about him.

“Playing the guitar is something that I love so much, and I just don’t get tired of it,” said Charles. “What I love about being in the music business is everyday there’s a new challenge, and I’m always up for a new challenge. Just the thought of not doing it never crosses my mind.”

For more concert information, contact Capital Street Sports Bar and Grill at 309-620-9399.