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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2010 | John MacElwee | Executive Director
[email protected] | 360.385.3102 x111
2010 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival Presented by Centrum
Features David Bromberg, Down-Home Country BluesFest and more
Port Townsend, WA Under the direction of Artistic Director Corey Harris, Centrum presents the 19 th
Annual Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival August 4 – 7 which is highlighted by a performance from
multi-instrument virtuoso David Bromberg with his quartet (Friday, August 6th, 7:30 PM) and the DownHome Country BluesFest (Saturday, August 7th, 1:30 PM) featuring a variety of acoustic blues styles. In
addition to these performances at McCurdy Pavilion on the grounds of Fort Worden State Park, the
festival again features more than 20 nationally-acclaimed acoustic blues artists in intimate club
performances throughout the downtown and uptown districts of the Victorian seaport community. The
festival also includes a free noon-time performance on Friday, August 6th on lawn of the Fort Worden
Commons and a first-ever Blues children’s performance featuring Lightnin’ Wells one hour earlier at the
Fort Worden Chapel. The Festival opens with an All-Star Blues Dance at Littlefield Green, adjacent to
McCurdy Pavilion, on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM. Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival tickets
are available through www.centrum.org or by calling 1-800-746-1982.
David Bromberg
Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, NY, Bromberg began studying guitar-playing when
he was 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The call of the
Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where
he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and
teacher, the acoustic blues master Reverend Gary Davis.
Bromberg’s sensitive and versatile approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket
houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and lots of employment as a backing musician for Tom
Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist
for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New
Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon. In
addition to guitar, Bromberg is accomplished on the violin, Dobro, and mandolin.
An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a
solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut not
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only included the mock-anguished “Suffer to Sing the Blues,” a Bromberg original that became an FM
radio staple, but also “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison.
In the 80s, Bromberg took a break from performing and studied violin making, and now has his own shop
in Wilmington, Delaware where he resides. Returning to the concert circuit, he frequently performs in a
duo-setting with former Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen where they cover a wide range of
material, including Piedmont Blues. In addition Bromberg performs solo, with his quartet and with his big
band, which enjoyed enormous popularity in the 70s. Bromberg released his first new recording since
1990 with Try Me One More Time in 2007 which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Opening the Friday evening show will be Piedmont master and Festival veteran Lightnin’ Wells, himself a
mutli-instrumentalist on guitar, harmonica and ukulele as well as being an engaging singer. In addition to
his own talents, Wells has helped to preserve the North Carolina Blues tradition by producing the first
commercial recordings of Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton and George Higgs. He has traveled and
performed extensively with these musicians and has documented their backgrounds and musical histories
for future generations.
Tickets for David Bromberg and Lightin’ Wells range from $20 to $39. Children (under 18) are free.
Down-Home Country BluesFest
Down Home Country BluesFest, a quadruple bill, features The Ebony Hillbillies, one of the country's last
black string bands; guitarist / mandolinist Steve James bringing roots and blues from Texas; Nat Reese, a
former coal miner and musical partner of the late Howard Armstrong in a performance with Artistic
Director emeritus and harmonica player Phil Wiggins, and the guitar / piano prodigy Jerron Paxton with a
host of Blues Festival friends.
As one of the last black string bands in the U.S.—and the only one currently based in NYC—the Hillbillies
keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of all
uniquely American music—jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country. The band led by
Henrique Prince (fiddle, vocals) and Norris Bennett (banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, vocals) also
features William “Salty Bill” Salter on acoustic bass, Dave Gibson on percussion, and Gloria Gassaway
on vocals. Salter was the co-writer of popular songs “Where is the Love?,” performed by Donny Hathaway
and Roberta Flack and Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us.” In addition to performing
occasionally on street corners or at subway stations, the Ebony Hillbillies have performed at Carnegie
Hall, Symphony Space and, most recently, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, North Carolina.
A Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival veteran, James plays a National steel guitar, mandolin, and the
banjo, having become fixated, as an adolescent, on the blues. As a teenager in New York City, James
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listened to his father's record collection, which included recordings from Lead Belly, Josh White, and
Meade "Lux" Lewis. Following relocation to Tennessee, he met both Sam McGee and Furry Lewis. In
1977, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and played along with various musicians including Bo Diddley,
John P. Hammond and Dave Van Ronk. James' earliest recordings were Two Track Mind (1993),
American Primitive (1994), and Art & Grit (1996). His most recent recording Greyghoste, was released on
the Dream Guitar label. He continues to tour around the world and incorporates teaching sessions on
guitar playing techniques.
Nathaniel H. "Nat" Reese, who is making his PT Acoustic Blue Festival debut was born in 1924 in Salem,
Virginia, moving to Itmann, Wyoming County, in 1928. He now lives in Princeton, Mercer County. Nat
grew up in the coal camps, surrounded by gospel, swing, and blues music. A former coal miner himself,
Nat later turned to music as a profession, plying his skill as a guitarist and singer in a wide array of
musical styles. In 1939, Nat first met and performed with multi-instrumentalist Howard Armstrong, who
was traveling through and playing the coal camp circuit from his home in Tennessee. The duo was to
perform together with increasing regularity over the next sixty-five years until Armstrong’s death in 2003.
Nat joins with former PT Acoustic Blues Artistic Director and harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins, known
worldwide for Cephas & Wiggins, his duo with late John Cephas, which was considered the leading
exponent of traditional Piedmont blues. The duo won several W.C. Handy Awards.
Closing the Down-Home Country Blues-Fest, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton joins with a host of festival friends
to perform a wide range of blues styles. A native of the Watts area of Los Angeles, Paxton performs
guitar, banjo and piano and has appeared with Dom Flemmons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, National
Heritage Award winner John Dee Holeman, and was recently featured at the Brooklyn Folk Festival.
Paxton is known for his huge repertoire of prewar blues and rags.
Tickets for the Down-Home Country Blues-Fest range from $18 to $33. Children (under 18) are free,
Club Performances
As is the tradition, faculty-artists from the Acoustic Blues workshop will be performing in seven clubs in
Port Townsend on Friday and Saturday, August 6th and 7th from 9 PM to midnight including The
Upstage, the Public House, Castle Key Lounge, the Uptown Pub, Undertown, the Boiler Room and
Sirens. An evening club pass is $20.
Performers include Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Daryl Davis, The Ebony Hillbillies
Corey Harris, Hook Herrera with Russell Rodriguez, Gerry Hundt, Steve James, Rev. Robert B. Jones
“Washboard Chaz” Leary, Jerron Paxton, Ben Payton, Nat Reese, Del Rey, George Rezendes, Jeffrey
Scott, Suzy Thompson, Lightnin’ Wells, and Phil Wiggins.
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Concert for Kids
For the second time this summer, Centrum will present a concert for young people, ages 3 and up, at the
Fort Worden Chapel featuring Lightnin’ Wells who will perform selections from his 2008 CD “Jump Little
Children: Old Songs for Young Folks” on Friday, August 6th at 11:00 AM. With the venue utilized so kids
can scoot in close to the music, the concert is sure to feature hits from the album including the Freight
Train Boogie and C-H-I-C-K-E-N spells chicken. Tickets are $5 for adults, kids (under 18) are free.
Free Fridays at the Fort
Based in Port Townsend, the popular Crow Quill Night Owls, acclaimed for their recent performance at
Seattle’s Folk Life Festival, perform as part of Centrum’s Free Fridays at the Fort series on the lawn of the
Fort Worden Commons on Friday, August 6 at noon. Patrons are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs
to sit on. Food and beverages will be for sale in the Fort Worden Commons. Admission is free.
All Star Blue Dance
Continuing the popular tradition from last year, the Acoustic Blues Festival officially opens with an All Star
Blues Dance outdoors on Littlefield Green on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM featuring artist faculty
from the Acoustic Blues workshop. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, and beer and
wine is available for purchase in Centrum’s Beer garden. Tickets for the Blues dance are $15. Children
(under 18) are free.
Sponsors
Major support for Centrum’s 2010 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival comes from Sage Arts.
Additional support is provided by the Washington State Arts Commission and the Kirlin Charitable
Foundation with promotional support from KPLU 88.5 FM. David Bromberg’s appearance is made
possible by the Richard and Anne Schneider Director’s Creative Fund.
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Schedule
PORT TOWNSEND ACOUSTIC BLUES FESTIVAL
Wednesday, Aug 4
All-Star Blues Dance
Littlefield Green | 7:30 pm
Workshop Faculty All Stars
Friday, Aug 6
Concert for Kids (ages 3 and up)
Fort Worden Chapel | 11am
Lightnin’ Wells
Old Songs for Young Folks
Free Fridays at the Fort
Lawn next to Fort Worden Commons | 12 noon
The Crow Quill Night Owls
David Bromberg
McCurdy Pavilion | 7:30pm
David Bromberg Quartet
Lightnin’ Wells
Blues in the Clubs
9pm – 12 midnight
The Boiler Room
711 Water Street
(free admission)
Jerron Paxton (9 pm)
George Rezendes (10 pm)
Ben Payton (11 pm)
Castle Key
7th and Sheridan
Annieville Blues (9 pm)
Daryl Davis (10 pm)
Jerron and Washboard Chas (11 pm)
The Public House
1038 Water Street
Terry Bean (9 pm)
Terry Bean (10 pm)
Nat Reese and Sunpie Barnes (11 pm)
Sirens
823 Water Street
Sunpie Barnes and Washborad Chas (9 pm)
The Ebony Hillbillies (10 pm)
The Ebony Hillbillies (11 pm)
The Upstage
923 Washington Street
Rev. Robert Jones and Phil Wiggins (9 pm)
Jeffrey Scott (10 pm)
Jeffrey Scott and Phil Wiggins (11 pm)
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Khu Larb Thai
225 Adams Street
Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (9 pm)
Del Rey and Suzy Thompson (10 pm)
Del Rey and Gerry Hundt (11 pm)
Undertown
211 Taylor Street
Steve James (9 pm)
Lightnin' Wells (10 pm)
Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (11 pm)
Saturday, Aug 7
Down-Home Country BluesFest
McCurdy Pavilion | 1:30 pm
The Ebony Hillbillies
Steve James
Nat Reese and Phil Wiggins
The Jerron Paxton Band
Blues in the Clubs
9pm – 12 midnight
The Boiler Room
711 Water Street
(free admission)
Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (9 pm)
Steve James (10 pm)
Jeffrey Scott (11 pm)
Castle Key
7th and Sheridan
Ben Payton (9 pm)
Annieville Blues (10 pm)
Daryl Davis (11 pm)
The Public House
1038 Water Street
George Rezendes (9 pm)
Phil Wiggins and Lightnin' Wells (10 pm)
Faculty Jam led by Corey Harris (11 pm)
Sirens
823 Water Street
Jerron Paxton (9 pm)
Crow Quill Night Owls (10 pm)
Rev. Robert Jones (11 pm)
The Upstage
225 Adams Street
Nat Reese (9 pm)
Rev. Robert Jones (10 pm)
The Ebony Hillbillies (11 pm)
Khu Larb Thai
225 Adams Street
Phil Wiggins (9 pm)
Sunpie Barnes (10 pm)
Terry Bean (11 pm)
Undertown
211 Taylor Street
Rev. Robert Jones (9 pm)
Gerry Hundt (10 pm)
Suzy Thompson and Lightnin' Wells (11 pm)
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Biographies
Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes (New Orleans, LA) is a true renaissance man, having taken his accordion
to more than 35 countries, playing a signature style of blues, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean and AfroLouisiana music. With his group, the Louisiana Sunspots, Sunpie has played festivals and concerts as far
away as Rovaniemi, Finland, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, France and Martinique. He’s also a veteran park
ranger with the U.S. National Park Service currently working at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
and is second chief of the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, one of the oldest existing carnival groups in
New Orleans, and a member of the Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
Terry “Harmonica” Bean (Pontotoc, MS) A lifelong resident of Pontotoc, Miss., Terry first
heard downhome blues in his childhood home. His father, Eddie Bean, a native of Bruce, Miss.,
sang and played blues guitar and, prior to Terry’s birth, traveled with an electric blues band. For many
years, informal music and gambling gatherings were hosted at the family’s house on “Bean Hill” in west
Pontotoc. Terry, one of 24 children, was enlisted to pick cotton in the surrounding fields. At the same
time, the youngster took up guitar and harmonica, and eventually was featured at the family’s gatherings
and before long, taken to play at other house parties, as well. After an injury curtailed his career
in professional baseball, Terry returned to music. He played with veteran bluesmen, including
“T-Model” Ford, and began performing on his own in the late 1980s as a one-man band, playing
guitar and harmonica, and “foot stomping.” Terry frequently plays clubs and has performed at many
blues festivals in the United States and Europe, most recently returning from a tour in Italy.
Born in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1960, Annieville Blues began her training with traditional classical music
but changed direction when she saw Little Richard on American Bandstand. Her attraction and
inspiration to learn more about boogie woogie, jazz and blues piano styles were sparked by
collecting old recordings of legendary pianists including Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis,
Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Otis Spann, and Fats Domino. Her first recording was in 1977
with Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band. In 1982, she received her bachelor’s degree from
Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle. During a 30-year music career, Annieville has shared
the stage with renowned performers including Pinetop Perkins, Barrelhouse Chuck, Big Joe
Duskin, Leon Blue, Henry Butler, Mr. B, Bob Seeley, Cash McCall and Cephas & Wiggins.
Washboard Chaz Leary (New Orleans, LA) plays congas, hand percussion and drums, but in truth he is
one of the world’s only professional washboard players. Though comfortable in all forms of our diverse
American musical heritage, Washboard Chaz Leary has achieved dominance and international
recognition in acoustic country blues. He has played professionally with an impressive array of worldclass musicians, both on the stage and in the recording studio.His reputation as a consummate musician
and performer, along with a delightful stage presence, has brought him countless excellent reviews and
wide popularity. Chaz calls New Orleans home, where he plays with the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Tin
Men, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the Iguanas, and a host of other musicians from the region.
Daryl Davis (Washington, DC) was born in Maryland, and earned his Bachelor of Music
degree from Howard University, where he was a member of the Howard University Choir and Jazz Vocal
Ensemble. In addition to being a vocalist, guitarist, composer, and keyboardist, Daryl is a professional
actor and author. In 1985, 72 year-old Pinetop Perkins, one of the founding fathers of boogie woogie and
considered to be one of the greatest blues and boogie pianists, selected 27-year-old Daryl Davis to
succeed him in the piano and vocal slot of the Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band. Johnnie Johnson,
Chuck Berry’s original pianist, has praised Daryl’s ability to master with authenticity, a style that was
popular 30 years before he was born. As a performer, Daryl Davis has worked with countless greats such
as Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, The Coasters, Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band, and Bo Diddley. He
has served as Chuck Berry’s musical director and is a long-standing regular player, in Chuck Berry’s
current band. He was the featured pianist on Cephas & Wiggins’ 1992 Grammy Award-winning album,
“Flip Flop and Fly.”
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Corey Harris (Charlottesville, VA), in his second year as the artistic director of The Port Townsend
Acoustic Blues Festival, has been credited along with Keb’ Mo’ and Alvin Youngblood Hart for raising the
musical flag of acoustic guitar blues revival beginning in the mid-1990s. Born in Denver,Colo., Harris
graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1991, and in his early 20s received a Thomas J.
Watson Fellowship for language studies in Cameroon, before taking a teaching post with Teach for
America in Napoleonville, Louisiana. On his debut album “Between Midnight and Day” released in
1995, he investigated the repertoire of Charlie Patton, Booker White, Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters and
Sleepy John Estes; then in 2002, collaborated with Ali Farka Toure on his album, “Mississippi to Mali”
fusing blues and Toure’s music from northern Mali. In 2003, Harris was featured in Martin Scorcese’s
episode of the PBS series “The Blues,” the same year he contributed to the Northern Blues release,
“Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash.” Harris has lived and traveled widely in West Africa,
throughout Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia. In 2007, Harris was named a MacArthur Fellow.
The Ebony Hillbillies (New York, NY) include Henrique Prince (fiddle), Norris Bennett (banjo), David
Gibson (washboard and percussion), and William Salter (bass). They provide a great introduction to a
largely forgotten African American cultural legacy. Like many New York performers, the Hillbillies can be
found doing their thing for tips in subway stations. Prince, the lead Billie, hails from a family of musicians
from St. Thomas, growing up around all kinds of music, from instrumental dance to traditional Caribbean,
Hawaiian and country styles. In his preteens, he taught himself to shuffle on the violin, his favorite
instrument. His thoughts on the African roots of old-time music: “Africans, particularly West Africans, have
had string bands for centuries—the ekonting, is the banjo’s ancestor. The ekonting players were said to
have been captured and made to perform on the decks of slave ships to allow the (enslaved Africans) to
get enough exercise to survive the Middle Passage. Left off in America, those players became the first
black fiddlers and made the earliest gourd banjos. Somewhere in the mountains of Appalachia,
knowledge of the banjo got transferred to other groups.”
Hook Herrera (San Jose, CA) brings a pancultural appreciation of the blues to Port Townsend. A gifted
harmonica and guitar player, Hook’s family roots span Italy, Mexico and pre-colonized America. In an
attempt to illustrate the Mexican-American influence on blues music, Hook will be appearing at the festival
with Russell Rodríguez, an accomplished musician and dancer specializing in performance styles of
huasteca, jarocho, mariachi, and other traditional music forms of Mexico. He has performed at various
folk festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, instructed at Mariachi Festivals
throughout the U.S. Southwest, and worked in San José and Los Angeles, Calif., Austin, Texas,
Washington, DC, Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico, and San Juan, Puerto Rico as a professional
musician performing in all types of venues. Herrera has also shared the stage with Junior Wells,
Hollywood Fats, as well as the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule.
Gerry Hundt (Chesterton, IN) played Chicago Blues in taverns before he was allowed to drink in them.
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Illinois he has since lived in Vermont, New York City, Colorado, and
Chicago. In Denver, he worked, toured, and recorded with the likes of John-Alex Mason, Ronnie Shellist,
and The Clam Daddys. For the last five years Hundt has toured the United States and Europe relentlessly
as a member of Chicago’s Nick Moss & The Flip-Tops, filling the role of “utility man,” playing bass, guitar,
harmonica, and, of course, mandolin. On the strength of his critically acclaimed Blue Bella Records
CD,“Since Way Back,” Gerry was nominated for Blues Music Awards in 2008, 2009, & 2010 for Best
Instrumentalist. Hundt now resides in northwest Indiana, where SteadyGroove – the One Man, Chicago
Blues Band – consistently draws fans new and old to deep Chicago Blues.
Steve James (Austin, TX) Guitar goniff, mandolin maven and roots/ blues road veteran Steve James
returns to the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues festival for the 15th time. Besides his many international tour
dates and critically hailed recordings, Steve is known to fans of “the real” from his appearances on NPR
Morning Edition, A Prairie Home Companion and many other syndicated broadcasts. Born in New York
City to a musical family, James was bitten by the bluesbug early on, and after seeing Muddy Waters and
Mississippi John Hurt, he decided to make music his life. In the early 1970s he migrated to Bristol, Tenn.
(“bothering old people and playing with fiddlers,”) then on to Memphis (where he played with Lewis,
Bukka White, and Lum Guffin,) and finally Texas in 1977. During this time, James became acquainted
with the classic music and many of the great musicians of the American South. As a touring musician and
recording artist, Steve is a font of historical knowledge, an engaging performer and a talented teacher.
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Rev. Robert B. Jones (Detroit, MI) has more than20 years of experience as a performer, musician,
storyteller, radio producer/host and music educator. He has opened for and played with some of the
finest musicians in the world, including BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Pinetop Perkins, Willie Dixon, John
Hammond, Keb’ Mo’, Howard Armstrong, and many more. Still, Robert considers his greatest honor to be
his call to the gospel of ministry. Born in Detroit, of a father from West Pointe, Miss. and a mother from
Conecuh County, Ala., Robert grew up in a very Southern household. By age 17, Jones had already
amassed a record collection of early blues and begun to teach himself guitar and harmonica. Among his
accomplishments is the development of an educational program called Blues For Schools, which has
taken him into classrooms all over the country.
Ben Payton (Jackson, MS) has a voice that resonates with a passion for life and accompanying guitar
skills that evoke the tradition of the original Delta blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson,
Charley Patton, and Son House. Born in Coila, Miss., in the hill country just east of the Delta, Payton’s
early musical influences included his grandmother Mabel Johnson’s gospel piano playing and his Uncle
Joe Birch’s blues guitar. When in his mid-teens, Payton and his family moved to Chicago, where he soon
became active in the city’s blues scene. Payton worked regularly with Bobby Rush and Joe Evans and
the Supersonics, who backed many prominent artists as the house band at clubs including Peyton Place,
the Green Bunny, and High Chaparral. He also played in R&B bands, and has worked with artists Eddie
Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Junior Wells, Fenton Robinson, Little Mack Simmons, Barkin’ Bill Smith,
Taildragger, Bobby King, Big Moose Walker, and Muddy Waters Jr. This is his first trip to Port Townsend.
Jerron Paxton (Los Angeles, CA) plays guitar, banjo, piano, harmonica, and washboard. While there are
few young African American musicians learning country blues in the communities from which it arose,
there is a definite increase in younger black musicians learning and playing blues in much the same way
that young white people did forty years ago – by listening to recordings and personally experimenting on
their instrument. Jerron Paxton is a supreme example of this – a young man from Watts with a huge
repertoire of prewar blues and rags, and an uncanny ability to channel the spirit of pre-war guitar and
piano blues music.
Nathaniel Hawthorne “Nat” Reese (Princeton, WV) was born in 1924 in Salem, Va., to Thomas Walker
Reese and Rosa Sylvester Caroline Wilson Reese both of whom were originally from Alabama. The
family, moved to Itman, Wyoming County, W. Va. in 1928 where plenty of money was to be made in the
coalfields, a visiting preacher advised. Thomas took a job at the Virginia Railroad shop. Both parents were
musical, and Mr. Reese recalls learning “Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad” at his mother’s knee. When he
began to show musical talent on his father’s guitar, his father made time payments to buy him a Martin
Tiple, a 12-string instrument of Argentine origin popular at the time. Surrounded by gospel, swing, and
blues music, it was 1939, when he first met and performed with multi-instrumentalist Howard Armstrong,
who was traveling through and playing the coal camp circuit from his home in Tennessee. The duo was to
perform together with increasing regularity over the next 65 years until Armstrong’s death in 2003.
Del Rey (Seattle, WA) is a Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival favorite, who quite simply is one of the
finest players of the guitar and ukulele active today. Her bass lines are sublime; the melodies she puts
against them leave musicians asking the question, “How did she do that?” Del Rey started playing
classical guitar when she was 4 and as a teenager, met bluesman Sam Chatmon who inspired her to
become a blues queen. Her guitar playing combines country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly
boogie through the sensibility of an autodidact trailerpark esthete. Her live show is full of complex grooves
and sly humor. Del Rey plays concerts worldwide and also presents a concert/lecture on women
musicians called Women in American Music. She collaborates and tours frequently with Austin guitarist
Steve James and she plays ukulele with Ukeshack. She is featured on Maria Muldaur’s “Sweet Lovin’ Old
Soul.”
George Rezendes (Port Townsend, WA) has been playing country blues, ragtime, folk and roots rock
guitar since 1970. At age 14, a friend brought him recordings of John Hurt, Blind Blake, and Leadbelly,
and Rezendes discovered the music that would be his foundation as a musician for the rest of his life.
Interested in many styles of music, he filters everything he plays through the rhythms and syncopations
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that he learned from these masters. The former owner of the local music store, Crossroads Music,
Rezendes has been a long-time champion of the local music scene, most recently, laying down tracks at
his “tool shed” recording studio when he’s not performing. Rezendes is known as a world-class fingerstyle guitarist and has a long career in the music industry having worked previously at Guild guitars. He is
also a master guitar builder and luthier.
Jeffrey Scott (Virginia) is a Piedmont blues musician and a farmer from Culpeper County, Va., and
nephew of the late, legendary blues artist John Jackson. He has been a featured performer at many
events and festivals, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Kennedy Center, Blue Ridge Folklife
Festival and the DC Blues Society Festival. Accompanying his vocals with Piedmont style guitar and oldtime banjo playing, Scott draws on the musical sources and community heritage of the Blue Ridge
Mountains region, as well as many of the songs, stories, and sayings of his famous uncle. The music he
plays ranges from blues to gospel to country dance tunes. Mr. Scott makes his first visit to the Port
Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival this year.
Suzy Thompson (Berkeley, CA) is one of the rare musicians today who has mastered the blues violin,
following in the footsteps of Lonnie Chatmon, Clifford Hayes and Eddie Anthony. A powerful blues singer
in the styles of Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith, she is also unique in her ability to fiddle and sing at
the same time. In 2003, after 30 years as a working musician, Suzy Thompson released her first solo
CD, “No Mockingbird” which features blues songs and old-time fiddle rags backed on the album by Maria
Muldaur, Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, and Mike Seeger. Her following CD, “Stop & Listen”, released by
Arhoolie Records in 2005, is a live concert recording with Del Rey, longtime musical partner and
renowned flatpicker Eric Thompson, and the Thompson String Ticklers. Thompson has been a leading
force in many influential roots music groups, including the California Cajun, the Blue Flame String Band
(with Kate Brislin and Alan Senauke), Klezmorim (who started the klezmer music revival in the 1970s), the
all-woman Any Old Time String Band (featured on the Grammy-winning Arhoolie box set), and most
recently, the Bluegrass Intentions (with banjo ace Bill Evans). Suzy has just been appointed Artistic
Director of Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.
Lightnin’ Wells (Fountain, NC) as a guitar, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin and banjo player, breathes new
life into the vintage tunes of the 1920s. He learned to play harmonica as a young child and then taught
himself to play the guitar while developing a strong interest in traditional music. By the early 1970s he was
performing his own brand of acoustic blues. He produced the first commercial recordings of the North
Carolina blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton and George Higgs as he traveled and
performed extensively with them, documenting their backgrounds and musical histories for future
generations. A life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the Piedmont blues tradition
which once thrived in the Carolinas, Lightnin’ paid particular attention to such artists as Blind Boy Fuller,
the Rev. Gary Davis and Elizabeth Cotton – deceased musicians whose influence seems only to grow
with time. A veteran recording artist, in 2008 Lightnin’ released “Jump Little Children: Old Songs for Young
Folks” designed with the younger listener in mind.
Phil Wiggins (Takoma Park, MD), born in 1954, was attracted to the blues harp as a young man and
began his musical career with some of Washington D.C.’s leading blues artists, including Archie Edwards
and John Jackson. He attributes his style to his years spent accompanying slide guitarist and gospel
singer Flora Molton, and an apprenticeship with Mother Scott (a contemporary of Bessie Smith). Phil’s
harmonica sound developed from listening to piano and horn players, as well as to the music of Sonny
Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Junior Wells. He met John Cephas in
1976 and a year later the duo Cephas & Wiggins was born. As a duo, Cephas & Wiggins were recognized
as the leading exponents of traditional Piedmont blues. They recorded their first domestic album in 1987,
“Dog Days of August,” and it quickly won a W.C. Handy Award (the Grammy of the blues community) for
“Best Traditional Blues Album Of The Year.” They also took home the Handy Award for “Blues
Entertainers of the Year.” Often called the Ambassadors of The Blues, Cephas & Wiggins played together
for 34 years bringing Piedmont blues to audiences all over the world. Wiggins served as Centrum’s first
Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival.
CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 11
Centrum, in partnership with Fort Worden State Park, is a gathering place for artists and creative thinkers,
from all cultures and in all phases of their development; for students of all ages and backgrounds; and for
audiences seeking extraordinary cultural enrichment. Centrum promotes creative experiences that
change lives.
Fort Worden State Park
Perched on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, and located in the Victorian seaport and arts
community of Port Townsend, Fort Worden State Park—a turn-of-the-century army base—offers an
unmatched combination of natural beauty and historic interest. Acres of saltwater beaches, wooded hills,
and open fields are framed by stunning vistas of the Olympic and Cascade ranges, the Strait of Juan de
Fuca, and the fir-shrouded islands that extend northwards into Canada. Renovated Fort buildings—
including classrooms, cabins, dormitories, and performance and studio spaces—serve as a place to relax,
take new risks, recharge, and then return to the world renewed, perhaps even transformed, by the
experience of this community and retreat destination.
Port Townsend, located two hours northwest of Seattle (including a 35-minute ferry ride), has long been
home to writers, musicians, artists, and artisans. The historic downtown features a broad array of unique
shops; uptown contains some of the best-preserved Victorian mansions in the country, many of which
serve as bed & breakfasts. The combined energy of the arts, marine trades, and history make Port
Townsend an inviting getaway.
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