King Eddy transforms from 'Calgary's Home of the Blues' to rocking out with country music

The King Eddy which opened Friday in the National Music Centre is showcasing all types of country music from July 8 to 17 — from classic to rockabilly, bluegrass, western-swing and Americana, during the Stampede.

Venue opens as pop-up country bar just in time for Calgary Stampede

John Rutherford talks about some of the legendary blues musicians who have performed at the King Eddy over the years. 1:00

The King Eddy is showcasing all types of country music from July 8 to 17 — from classic to rockabilly, bluegrass, western-swing and Americana, during the Stampede.

The venue, now part of the National Music Centre, opened on Friday.

The former hotel and bar first opened in 1905, and in the 1980s it became know as Calgary's Home of the Blues.

Performers such as John Hammond, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush played there over the years.

"They just happened to tap into a circuit of travelling blues musicians coming out of Chicago and off the west coast of the United States that were the great, great legends alive at the time," musician John Rutherford told CBC Calgary News at 6

The King Eddy on opening day on Friday. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

"You go into the history books, and these names pop up time and time again. When I first walked in, I didn't think it would last that long. It went for 22 years, so it was pretty cool."

The building was condemned in 2004, and eventually the National Music Centre took it over and refurbished it as a live music venue.

When the Stampede ends, the Eddy reverts to its role as a live music venue.

"And then it will be an event space that we can work with either promoters, festivals, partner organizations to help program it and pilot and see what works," said Mary Kapusta, manager of marketing and communications for the National Music Centre.

Mary Kapustra is a senior manager of the National Music Centre. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

The rest of the building is being used for administrative offices for the Centre, classrooms, artists spaces and recording studios.

It officially opened on Friday.

CBC Calgary News at 6