George Kilby Jr. & Phil Wiggins Combo featuring Sherman Holmesadvance sale
Ticket Price: $24.50 / $29.50 day of show
with special guest James Supra
Phil Wiggins was half of the internationally acclaimed “Cephas and Wiggins” for 35 years. George Kilby Jr. worked for 20 years with the legendary pianist Pinetop Perkins of Muddy Waters band. Not long after Pinetop and John Cephas passed away, Phil and George met and soon recorded Kilby’s classic You Never See the Hand Throw the Stone. Their partnership includes countless US and European tours and festivals, songwriting collaboration, and a brand new album.
The legendary Sherman Holmes, a guest on George and Phil’s new album, is one of the blues/gospel/soul icons of our time. His lifetime of work with The Holmes Brothers is an unparalleled achievement. To top that, Sherman also has a new album featuring bluegrass, gospel, and his gritty soulful vocals.
With two special guests: 17 year-old Rosie Kilby is a rising star in both the acting world and the music world, flooring audiences wherever she goes. Lehigh Valley harmonica legend James Supra opens the show with his dynamic and powerful performance compacted into the acoustic format of the evening.
George Kilby Jr. was born in Alabama; and the sounds of the South have never left him. Roots-Rock or Americana fit well enough, and his band has a sound all its own. Along with great songwriting, Kilby’s unique approach to the blues features unconventional instrumentation via accordion, mandolin, baritone sax. Added to that are influences from country music. George’s 20 years of playing with blues legend Pinetop Perkins show in his repertoire. In a review of his recent CD, Elmore Magazine says: “Naturally this disc offers solid blues but [the band sounds like] five different bands that played a honky-tonk roadhouse on successive nights.” Kilby’s recent collaborations with members of the Jamgrass phenomenon Railroad Earth add to the depth of his sound. His honors include a WC Handy Blues Album of the year with Pinetop Perkins. He has four albums as a solo artist.
Visit George’s website: www.georgekilbyjr.com/topfrog/
Connect to SoundCloud and listen to the new album by George Kilby Jr and Phil Wiggins, featuring Sherman Holmes, titled Walk To The Water: soundcloud.com/user-179059653
More about Phil Wiggins:
Phil Wiggins, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two-time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States.
The NEA National Heritage Fellowship has been bestowed on some of the greatest luminaries in traditional and folk music. In the traditional blues genre, past winners include some of the most important figures in blues history: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Elizabeth Cotton, Clifton Chenier, Honeyboy Edwards, Brownie McGhee, Mavis Staples and her father Pops Staples, and many more.
Phil Wiggins is a versatile traditional harmonica player, continuing the Piedmont blues tradition, a gentle and melodic blues style of the mid-Atlantic region. He plays the diatonic ten-hole harmonica in the country blues style, cupping both hands around the instrument and playing acoustically. His sound is not shaped by the gear, the microphone or amplifier when performing on stage; instead by his complex syncopated patterns, breath-control and rhythm, stylistic virtuosity and fiery solo runs.
By the time Phil graduated from high school in 1973, D.C. blues elders John Jackson, John Cephas and Archie Edwards had embraced him. He joined the Barrelhouse Rockers, a band fronted by pianist and singer Wilbert “Big Chief” Ellis, where John Cephas played guitar. They toured regionally until Ellis retired in 1977, when John Cephas invited him to join in the duo ‘Cephas & Wiggins’.
With John Cephas as guitarist and primary singer, the duo performed together for 32 years as internationally renowned stars of the country blues, and a staple on blues radio, ever present on the concert and festival circuit – all with the help of National Council for Traditional Arts director Joe Wilson. Cephas & Wiggins played Carnegie Hall, Royal Prince Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House, as well as small venues worldwide, touring every continent except Antarctica. They recorded more than a dozen critically acclaimed albums, including on Flying Fish and Alligator Records, winning the prestigious W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1984 for Best Traditional Album of the Year and in 1987 as Entertainers of the Year.
Phil Wiggins as well as Cephas & Wiggins have been featured in major music magazines, including on the cover of Living Blues, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more. University of Maryland professor, author, blues historian and producer Dr. Barry Lee Pearson has released numerous Cephas & Wiggins tracks on his Smithsonian Folkways album collections.
Since the 2009 death of John Cephas, Phil has performed with numerous musicians including Corey Harris, Sherman Holmes, the Rev. John Wilkins, and others. He fronts the acoustic swing/roots/blues ensemble, the Chesapeake Sheiks, and is actively engaged in reuniting the Piedmont blues with its origins of African American buck and tap dancing.
More about Sherman Holmes:
Sherman Holmes’ solo debut The Richmond Sessions can’t help being a milestone: it’s the esteemed singer and bassist’s first recording since the passing of his brother and musical partners in the Holmes Brothers, Wendell Holmes and Popsy Dixon, both in 2015. But his solo debut, dedicated to the memories of Wendell and Popsy, is no somber affair. The blend of bluegrass, gritty rock ‘n’ roll, and joyful gospel will be familiar to Holmes Brothers fans. And with some of his strongest vocals to date, the album demonstrates that Sherman is still an artist in his prime.
Long beloved in the roots music world and beyond, the Holmes Brothers formed as a group in 1979, though the members had all been playing for decades by then. Sherman played behind the likes of Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker in the early 1960s. The Brothers didn’t make an album together until In the Spirit in 1980, but word spread fast after that.
They racked up numerous blues music awards and did further guest shots with Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, and Odetta. After their last album together—Brotherhood in 2014—they were honored with a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor the government bestows upon traditional artists.
“The Holmes Brothers were always a group that transgressed boundaries,” producer Jon Lohman explains. “They weren’t concerned with genre, they loved it all. We wanted to honor that on this album. It’s not a blues album per se, or a bluegrass or a folk album. But to me that’s an advantage, and people who loved the Holmes Brothers should really get into it. It was important to me to give Sherman his due, and jump start a new chapter for him.”
The gospel tracks also come from the heart, including a version of the childhood church favorite, “I Want Jesus.” Especially notable is “Rock of Ages,” which Sherman performed with Reverend Almeta Ingram-Miller, who’s taken over for her late mother Maggie as the leader of the Ingramettes. “What she sings in that song is what she experienced, with the loss of her mother. It was a really powerful moment,” Lohman explains. Holmes’ assessment is more modest: “I had to sound like a real gospel singer on that one, and I never knew I could do that.”
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