Twice Grammy-nominated Raul Midón – dubbed “an eclectic adventurist” by People magazine – continues the Alberta Bair Theater’s its Outstanding Performances Series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. The artist’s jazz undertones buoy an eclectic style of guitar and vocals that are syncopated by his mouth-horn technique.
Marveling over his live performances, The New York Times describes Midón as “a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus.”
Along with his 11 studio albums as a solo artist, Midón has collaborated with such legendary artists as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, along with contributing to records by Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg and the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s She Hate Me. A native of New Mexico who now lives in Maryland after years in New York, Midón has earned acclaim the world over, with a fanbase that stretches from San Francisco to India, Amsterdam to Tokyo.
Ever since being told as a child that his blindness meant that “you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” Raul Midón has lived a life devoted to beating the odds and shattering stereotypes.
“As someone who has never seen, I’ve always felt at a disadvantage in that lyric writing is usually very visual,” he says. “People really relate to images and I’ve never seen images. But what I realized early on is that you have to write from what you know, and I hear, touch and feel intensely – and those are sensations and experiences that everyone can relate to.”
To experience how magnetic Raul Midón can be during a live performance, seek out on YouTube the clip of his appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2006. Performing “State of Mind,” the title track from his major-label debut, Midón unveils what would become his signature combination of silky voice and percussive guitar.
His playing is a syncopated wonder in which bass, harmony and melodic lines fly from the fretboard in a way that belies the fact that all the music is being produced by just two hands. If that weren’t enough, Midón busts out his improvisational mouth-horn technique, in which he creates a bebop “trumpet” solo with his lips, earning himself a burst of mid-song applause from the audience.
Tickets are $17-$37 + fees, and are available at the ABT Box Office, open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays at 2801 Third Ave. N. in Billings, by phone at 406-256-6052, and on the ABT website at albertabairtheater.org.