Jimmy Duck Holmes, Phil Wiggins & Blues House Party
June 9 at 7:30pm at the Floyd Country Store
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, a native of Bentonia, Mississippi, is a leading practitioner of the local style of Delta blues associated with Bentonia. Learning directly from Henry Stuckey (the Bentonia musician who introduced that style of blues playing) and influenced by other blues masters from Bentonia—especially Skip James and Jack Owens—Holmes sings his own compositions as well as classic blues from the local repertoire, and he accompanies his performances on acoustic guitar tuned to open D minor or open E minor, yielding a particularly mournful, haunting sound. Holmes’ family tree was deeply rooted in the blues. Holmes now operates the Blue Front Café, the oldest juke joint in Mississippi which was started by his parents in 1948. In 1972 Holmes’ mother Mary started the Bentonia Blues Festival, which each year draws thousands of blues fans to Bentonia. While Holmes was recorded by folklorists Alan Lomax and David Evans in the 1970s, his first album, entitled Back to Bentonia, was released in 2006. He has subsequently released several other albums and has been featured in such documentary films as I Am the Blues (2016).
Phil Wiggins and Blues House Party, led by blues harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins, perpetuates the Piedmont style of blues music and dance. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Wiggins has performed alongside a who’s who of blues performers including John Cephas, Sunnyland Slim, and Robert Belfour. Wiggin’s harmonica style includes complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs. With House Party he is joined by Rick Franklin (guitar and vocals), Marcus Moore (fiddle) and Junious Brickhouse (dance). In 2017, Wiggins received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, America’s highest award for traditional artists.