It's totally ok if you giggle a little bit every time you say his name out loud - Popa Chubby would appreciate it.
The Bronx-born electric blues artist is a straightforward guy with a playful personality, as well as a killer set of pipes and a knack for shredding on the guitar. The singer/songwriter will take to the River Street Jazz Café stage tonight and bring with him tunes from his latest album, Back to New York City.
Chubby grew up listening to the sounds of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Cream, and began his career on the punk side of things by playing such clubs in the late 70's and early 80's. It wasn't until 1992 that the big man ventured into blues, where he would stay, after beginning his career in that genre at the Long Beach Blues Festival.
Two decades and nearly two dozen albums later he's still going, already working on his next project Universal Breakdown Blues, a set of tracks that he's letting his fans get in on. Chubby' been posting tracks on his Facebook page in order to get input about each.
As for this go-round of shows, Chubby will focus on Back to New York City.
For Chubby, the album is an emotional one.
There are two ways you can write an album, he said. You can write campy songs about this or that or you can write your emotions, your heart, your life; that's how I write. This record is a true expression of a period of my life.
It's really a break-up album when you get down to it. It sums up the pain and despair that I felt.
It might be hard to imagine such a heartfelt background coming from a guy like Chubby. He's a burly bald man covered in tattoos that looks more like the bouncer who would man the door at the club, as opposed to the guy providing the entertainment for the night. He said people often think of him as a tough guy at first glance but, once they get to know him, they see him for who he is – someone genuine and kind.
I am who I am, Chubby said. I can be ‘that guy' if I need to be, but that's not who I really am.
Who he is is also someone who loves his hometown, as evidenced by his latest title name.
It's just something about the power, the energy, Chubby said of the Big Apple. It's a place I always find myself coming back to if I need to recharge.
What: Popa Chubby
When: 10 tonight, doors at 8.
Where: River Street Jazz Café, 667 N. River St., Plains Township