It's not everyday a Northland musician gets to play with a legend.
But today guitar maestro Billy TK Jnr flies out to climb the Everest for Chicago blues fans - performing with legendary bluesman Guy Buddy at his Buddy Guy's Legends venue in Chicago.
Billy has been invited to play a gig at Guy's Legends venue and then to play with Guy at the club, the first Kiwi to play on stage with Guy.
The performance is booked for Sunday, January 26, on the biggest night of the year at the prestigious blues club. While in town Billy will be having official presentations including with the Mayor of Chicago with a view to a City to City BLUES agreement for a musicians exchange programme.
He flies out today and hopes the gigs will start a reciprocal arrangement where Chicago blues players can come to New Zealand to perform with Kiwi players and New Zealand blues musicians can play at Legends.
Also, as part of the deal, Billy will bring Buddy Guy's daughter, Carlise Guy, to the country for a national tour with her band, Nu Blu, with Northland gigs, including a slot at Waitangi Day commemorations in the Bay of Islands with Billy TK and his band for the 180th commemorations.
Billy said he was honoured and humbled to be the first Kiwi to play with the great man and to also have a headlining gig at his club last month.
"It's just huge, massive. I'm so lucky to get this opportunity, and I really want to use it to open a channel for Chicago players to come here and our top Kiwi blues players and singers to go to Chicago to learn more about the blues there, expose them to new audiences and markets and to show what Kiwi blues means," Billy said.
''I am the first New Zealander to ever do this. Following my performance [there] last month I am very humbled to be featured in Buddy Guy's International Blues Magazine with a seven-page article. I am of course over the moon with this and already it has opened more doors for me.''
Billy TK Jnr will perform with Nu Blu and Carlise Guy at Waitangi on February 6 and at Opononi Hotel on February 7.
He said Nu Blu and Carlise Guy will be the first international and non-Māori act to perform in this capacity at the Treaty Grounds.