Nobody will ever confuse Collin County with the Mississippi Delta. But Boz Scaggs's new album, Out of the Blues, actually came straight outta Plano.
That's where, in the 1950s, a pubescent Scaggs first heard the sounds of blues pioneers like Lightnin' Hopkins and Memphis Slim blasting out of his parent's radio console during Jim Lowe's WRR program "Kat's Karavan."
"That show was practically a college course in the blues," Scaggs, 74, says by phone from his longtime home in San Francisco.
"It was a fascinating program, a brilliant display of knowledge and influences, and I know it was an invaluable resource for Jimmie Vaughan and the ZZ Tops guys and a lot of us growing up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area."
Scaggs' 19th studio album, Out of the Blues, is the last in a trilogy of blues and R&B records that pay tribute to a style of music he first performed in the Marksmen, a band he co-founded at St. Mark's School of Texas with future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Miller.
In his early 20s, Scaggs moved to San Francisco and dabbled in psychedelic blues-rock on the first two Steve Miller Band albums before leaving that group to focus on his solo career. Today, he's still best known for his smash 1976 album Silk Degrees and the disco-funk hits "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" - "my Hollywood days," he says with a laugh. But he's never strayed far from his blues/R&B roots.
Recorded with ace drummer Jim Keltner and Texas guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton, Out of the Blues includes songs by legendary singers like Jimmy Reed and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Shortly before Bland died in 2013, he came to the recording studio to watch Scaggs record the album Memphis.
"It really touched me," Scaggs says. "He remained a hero, but somehow, he came in close enough to me that we actually became friends."
While Scaggs holds no delusions of singing the blues as well as Bland, he likes to think he's helping to pass the torch for a genre he calls "the most universal form of music."
"It's a music that plays off of hardship and misfortune, and I don't think that's confined to anyone's racial makeup or experience ... black, white, it strikes anybody and everybody," Scaggs says. "It's all a part of the big river. We're just carrying on the tradition and helping keep the blues alive."
Boz Scaggs and opening act David Michael George perform Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. $39.75 to $79.75, plus fees. verizontheatre.com