Big Daddy Wilson was born less than 50 years ago in a small town called Edenton, North Carolina. The population of Edenton counts less than 6000, 55% African Americans, 25% below the poverty line. “We were very poor but I had a very beautiful childhood“, Wilson remembers. “Me and my sisters were raised by Mom and Grandma. We lived a simple life, we went to church every Sunday, school on weekdays. I also worked back then on the tobacco plantation and in the cotton fields, I was a real country boy.“ Wilson sang in church but he never thought about going on stage. “I was extremely shy.“ His guardians meant well for the fatherless boy and they often sent him to church also during the week. “That won´t hurt him, keeps little Wilson away from drugs and off the streets.“
Young Wilson quit school at 16, and sometime later joined the US Army. Being a poor black man in the south and living in a small town, jobs were scarce. After being stations in Germany, the young man became homesick. “I found out the quickest way to go back home was to see that you got married. They’ll allow you a vacation time about two weeks to go home to get married. Wilson convinced his officers of his impending wedding and returned Stateside, refusing to return to Germany. After six weeks his mom was so worried that she begged him to go back to the military. “And so I was back in Germany.“
A few years later Wilson met a German girl who became his wife. She is the reason for him staying and also the reason for a poem which became Wilson´s first song.
And then Wilson heard the blues for the first time. Back in Edenton he had listened to music only in church and from the local, country radio station. But now he went for the first time to a real blues concert. “I met the blues here in Germany. I didn’t know what the blues was before“ Big Daddy Wilson says. “It was here that I found a part of me that was missing for so long in my life.“ It did not take long and the shy guy who had written some poems started looking for melodies. He went on stage, jammed all over the German blues scene and made an impression with his warm and soulful voice. He began touring with bands and as a duo and even released a few records. “My sister came all the way to see me perform and she couldn’t believe it. No, that’s not my brother. It seems like all my shyness was gone – thanks to my music. “
Champion Jack Dupree, Louisiana Red, Eddie Boyd… many musicians who made Europe their home and brought the blues with them succeeded here better than in the U.S. Even Luther Allison lived in Europe for 14 years before his big break. And now there´s Big Daddy Wilson, an American singer and songwriter who found his home in northern Germany. But something is different regarding Big Daddy Wilson. When he came over from the U.S. there was no blues in his baggage. He initially discovered the blues here in Germany which is where he will begin his international career.
With his international solo debut on RUF Records Big Daddy Wilson is going to take one step further in his late career as a musician. For “Love Is The Key“ he recorded his own songs exclusively with a small band; taking it back to the roots, often reduced to acoustic instruments, but always full of soul. You can listen to his very first song here,“ Anna“ the song about his wife. Gospel is the foundation for “Keep Your Faith In Jah“, but this doesn’t keep the songwriter Wilson from praising the talents of a gypsy queen from New Orleans, “Jazzy Rose“. In “Hard Days Work“, Big Daddy uses monotone drones for hypnotic effects on the listener, while breezy off beats Jamaica-style let “Dreaming“ to swing along. Autobiographic aspects can be found elsewhere: “Ain´t No Slave“reminds us of the African-American history and at the same time makes us aware of Wilson’s grown confidence. His good friend Eric Bibb guests on two songs about Wilson’s roots ,”Country Boy” , “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”. He’s very proud of Bibb´s presence because “I’ve learnt so much from him,” says Wilson.
The fruits of this learning can be tasted on Big Daddy’s imminent European Tour. Does he dare to imagine that he could take this music all the way back to his roots in North Carolina?
“That’s a dream, but one that makes me nervous“ the Father of three laughs; it’s clear that his homesickness is gone – along with his shyness.
Blues/soul/r & b/pop singer Claudette King, a longtime Californian now living in Atlanta, is destined for stardom. The youngest daughter of ultimate blues master B. B. King, she’s quick to cite her father as her main inspiration.
The former San Francisco Bay Area native has had the life experiences to make lyrics mean something; she has a natural ease in shifting with the mood of each lyric. But most certainly, the power of Claudette’s enthusiasm for the splendid genre-blending music on her debut “We’re Onto Something” merits wide notice.
One of the premier, up-and-coming blues-and-more vocalists of our time, you can be sure there is much more to come from talented and dynamic Ms. King.
Inheriting her fathers gift for music, Claudette sang in glee clubs and the choir of Reverend Brown’s Baptist church growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“My inspiration is my dad”, says Claudette, who was also mindful of how her father was constantly on the international concert circuit as the tireless Ambassador of the Blues. Listening to the radio and her mothers collection of record albums, she soaked up the joyous singing of notables like Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, and Mahalia Jackson.
The late ’60’s was a particularly good time for B. B. King, whose star in the blues firmament first appeared in 1951 with the black-audience hit Three OClock Blues. A blues revival helmed by the Paul Butterfield band in the States and the Rolling Stones in England spurred white college students into investigating King’s vast talents.
The Mississippi-born guitarist who once worked in the cotton fields hit it big with his Top Twenty pop chart smash The “Thrill Is Gone”. His popularity increased with an appearance on televisions Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Not least, in his personal life, he celebrated the birth of a baby daughter, Claudette.
In her twenties and thirties, Claudette made occasional club and concert appearances around town. The most memorable shows were with her father, at the well-regarded Circle Star Theatre, on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose, and with Etta James.
She has a special fondness for the 1991 San Francisco Blues Festival, where she sang happy birthday to 66-year-young B. B. while alongside Boz Scaggs, Robert Cray, Bobby McFerrin, and other luminaries.
Claudette made a blues and country music album entitled “Whiskey Makes Me Sin”. As with so many other soul-blues singers past and present, Claudette stayed busy outside music with family obligations and decided the time was right to pursue her music career.
THE TIMES RIGHT
Onto Something, which collects tracks from that aforementioned post-festival session, features superior songs written for her by the world-class team of Dennis Walker and Alan Mirikitani. She is also fortunate to have the accompaniment of two groups of the leading blues musicians on the West Coast — the most recent session has guitarist Mirikitani, bassist Richard Cousins, drummer Lee Spath, and keyboards player Jim Pugh, while guitarist Bobby Murray led the band on the earlier record date.
“Claudette has her own voice, her own character, and her own style,” said Mirikitani. Album producer and mixer Steve Savage, who has worked with Robert Cray and Elvin Bishop, offered, “We know she has good genes. She’s very talented and cares about her music. She’s at an interesting place where she really loves the blues and embraces blues.”
Best New Artist Debut
Soul Blues Female Artist
Jimmy Haggard is an internationally acclaimed guitarist, singer and songwriter whose main thing is electric Blues. Jimmy travelled around the United States’ West Coast and Midwest, lived in Los Angeles California for over 20 years, and finally landed in Raleigh North Carolina, playing in honky tonks, dive bars, juke joints, roadhouses, grange halls, community halls and festivals along the way. Jimmy has played in a few bands during his travels: Dirt Road, Sweet Rat, Power, Dreamers, Mister B, Rush Street and Hot Bones. In addition to his current project, the Jimmy Haggard Band, some of his side projects include improvisational ensemble music (blues, soul and jazz), plus solo acoustic blues, folk and roots music.
Rhonda Robichaux taps into her SwampySultrySpicy New Orleans roots with a mix of blues, swing, samba, jazz, funk/rock classics and originals. Rhonda Robichaux Band won the 2012 Triangle Blues Challenge [Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill] and then went on to compete in the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. [Review from Raleigh Music Industry Association: http://www.raleighmusic.com/articles.asp?aid=5751#.UH3QZTc_jsJ.facebook ]
Her distinct vocals and innovative guitar, intriguing vamp on classics/standards, and soul-baring originals conjure up an atmosphere of smoky cool…. funkified jazz/blues/rock stylings enhance and drive the music experience ~ from slow and gritty to uptempo dance grooves.
Rhonda Robichaux, New Orleans native, re-located to the Triangle area in 2000. She has shared the stage with New Orleans artists Papa Grows Funk, George Porter, Jr., Charmaine Neville, as well as Will McFarlane, Cool John Ferguson, Harvey Dalton Arnold, Mel Melton, Shana K. Tucker, Brevan Hampden, Robert Griffin and Stuart Cole [of Squirrel Nut Zippers].
As a soloist as well as with her band ~ her music captivates with haunting intimacy ~ commanding, engaging ~ unmistakable and undeniable rawness.
Jason Damico and the New Blue perform original and cover music with the sole purpose of keeping REAL, organic blues and classic rock alive with a passion and positive message. Isaiah 42:6-7.
If you enjoy listening to the sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton then this band is a must see! Organized by child prodigy, Jason Damico in 2010 for the purpose of creating an avenue to introduce his original music to a live audience, its current members include: Clint Chesson (bass/back-up vocals), Kevin Boxell (drums/back-up vocals), Jason Damico (guitar/lead vocals) and occasional guest appearances by Jim Ferris (saxophone).
Voted Youth Artist of the Year by the Carolina Music Awards, Song of the Year semi-finalist winner and recipient of the Best Overall Musician Award from UNCW Music, Jason is a past member of the elite Jazz Force Band under the direction of John V Brown, Jr. and at fifteen years of age became the youngest member of the Duke University Jazz Ensemble. At Duke he had the privilege of performing with jazz greats such as Vincent Gardner (trombone), Ray Codrington (trumpet), Jason Marsalis (drums), Kevin Mahogany (vocals), Joe Chambers (drums) and Monty Alexander (piano).
Anthony Wilson co-anchors the Eyewitness News weekend morning newscasts (6 to 8 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 9 to 10 a.m. Sundays). He also reports weekday mornings for Eyewitness News and blogs for abc11.com.
He joined the ABC11 Eyewitness News team in 1993. Before that, he was a reporter and substitute anchor for three years at WXII in Winston-Salem. While there, he won a Best Feature award from theAssociated Press for “A Joyful Noise,” his series of reports on gospel music in North Carolina.
Anthony’s also worked as a reporter/producer for Florida Public Television. There, he covered the state legislature and filed a series of documentaries about the Miami riots, the “Official English” movement, the manufacture and marketing of assault weapons, homelessness in south Florida and other issues affecting the people living in that state.
He was the anchor/host for the National Public Radio weekly newsmagazine “Crossroads,” newswriter for all-news radio station WINS in New York City, and an electronic media producer for the national communications office of the Episcopal Church, also in New York. While there, he traveled to South Africa to cover the enthronement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, former broadcast vice-president of the Triangle Association of Black Journalists, and lead instructor of NABJ’s annual four-day short course for aspiring journalists at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC.
He’s also working to develop more minority journalists through his participation in the Unity: Journalists of Color mentor program.