The 22nd annual Lowcountry Blues Bash kicked off last week with a slew of blues-based artists playing in local venues. The performances continue this week, from Wed. Feb. 15 through Tues. Feb. 21.
Organizer Gary "Shrimp City Slim" Erwin has booked a variety of traditional blues, gospel, soul, funk, and jazz acts from all over the country for the festival. Most of the shows offer low ticket prices or free admission. Some of South Carolina's finest musicians and singers are making return trips to town to perform this week
For details and ticket information, visit bluesbash.com or call Erwin at (843) 762-9125. Listed below are some of the highlights of week two.
An acclaimed singer/guitarist, Paul Geremia strums and picks six- and 12-string acoustic guitars through dynamic sets of country blues, jazz, classic pop-rock, and more. A favorite among local blues fans, he's become a regular at the annual Blues Bash events. Erwin calls him a "master country bluesman," while Acoustic Guitar magazine calls Geremia "one of the best country blues finger-pickers ever." His first new album in seven years is titled Love My Stuff. Visit paulgeremia.org for more. (Charleston County Library, Wed. Feb. 15, 2 p.m.; Southend Brewery, Wed. Feb. 15, 9 p.m.)
Legendary singer, guitarist, and pianist Drink Small, the revered "Blues Doctor" from the midstate town of Bishopville, will boogie-woogie at the Blind Tiger during a solo set on Thursday, and he'll rock the Home Team BBQ in West Ashley with a full band called the Ass-Shakers on Friday. Small, 78, has been playing his Piedmont style of acoustic and electric blues since the 1950s. He's a recipient of the S.C. Folk Heritage Award and a member of the S.C. Hall of Fame. Small's latest album, Trying to Survive at 75, is a no-frills autobiography recorded "direct-to-disc" at the Jam Room in Columbia. It nicely captures Small's distinctive rasp and rumble. See myspace.com/drinksmallblues for more info. (Blind Tiger, Thurs. Feb. 16, 9 p.m.; Charleston County Library, Fri. Feb. 17, 2 p.m.; Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, West Ashley, Fri. Feb. 17, 10 p.m.)
Born in Camden, Miss. and based in Chicago, electric blues singer and guitarist John Primer first made a splash in the 1970s at Windy City blues club Theresa's. Muddy Waters' former sideman, Sammy Lawhorn, taught him to play slide around the time he joined Willie Dixon and the Chicago Blues All-Stars in 1979. Primer played in Waters' band and the Teardrops of Magic Slim before launching a solo career in the early 1990s. Erwin calls Primer's music "Chicago's blues at its best." Primer and Erwin share the stage at Mad River during an early afternoon show on Friday, and they hook back up during a blues cruise in the harbor on the Carolina Belle on Saturday evening. Check out johnprimerblues.com for more. (Mad River Bar & Grille, Fri. Feb. 17, 2 p.m.; Carolina Belle, Sat. Feb. 18, 5:30 p.m.)
Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm
The Mississippi boogie duo of drummer/singer Cedric Burnside and guitarist/vocalist Lightnin' Malcolm are popular veterans of the Blues Bash. Burnside is the grandson of legendary Hill Country singer/guitarist R.L. Burnside. He played with guitarist Kenny Brown and as a sideman with the North Mississippi Allstars before forming the Burnside Exploration with his cousin, Garry Burnside. Proficient on guitar, bass, and drums, Malcolm has played over the years with such Delta artists as Cedell Davis, R.L. Burnside, Hubert Sumlin, Jessie Mae Hemphill, T Model Ford, Junior Kimbrough, and others. The duo's latest disc is called 2 Man Wrecking Crew. Visit myspace.com/jukejointduo for more. (Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, Sullivan's Island, Sat. Feb. 18, 10 p.m.)
Big Bill Morganfield
William "Big Bill" Morganfield was born into the blues. The Atlanta-based singer/guitarist will forever be tagged as the son of McKinley Morganfield, better known as the legendary singer Muddy Waters. Morganfield's 1999 debut Rising Son — a collection produced by Muddy's guitarist, Bob Margolin — was warmly received by blues fans and critics. While his father and other great Southern and Chicago-based blues artists influenced Morganfield's music, his recent album, Born Lover, displays his own personal style without mimicking his father's music. Morganfield and his current touring band plan to play a mix of standards and early original material along with most of the tracks on Born Lover this Sunday. The venue will offer special seating and standing room for the show. Visit bigbillmorganfield.net for more. (Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, Sullivan's Island, Sun. Feb. 19, 9 p.m.)
A veteran guitarist and vocalist from Florida, Joey Gilmore's career in blues spans more than 40 years. Born in Ocala, Fla., in 1944, Gilmore settled in South Florida in the 1960s. He has earned acclaim through the years for his soulful mix of electric blues, gospel, and old-style R&B. These days, he incorporates new and old styles into his shows, performing a mix of originals and standards with energetic, old-school showmanship. See myspace.com/joeygilmorebluesband for more. (Southend Brewery, Mon, Feb. 20, 8 p.m.; Carolina Queen, Tues. Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m.)