ASHLAND Pittsburgh native Bryan Bassett has been around the music block a time or two, gathering experience from playing with a variety of bands.
When he performs on March 19 at the Paramount Arts Center, it will be as the guitarist of Foghat, a blues and rock band.
“I found it fascinating to play all three different styles – funk (Wild Cherry), southern rock (Molly Hatchett) and Foghat,” Bassett said. “Foghat obviously started out in England as a blues rock band, which was distinct from a guitarist’s point of view.”
Of those three big groups, the current one is his favorite, he said.
“Foghat was more my natural playing style,” he said, noting that as a young man studying guitar he listened to classics like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. “But I had a great time working with Molly Hatchet. There were some really complicated harmony guitar parts and we worked really hard to perfect that. Wild Cherry was just a fun arena for people.”
He said Wild Cherry started out as a high-profile club band, but when KC and the Sunshine Band came along, popular music changed.
“We were a rock band trying to be more danceable,” Bassett said. “We were inspired by the Commodores and had a big hit with ‘Play That Funky Music’.”
He said the British invasion bands and seeing the Beatles and Rolling Stones on “The Ed Sullivan Show” inspired many young men to learn an instrument.
“Everyone in my neighborhood has a guitar or drums,” he said.
Ashland’s gig will be faithful to the Foghat playlist, featuring hits like “Slow Ride” and “Fool for the City,” but Bassett said they’ll also be doing “deep dives,” playing lesser-heard tunes .
“We’re going to rock hard and play a lot of guitar music for people. Very energetic,” he said. “It really reminds me of 1970s shows.”
He said his favorite Foghat song was “Hurts Me Too.”
“It’s a classic show blues song, recorded by several bands,” he said. “I play slide on it, which I really enjoy.”
The band went on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting the road again last fall. Bassett said he liked it.
“I’m so glad that after two years of this pandemic people can go out and enjoy life again, and I’m excited to play there,” he said.
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