American Masters—Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away

Air date: 07/27/2021

American Masters Celebrates the Life and Career of Blues Legend Buddy Guy with New Doc July 27 on PBS in Honor of His 85th Birthday

Featuring unseen performance footage and new interviews with Guy, Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Gary Clark, Jr., Kingfish and more


American Masters presents the broadcast premiere of Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, a new documentary on living legend George “Buddy” Guy, a blues master who transcended his early years as a sharecropper in Lettsworth, Louisiana to become one of the most influential guitarists of all time. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and eight-time GRAMMY winner, Guy is a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound and a living link to the city’s halcyon days of electric blues. American Masters — Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away premieres Tuesday, July 27 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app — just days before Guy’s 85th birthday on July 30.

This new documentary features intimate, original interviews with Guy and archival and never-before-seen performances, including footage of the blues legend on stage with the likes of President Obama and The Rolling Stones. Interweaving archival interviews with Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Willie Dixon with original interviews with musicians Guy influenced, including John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark, Jr., Kingfish and more, American Masters traces Guy’s rich career and lasting impact as one of the final surviving connections to an historic era in the country’s musical evolution.

After moving from Louisiana in the 1950s, Guy quickly rose to prominence as the go-to guitarist for Waters and Howlin’ Wolf amidst the iconic Chicago blues scene, directly inspiring The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many more. Yet solo commercial success consistently eluded Guy until a late-career breakthrough in the 1990s. A tale of decades-long perseverance, Guy’s journey reflects both the Black experience in America in the 20th century and the history of the blues.

Now in its 35th season on PBS, American Mastersilluminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation’s most enduring artistic giants — those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim and 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.

American Masters — Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away is a production of RCA Records and Scheme Engine in association with American Masters Pictures. The film is directed by Devin Amar, Matt Mitchener and Charles Todd. John Beug and Sheira Rees-Davies are the producers. Michael Kantor, Camille Yorrick, Devin Amar and Sheira Rees-Davies are Executive Producers. Sony Music Entertainment is the distributor of the film.

Major support for American Masters provided by AARP.  Support for American Masters provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Rosalind P. Walter, Seton J. Melvin, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation , Judith and Burton Resnick, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation,  Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.

Websites:,, @PBSAmerMasters,, #AmericanMastersPBS

About The WNET Group 

The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the nonprofit parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; and ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider. The WNET Group also operates NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network, and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. Community-supported, The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.



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Buddy Guy. Courtesy: Sony.

Buddy Guy. Courtesy Scheme Engine/Sony.

Buddy Guy's polka dot guitar. Courtesy Scheme Engine/Sony.

Buddy Guy. Courtesy Scheme Engine/Sony.

Buddy Guy. Courtesy Scheme Engine/Sony.

Buddy Guy. Credit: Sony Music Entertainment. Photographer: Caroline Greyshock.

Gary Clark Jr. Courtesy Scheme Engine/Sony.

Buddy Guy at the Limelight in Chicago Illinois. Courtesy Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve.

Buddy Guy at the Limelight in Chicago Illinois. Courtesy Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve

Buddy Guy performing at the Modern Chicago Blues Styles show at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, June 1, 1966. Credit: © Chicago Historical Society

Buddy Guy and Junior Wells perform. Courtesy of Gallery Victor Armendariz and the Art Shay Archive.

Buddy Guy at Biddy Mulligans on May 25, 1980 in Chicago, Illinois. Credit: Photo by Paul Natkin.