Quinn Sullivan: Blues guitar wunderkind

Quinn Sullivan.
Chuck Lanza
Quinn Sullivan.

Age: 14

Hometown: New Bedford

Think of: Justin Bieber, if he could play guitar like B.B. King and looked up to Buddy Guy instead of Usher.


What caught our eye: His appearance earlier this month on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” He has been sharing the stage with Buddy Guy for years, at venues like the Beacon Theatre and the Hollywood Bowl, and he made an appearance on the blues legend’s Grammy-nominated 2008 album, “Skin Deep.”

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Light-bulb moment: “When I was 3, my parents got me a small guitar for Christmas. It was one of those things that just clicked from the start.”

Biggest thrill: “Playing Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in April this year. It was an incredible experience and I got to meet so many of my heroes and play at Madison Square Garden.”

Biggest surprise: “I met Buddy [Guy] at a theater called Zeiterion in New Bedford when I was 8. He was a really nice gentleman. I shook his hand. I had my little guitar. It was so cool to meet such a legend. He signed my guitar, and a few minutes later he asked me to play a couple licks, so I did. He told me, ‘You be ready when I call you.’ I’ve been playing with him ever since.”

Inspired by: “Eric Clapton, John Lennon, of course Buddy Guy. Buddy is my mentor, and he’s the reason I do what I do. Derek Trucks, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa. I would really love to meet Paul McCartney.”


Aspires to: “I’ve played with some of the great blues and rock guitar players. That’s the level I’d like to be at when I’m their age.”

For good luck: “I jam for a few minutes with my guitar before I go on. I do some vocal exercises. I started playing at a really young age, and I’ve been performing for a long time, so it’s not something I would get nervous about.”

What people should know: “Even though I play guitar and sing, I’m just an ordinary kid.”

Coming soon: Sullivan is currently on a two-month tour in support of his second album, “Getting There,” released on June 18. Tom Hambridge, who has worked with Guy, B.B. King, and Bo Diddley, produced the album and wrote most of the songs. In September, Sullivan will enter high school.



Benjamin Soloway can be reached at