Guitarist Bob Pace has been revving up Iowa audiences for more than thirty years---and holding down the Tuesday night slot at Des Moines' legendary Blues on Grand for almost 20. In 2009, his talent and potent songwriting won the Iowa Blues Challenge duo competition with vocalist Steve George.
"Bob Pace is my favorite guitarist in the world, at least tonight while I'm sitting here at the bar in Blues On Grand, one of my favorite blues clubs, watching Bob tear it up...."
Chip Eagle, Blues Revue magazine
A talented composer, Pace has penned countless tunes and just released "Bob Pace Live at Blues on Grand" featuring 8 originals including the soulful "Mother Blues", a heartfelt and moving tribute to Blues on Grand which closed in October.
Pace was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 but his long musical career has been mostly driven by his passion for blues. He has opened for nationally known blues artists such as John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, Bernard Allison, Tower of Power, James Solberg, Tinsley Ellis, Dave Hole, Savoy Brown and others.
Additionally, he's had the opportunity to play with the likes of Junior Wells, Eric Sardinas, Coco Montoya, Tab Benoit, Mark Hummel, R.J. Mishoe, Kenny Neal, Eddie Vaan Shaw Jr.,Willie (Big Eyes) Smith, Rev. Daniel Slick Ballinger and Sonny Rhodes when he needed a talented guitarist for his entire Des Moines show.
He picked up his first guitar at 10 and was serious by 14. Says Pace about his beginnings, "I was always fascinated by music and instruments". (He also plays a mean harp and teaches mandolin and drums.)
He recalls the "defining experience" of watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and seeing the screaming girls. That sealed the deal. "I had to play guitar."
He immersed himself in his early guitar heroes--all the Kings (BB, Albert and Freddie) Roy Buchanan, Mike Bloomfield, Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Later influences were Paul Butterfield, Peter Green, Otis Rush, Johnny Winter, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Earl Hooker.
As Pace looks back upon thirty-odd years of giving it his all several times a week..." I get up on a stage and would like to think I've exposed listeners from all walks of life to the inspiration and expression and power we call The Blues." he muses.
"To locals and visitors from afar, I've tried to uphold a high standard and, in some small way, I hope this has helped to keep the Blues alive in Iowa."