Tag Archives: blues

Sake of the Sound

Front Country – Sake of the Sound

Front Country – Sake of the Sound (Front Country, 2014)

Front Country is an excellent San Francisco Americana band inspired by bluegrass, old time, blues, and classic country music. The band’s sounds is characterized by the passionate voice of Melody Walker, strong vocal harmonies, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitars. Although the band is rooted in tradition, they incorporate unexpected progressive elements, especially with the fiddle that make their music unique and more attractive.

The lineup includes Adam Roszkiewicz on mandolin; Jacob Groopman on guitar, vocals; Melody Walker on vocals, guitar; Jordan Klein on banjo, vocals; Leif Karlstrom on violin; Zach Sharpe on bass.

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Artist Profiles: Little Hatch

Little Hatch likely was the best harmonica player ever to make Kansas City home. He died on January 14, 2003 at 81 years-old.

Little Hatch was born Provine Hatch Jr. in Sledge, Mississippi in 1921. He picked up the blues harp [harmonica] when he was just 8 years-old. By his teens after his family had moved to Helena, Arkansas Hatch was under the direct spell of Sonny Boy Williamson II. The Blues and that harmonica overcame him.

‘I slept with it ate with it and everything else I could do with it ‘ Hatch said of his first harmonica in an APO Records interview.

The obsession turned into a profession for Hatch once he added vocals to his act.

The U.S. Navy drafted Hatch in 1942 and he served in World War II until 1946. On his way home to Arkansas, Hatch stopped in Kansas City. He liked the city’s feel Hatch told his family and after meeting a woman he decided to make his home there.

Hatch worked as a trash-hauler owning his own truck and accumulating 65 stops. He worked for Hallmark Cards for 32 years as a security guard and as a mailman earning a pension. But the Kansas City Mayor’s Office declared his birthday October 25th Little Hatch Day because of his Blues.

For more than 40 years Hatch was a Kansas City star. However Hatch’s fame and most of his gigs were limited to Kansas City. APO Records owner Chad Kassem couldn’t believe that Little Hatch wasn’t a recording star when he first saw him perform in the early 1980s. By the late 1990s Kassem had established Blue Heaven Studios and the Blues label APO in Salina, Kansas. He of course remembered Hatch and the two formed a relationship that produced 1998’s Goin Back (APO, 2007) and Rock With Me Baby.

Little Hatch died of natural causes at his home in El Dorado Springs, Missouri. He was 81 years old.

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Artist Profiles: John Cephas

John Cephas – Photo by Tom Radcliffe

John Cephas was born in Washington D.C. in 1930 into a deeply religious family and raised in Bowling Green, Virginia. His first taste of music was gospel but blues soon became his calling (as he described in his song “I Was Determined”). After learning to play the alternating thumb and fingerpicking guitar style that defines Piedmont blues, John began emulating the records he heard by Blind Boy Fuller Blind Blake, Gary Davis and other early Piedmont artists.

Aside from playing blues, John worked early on as a professional gospel singer, carpenter and Atlantic fisherman. By the 1960s he was starting to make a living from his music. John joined pianist Wilber “Big Chief” Ellis’ band and worked with him until Ellis’ death in 1977.

Among his many endeavors, John served on the Executive Committee of the National Council for the Traditional Arts and testified before congressional committees. He was also a founder of the Washington D.C. Blues Society. “More than anything else,” said John “I would like to see a revival of country blues by more young people. More people going to concerts learning to play the music. That’s why I stay in the field of traditional music. I don’t want it to die.”

He was a member of the renowned Cephas and Wiggins duo. John Cephas died March 4 of 2009 of natural causes. He was 78.

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Artist Profiles: Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker

Guitarist and vocalist Joe Louis Walker was born December 25, 1949 in San Francisco, California. Today, Joe Louis Walker is a leading blues figure.

Walker uses electric and slide guitar to deliver his music, rooted in blues, soul, gospel and R&B.

I never was one of those guys to sit down and try to copy B.B. King note for note, or Albert King, or Freddy King. I enjoy the hell out of ’em but I figure if I’m gonna do this here I might as well do it and put my own stamp on it,” said Joe Louis Walker.

In 2013, Joe Louis Walker was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame.

Discography

Cold Is The Night (Hightone 1986)

The Gift (Hightone 1988)

Blue Soul (Hightone 1989)

Live At Slim’s Volume One (Hightone 1991)

Live At Slim’s Volume Two (Hightone 1992)

Blues Survivor (Polydor/Polygram 1993)

JLW (Polydor/Polygram 1994)

Blues Of The Month Club (Polydor/Polygram 1995)

Great Guitars (Polydor/Polygram 1997)

Preacher And The President (Polydor/Polygram 1998)

Silvertone Blues (Polydor/Polygram 1999)

In the Morning (Telarc 2002)

Pasa Tiempo (Evidence Music 2002)

Guitar Brothers (JSP Records 2002)

She’s My Money Maker (JSP 2002/3)

Ridin’ High (Hightone 2003)

New Direction (Provogue 2004)

Playin’ Dirty (JSP 2006)

Witness To The Blues (Stony Plain Music 2008)

Between A Rock And The Blues (Stony Plain Music 2009)

Blues Conspiracy: Live on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise (Stony Plain Music 2009)

Hellfire (Alligator Records 2012)

Hornet’s Nest (Alligator Records 2014)

Everybody Wants a Piece (Provogue, 2015)

website: www.joelouiswalker.com

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Artist Profiles: Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson

Guitar player and vocalist Jimmy Johnson has carved out a distinctive niche in the Chicago blues scene.
James Earl Thompson was born November 25, 1928 in Holly Springs Mississippi. He grew up in a musical family. Jimmy was the older brother of blues musician Syl Johnson and his other brother the late Mack Thompson was a bassist in Magic Sam’s band. Jimmy began singing in the local church choir. He later sang with the United Five a spiritual group in Memphis.

In 1950 Jimmy’s family moved to Chicago. Jimmy worked as a welder for several years and played guitar as a hobby. In 1959 Jimmy began to perform with harmonica player Slim Willis. He changed his last name from Thompson to Johnson.

He began his career playing with Magic Sam Freddie King and Otis Rush. Jimmy recorded his first solo album at the age of 50.

Now with his own band Jimmy’s performing experience spans the globe from Europe to Japan as well as prestigious festivals concert halls and universities across the U.S. and Canada.

His discography includes dozens of back-up appearances as well as five solo albums. 1995 brought his first world-wide Verve/Polygram release ̶I’m a Jockey, which earned Jimmy his second W.C. Handy Award from the International Blues Foundation. This followed the critically acclaimed album ̶Bar Room Preacher, on Alligator Records. A second world-wide major label release is in the works for 1999.

Discography

Jimmy Johnson & Luther Johnson (MCM, 1977)

Tobacco Road live (MCM, 1978. Reissued by Delmark in 1997 Storyville/Delmark 842 )

Johnson’s Whacks (Delmark 644, 1979)

North/South (Delmark 647, 1982)

Bar Room Preacher (Alligator 4744, 1985)

I’m a Jockey (Verve, 1995)

Every Road Ends Soewhere (Ruf 1455, 1999)

Pepper’s Hangout recorded in 1977 (Delmark 745, 2000)

Ma Bea’s Rock with Luther Johnson (Storyville/Delmark 850, 2001)

Two Johnsons Are Better Than One with Syl Johnson (Evidence 26122, 2001)

Brothers Live (Brambus Records, 2004)

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Artist Profiles: Jerry Douglas

Jerry Douglas

In addition to being widely acknowledged as the United States’ finest dobro players Jerry Douglas is a freewheeling recording artist whose output draws upon a bottomless well of musical inspiration incorporating elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues, and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.

The Ohio-born Douglas was seduced by music early in life. At the age of eight he was taken by his father-a steelworker who played bluegrass in his spare time-to a Flatt and Scruggs concert where he was immediately attracted to the sound of the dobro. He began playing the instrument in earnest soon after. “I just liked the sound it made, he recalls.,It can be real lonesome or it can be really brash and percussive. It’s such a vocal instrument; you can do so many things on it because of the sustain, and because there’s all these different voices you can get out of it.”

After several years of playing with his dad’s group the West Virginia Travelers the 17-year-old Douglas joined the pioneering newgrass band the Country Gentlemen in 1973. The following year he became a member of the seminal J.D. Crowe and the New South which also included future stars Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. In 1976 Douglas and Skaggs co-founded the now-legendary bluegrass combo Boone Creek. In 1979 Douglas launched his solo career with his LP Fluxology and became a full-time member of the beloved family group the Whites. He remained with the Whites until 1985 but still found time to play on such now-classic albums as Emmylou Harris’ Roses in the Snow and Ricky Skaggs’ Don’t Get Above Your Raising.

By the time he left the Whites Douglas had become Nashville’s busiest session dobro player while continuing his solo career with such albums as 1982’s Fluxedo (for which he won his first Grammy for Best Country Instrumental) Under the Wire (1986) Changing Channels (1987) Everything Is Going To Work Out Fine (1987) Plant Early (1989) and Slide Rule (1992). In the late ‘8s he formed the seminal acoustic supergroup Strength in Numbers with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor; the quintet debuted with 1989’s The Telluride Sessions.

Jerry Douglas

Jerry Douglas formed a trio with Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer to record the 1993 album Skip Hop and Wobble. The next year Douglas co-produced and performed on the all-star multi-artist project Great Dobro Sessions for which he won a second Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In 1996 Douglas joined Edgar Meyer and Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt for the genre-bending experiment Bourbon and Rosewater and collaborated with singer-songwriter Peter Rowan on the album Yonder. Douglas released his next solo effort Restless on the Farm in 1998.

It was around that time that Douglas chose to abandon his lucrative session career which had ceased to offer new musical challenges. “I did so many sessions for so long and it wasn’t really doing anything for me anymore,” he explains. “I was making a fine living playing on people’s records but the music changed and I didn’t really like where mainstream country was going. It started to really bother me so I had to stop.”

At around the same time Alison Krauss asked Douglas to fill in on a Union Station tour. The shows went so well that Krauss offered him a permanent slot in the group. “I really love playing with Alison; it’s a creative atmosphere and the music is coming from all of us so it’s a dream gig.” Since then he’s managed to balance his Union Station work with his solo career and a variety of collaborative efforts. One such project was the surprise smash O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack for which Douglas helped to recruit musicians and played on three songs including the Soggy Bottom Boys’ “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” He also made a brief onscreen appearance in the film.

In 2002 Douglas released the solo album Lookout for Hope and won three Grammy Awards for his work with Union Station and Earl Scruggs as well as receiving five Grammy Award Acknowledgements for the O Brother soundtrack and its live sequel Down from the Mountain. He was also named Musician of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year as well as the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year.

Summer 23 found Douglas on stage with Norah Jones and her band for sets at the Montreal Jazz Festival and at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. That fall he was honored with his second Instrumentalist of the Year title from the Americana Music Association. In 2004 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Douglas a National Heritage Fellowship.

When New York hosted Country Music’s Biggest Night in November 2005 the Country Music Association honored Jerry Douglas with his second Musician of the Year Award. Douglas also performed with Alison Krauss + Union Station during the Awards Ceremony from Madison Square Garden which was broadcast worldwide to over 36 million viewers.

Grammy Week 2006 was a busy one for Douglas. With his fellow NARAS Board Members Douglas honored his friend James Taylor MusiCares’ 2006 Person of the Year. Douglas teamed with Alison Krauss to deliver Carolina In My Mind during the musical tribute and at the honoree’s request joined Taylor and band to finish out the show. Douglas also was on the Who’s Who list of guitar slingers invited to perform at a concert paying homage to legendary guitar player Les Paul at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

Capping off the week was the Grammy Awards Show with Jerry Douglas receiving three Grammys for his work with Alison Krauss + Union Station on Lonely Runs Both Ways. The band picked up the prestigious Best Country Album Award as well as winning Grammys for Best Country Instrumental Performance for the Douglas composition Unionhouse Branch and Best Country Vocal Performance Duo or Group for Restless.

In addition to his solo releases Douglas’ stellar fretwork has graced over 1 albums encompassing a dizzying range of musical styles. As a sideman he’s recorded with artists as diverse as Garth Brooks, Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Ricky Skaggs, James Taylor, Randy Travis and Trisha Yearwood as well as performing on the landmark O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. As a producer he’s overseen albums by such esteemed acts as the Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, Jesse Winchester and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. He’s been part of such notable groups as the Whites J.D. Crowe and the New South the Country Gentlemen and Strength in Numbers. Since 1998 he’s been a key member of Alison Krauss and Union Station touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum albums.

The Best Kept Secret Douglas’ eleventh solo album and his first for the Koch label features a set of original instrumentals that seamlessly merge Douglas’ far-flung influences. The material ranges from the jazzy bluegrass workout “Who’s Your Uncle?” to the funky country-rocker,She Makes Me Want To Sing” to the jazz-inflected title song to the haunting reflective,Sir Aly B.” The latter track references legendary Celtic fiddler Aly Bain with whom Douglas collaborated on the all-star roots-music summit Transatlantic Sessions series for British TV. In addition to Douglas’ own compositions the album features a haunting reading of the vintage Weather Report number A Remark You Made, underlining Douglas’ instinctive affinity for jazz.

“This record ended up being a surprise to me, states Douglas,and it wasn’t until I was halfway through it that I realized it was gonna be different. For a minute I worried about what the bluegrass people would think and what the country people would think but I know better than to think too much about that stuff.”

Along with the current lineup of Douglas’ band the Brickbats-guitarist Keith Sewell bassist Derek Jones drummer Shannon Forrest and violinist Gabe Witcher better known to rock fans as bassist for Eve 6-The Best Kept Secret features a typically varied array of guest musicians. The cast includes young axe hero Derek Trucks who plays bracing slide guitar on “She Makes Me Want to Sing”; revered jazz guitarist Bill Frisell who lends his trademark touch to the languid bluesy,Lil’ Ro Ro”; noted bassist Viktor Krauss who also plays on the latter song; and longtime Douglas pals Sam Bush and Bela Fleck whose world-class mandolin and banjo respectively are featured on “Who’s Your Uncle?”

The Best Kept Secret also includes a pair of vocal numbers featuring two notable guest singers. Alison Krauss delivers Back in Love Again, while roots-rock legend John Fogerty participates on the rollicking,Swing Blues #1.” Those tunes follow in the tradition of Douglas’ prior albums which have featured such singers as Steve Earle and James Taylor.

Backing good singers is what I’ve made a lot of my living at and I think that it’s something that I do well so I like to represent that on my records,” says Douglas. “There’s a real art to backing singers to staying out of their way and complementing what they’re saying.”

Douglas originally met Fogerty through their mutual love of dobro.,He came through the South on a dobro-buying trip and he asked to see my collection, he says.,That completely freaked me out because I was such a huge Creedence fan. I found out that we had the same birthday and had all these things in common and we became good friends. Then I played on one of his records not long ago and I sheepishly asked him if he’d be interested in someday doing something on one of mine. He said ‘When do you want to do it? ‘ and I said ‘There’s one happening now…’ We went through the song five or six times and basically got it in one take.”

In addition to showcasing his expressive dobro work The Best Kept Secret also features Douglas’ equally stellar abilities on lap steel guitar on such tracks as “Ya Ya” and “You Are My Flower.” “It’s the most lap steel I’ve played on any record I’ve ever done, he says adding,Going from acoustic dobro to lap steel is kind of like going from using a handsaw to using a chainsaw. The two instruments are related but they call for two completely different sets of techniques and two different ways of thinking.”

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Artist profiles: Howard Levy

Howard Levy

Multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy has appeared throughout the Americas, Europe and Japan in a variety of jazz, Latin, folk, blues, pop and world music settings. A superb pianist and composer, Howard’s most remarkable music is made on the harmonica.

He has revolutionized the technique of playing the instrument by devising a method of playing all twelve tones of the chromatic scale on the diatonic harmonica (which is only designed to produce eight tones).

In addition Howard is revered for performing with intense musicality a beautiful tone and a commanding stage presence. Howard was an original member of the outstanding Bela Fleck &the Flecktones. Howard is also credited for performances and recordings with the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, David Grisman, Kenny Loggins, Paquito D’Rivera, Glen Vele,z John Prine, Bonnie Koloc, Styx, Chuck Mangione and Dolly Parton.

Howard Levy’s discography is really extensive. His Web site has a long list of titles where he appears as a member of various ensembles and as a guest.

Discography

The Old Country (1999)
Stranger’s Hand (1999)
Cappuccino (2004)
Howard Levy & Paul Sprawl (2005)
Tonight and Tomorrow (2009)
Time Capsules (2009)
Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra (2010)
Alone and Together

DVD

New Directions For Harmonica-Expanding Your Technique

www.levyland.com

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Artist profiles: Henry Butler

Henry Butler

New Orleans pianist and vocalist Henry Butler is a virtuoso jazz, blues and r&b pianist, a schooled vocalist naturally imbued with gospel credibility a fierce r&b performer and an expressive composer. “Once I sit at the keyboard it’s right there,” says Butler “I have an instrument on which I can express anything I want.” Calling himself a perpetual “work in progress “ Butler is a classically trained vocalist a critically lauded jazz recording artist and an accomplished photographer (all the more stunning considering Butler has been blind since infancy).

Born in the musical hotbed of New Orleans, Louisiana, Butler was attracted to piano at a very young age. By the time he was seven he had joined the glee club at the Louisiana School for the Blind where he was already studying piano. He was gigging by the time he was 14 and went on to study voice in high school.

Butler attended Southern University in Baton Rouge where he fell under the spell of jazz giant Alvin Batiste who quickly became Butler’s mentor. Batiste taught Butler the importance of playing what’s in the mind’s eye to improvise. With Batiste’s help Butler began adding the jazz legacy of Art Tatum Bud Powell Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to the Crescent City r&b he’d absorbed from Eddie Bo Tommy Ridgley James Booker and Professor Longhair.

After graduating from college Butler plunged into performing around New Orleans playing his own mix of jazz and r&b. He went on to earn a master’s degree from Michigan State University before returning to New Orleans in 1974 where he began gigging with every important jazz and r&b musician in the city. While teaching at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts Butler spent a few very intense afternoons in the living room of Professor Longhair learning Fess’ shuffle patterns trills and parallel thirds and sixths. “Fess showed me how he approached the piano and mainly taught by demonstrating,” recalls Butler. “I listened and tried to emulate what he had shown me.”

Butler moved to Los Angeles in 198 where he gigged and worked as a talent development consultant for Motown Records and the Stevie Wonder organization. After sitting in with bassist Charlie Haden Butler’s fortunes changed. He recorded his first album Fivin’ Around for MCA/lmpulse! in 1986. After a second MCA/lmpulse! release The ½llage Butler’s reputation as an important force in the jazz world began earning him hordes of new friends and tans. Critics raved about virtuoso pianist who mixed soul with brains and about a live performer who consistently knocked audiences oft their feet with his scattering lightning-fast runs.

Butler recorded two albums for Windham Hill, 1990’s Orleans Improvisation and 1992’s Blues And More before heading back to New Orleans in 1996. He released For All Seasons that same year on Atlantic Jazz again to massive critical acclaim. He won the 1998 “Best Of The Beat” Award from OffBeat Magazine for Best New Orleans Piano Player and continues to impress critics fans and fellow musicians with his massive talents.

www.henrybutler.com

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Artist profiles: Hazmat Modine

Hazmat Modine

Hazmat Modine is a band of unconventional musical instruments and cultural combinations that reflect the origins of the American musical soul. Their debut CD was Bahamut (Barbes Records 2006).

The band is led by two harmonica-players rounded out with tuba drums guitars and trumpet and recruits guests appearing on lesser-known instruments such as the claviola (an unusual free-reed instrument), cimbalom (a large hammered dulcimer of Eastern European origin), the contra-bass, saxophone and the sheng (Chinese mouth organ).

The band plays an unexpected mix that may include Blues, Rocksteady or Gypsy music. “If you want to be faithful to the music forms that made American music great,” says Hazmat leader Wade Schuman. “You have to be faithful to what made it great not to the music forms themselves. American music is by its essence music that comes out of the so-called melting pot of different cultures banging up against each other. And that was the creative aspect.”

Schuman explains that the first real Blues hit ‘St. Louis Blues’ by W.C. Handy included a minor-key tango section. “That is one of the things that makes the song what it is,” says Schuman. He points to the significant influence of Latin and Caribbean music in the 1930s and the huge influx of immigrants into New York City. “There were few studios in Trinidad ‘ explains the harmonica-player vocalist and guitarist. ‘Most Calypso musicians were recording in New York so many of the early Calypso recordings were related in some way to America. The point is that we live in a nostalgic commodified world where we believe that Rock and Roll or Bluegrass or Dixieland are rigid music forms not influenced by outside factors. But that is not the history of how American music happened. It’s really quite dynamic and based on a phenomenal cultural shift in the early part of the 20th century.”

At the same time Schuman recognizes that regions of the United States each had their own local flavor. “Without television and with limited national radio things didn’t homogenize as fast,” said Schuman. “Things would gestate in a lot of creative ways in different locations. Here in New York there are these individual music scenes full of incredible musicians. And I do try to tap into all these different spheres.”

Hazmat’s band members come out of many backgrounds. Guitarist Pete Smith will often give a song a Cuban or Brazilian spin. Veteran tuba player Joseph Daley not only brings a wealth of knowledge from his work as an improvising artist but is also respected as one of the United States’most creative ‘lower brass specialists.’ Drummer Richard Huntley hops from Latin and Jazz to Klezmer while Pamela Fleming uses her vibrant trumpet to bridge everything from the Swing era to soulful Reggae. Guitarist Michael Gomez who plays every style from finger-picking to Swing-Jazz to Rock and Roll also plays the Banjitar and the lap steel guitar. While Schuman’s harmonica repertoire evolved out of Pre-War Blues and roots Randy Weinstein draws on Chicago Blues Jazz and World Music.

The small diatonic harmonica was popularized in Germany as a folk instrument, almost a toy. It was sold in massive quantities and was affordable to American Southerners, both African-American and European-American. “They pulled from it things it was never meant to do,” explains Schuman. “Bending a note is an accident of physics creating that glissando blue note. An instrument designed for one thing is used in a different way and a new music form is invented for it.” The harmonica pictured on the cover of the debut CD Bahamut is a real instrument from Schuman’s collection and offers a visual metaphor for the band.

Discography

Bahamut (Barbès Records/JARO, 2006)
Cicada (Barbès Records/JARO, 2011)
Hazmat Modine Live (JARO, 2014)
Extra-Deluxe-Supreme (JARO, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb, already enjoying success in Europe, is becoming a familiar face, and voice, on the U. S. acoustic folk-blues scene. His unique talent continues to draw critical acclaim around the world. Twice nominated for the W. C. Handy awards and winner of the “Best Newcomer” title in the British Blues awards, Bibb has been appropriately described as “discreetly awesome” and “a total original.” As his popularity escalates, earlier comparisons to legendary greats Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal are being replaced by quotes that speak to Bibb’s ability to “use standard blues ingredients to cook up something all his own.”

Born in 1951, Bibb is a native New Yorker with deep roots in American Blues and Folk tradition. He is the son of ‘6s folk and musical theatre singer and television personality, Leon Bibb. His uncle was world famous jazz pianist/composer, John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and singer/actor/activist Paul Robeson was his godfather. Surrounded by major musical figures of the day, the young Bibb was inspired and influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Earl Robinson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and many others.

Bibb got his first steel stringed guitar when he was seven. By junior high school, he was consumed by music. At age 16, Bibb’s father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his television show “Someone New.” Later years found Bibb playing guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969 at St. Mark’s Place in New York. He left for Paris at age 19, making his way playing in restaurants, traveling from Paris to Sweden, settling in Sweden in the ‘7s. He returned to New York for a brief 5-year stay in the ‘8’s, where he continued writing and opening for headliners such as The Persuasions, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Tania Maria and Etta James.

Bibb’s first signing was to BMG-Sweden as a writer, in the early ‘8s. He later signed to the independent Swedish label Opus 3, producing several albums; Spirit & The Blues and Good Stuff were recently released in the United States on EarthBeat!, helping to place Bibb more prominently in the international spotlight. Bibb went to London in 1996 at the invitation of the London Blues Festival. Since then, he has toured the world, enjoying success in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Sweden, Ireland and Germany, appearing on major television shows and radio programs. Bibb has performed at many major festivals including Glastonbury, The Barbican American Festival, The Guinness Blues Festival, Midfytns Festival, Cognac Blues Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Bull Durham Blues Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival and others. He has toured the United States and Canada on bills headlined by Robert Cray.

A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience–both musically and spiritually. His music, like his personality, is intimate, assured and passionate, drawing listeners into the moment more as participants than spectators. It is not uncommon for the audience to be left standing and wanting more.

Bibb’s rich and sensitive vocals and lyrics provide a perfect balance to his fine fingerpicking technique. Purveying a beautifully realized and deftly accomplished soulful and gospel-infused folk-blues, Bibb has no problem blending various genres effortlessly, melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle, contemporary sensibility.

Bibb continues to tour at festivals and notable venues throughout Europe and in the U. S. and Canada.

Eric is one of the new, young singers that has appeared on the scene that, much to my delight, has a great voice, is an excellent performer, and has a great knowledge about the roots of this music. I love him. He is highly regarded amidst a select group of young, new, black interpreters of this music.” Taj Mahal

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