Candy Foster always wants to put on a show. He, in the vein of the best vocalists, knows it’s less about self-aggrandizement and much more about good-hearted entertainment. His shows wind between the genres and can transcend decades in one set, all traits that should be on view with his band, Shades of Blue, this Saturday at Cowboy Monkey.
buzz: Do you like performing in Champaign?
Candy Foster: Oh, yeah. I love performing in Champaign. I have a lot of fans here, and it’s been an amazing run. They really support me a lot, and I definitely enjoy that.
buzz: How long have you been down here?
CF: I’ve been performing in this area for pretty close to 40 years. [It’s always been] in different capacities; there were years when I played with another type of band mostly for Air Force bases when [they] were open. I used to play up there from the early ’70s until it closed. But I have always done university things. In recent years, with this band, I’ve been doing more Chicago things and [playing] in other areas, especially during the summer festivals.
buzz: Who are the best people whom you have worked with over the years?
CF: Some of the guys that you’re out there with and you open up for, you don’t get to hang out with them a lot. I’ve been around B.B. King [along with others], and they tell you stories and things, but I didn’t really learn a lot from them as far as music [is concerned]. I would say I learned the most from musicians from this area that migrated in here. Also, I watched my mother. [She] was a jazz-blues singer when I was coming up, and I paid attention to her and her friends.
buzz: What kind of energy do you get from performing live?
CF: I find that I have a knack for a high-energy type of band and music. It’s kind of my forte, even at this age. I also like to break it down and do something meaningful with music.
buzz: What do you like about covering other people’s songs?
CF: My show is based off of reminiscing about the ’60s and ’70s, and that’s why I run a little jazz, a little blues, R&B and I’ve even thrown in a little disco here lately. The type of crowd I have mostly is 30s and up. A lot of them can relate to those old tunes … but they all seem to like [the songs]. I call it happy-fun music where, whether you remember it or not, you can dance to it and have a good time.

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