With his signature whimsical white beard, baldhead and Rayban Wayfarers “The Blues Wizard” Keith Keifer and drummer Bucky play blues in the streets of San Diego. The Blues Wizard has been playing on the streets on and off for ten years, drawing his guitar style from musicians like B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Robert Johnson. They have developed a new style of blues all of their own based out of Ocean Beach, Calif. called San Diego River Delta Blues (SDRDB). SDRDB is a mixture of Delta Blues from the Deep South and surfer music right out of the San Diego River Delta. The new genre highlights the blues of living in the deep south of California, there are none, except for emails, cell phones, and other tethers of the modern day according to the Wizard. “Delta Blues from the deep south of Calif. are not sad blues,” said Kiefer, “They’re just not”. Upon walking up to the Sounds of surfing blues you will notice that their instruments are made of suitcases. Bucky’s drum kit is made up of a suitcase bass drum and snare with a piece of scrap metal for cymbals and a steel bowl for accents. The Wizard’s guitar has a suitcase body, Humbucker pickups with a Fender neck strung up Hendricks style “lefty and upside down”. He created it out of necessity for an acoustic. Among the Wizards other crafty creations are a homemade Dobro (a guitar with metal resonator in body) and Washboard Guitar. With Surf music tones reminiscent of Dick Dale and classic Blues progression the Duo has an innovative style. They have managed to go on tour three times on a blues circuit playing festivals, landmarks and bars on the west coast going inland as far as Texas. Bucky and the Blues Wizard have been playing SDRDB together for two years now and show no sign of stopping.
Having known each other previously they fell out of contact. When Kiefer happened to call Bucky on his birthday for an informal jam at the O.B. farmers market Bucky had no clue what he was in for. At their first jam he would get a chance to get acquainted with the suitcase drum set, crafted by The Wizard, and he has loved it ever since. His suitcase bass drum got complemented while on tour, when all mic’d up it sounded “even better than a 1000 dollar drum” they both claimed. They are in the business of smiles and work for tips, it seems to be working out quite well for them. You can hear the musical stylings of Bucky and the Blues Wizard yourself at Koby’s Swap meet on weekends and Wednesdays at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market. If your lucky you might just run into the Wizard and his suitcase guitar in the Gaslamp, make sure to tip if they make you smile. “Tips are way cool.”