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Eric Bibb at Broadway Theatre
February 13, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
Internationally Renowned artist Eric Bibb is a “Grammy-nominated, world touring, blues master Eric Bibb, is a true modern day troubadour. Eric’s family was a mainstay in the New York theatre, folk and jazz scene. This allowed the young singer-songwriter to spend time with music legends such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, who played intimate roles in shaping Eric’s musical style and approach to guitar playing. With over 30 albums and countless world tours, Eric Bibb is a blues master.” – Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Eric Bibb, one of the highest profile international roots music artists, was raised in New York City by a musical family; his father is noted folk singer Leon Bibb and his uncle was world-famous jazz pianist John Lewis, founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Legendary actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson was Eric’s godfather, and other music icons such as Peter Seeger, Odetta and Bob Dylan were known to regularly visit the Bibb household.
Eric was given his first guitar at age seven. “Keep it simple,” Bob Dylan famously told a young Eric at a party thrown at Bibb’s parents’ house in Hollis, Queens. Dylan’s advice stuck with the young blues guitarist and his playing has always relied on an elemental blues foundation.
By the time he reached 16, Eric was playing in the house band for his father’s local New York City TV talent show. In 1970, Bibb left New York City for Paris, meeting legendary guitarist Mickey Baker, and began to concentrate on playing blues guitar. By age 19 he was playing in Parisian restaurants, and has been based primarily in Europe ever since. A breakout performance at the 1996 London Blues Festival catapulted Eric to a higher level of visibility, especially in Britain where he won the British Blues Awards “Best Newcomer” title.
His breakthrough album, ‘Good Stuff’, was released in 1997 and led to Eric signing to a British label, which in turn released Me to You, featuring appearances from some of his personal heroes, among them Pops and Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal. The album furthered Bibb’s international reputation and was followed by tours of the UK, the United States, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany. And so it went through the 90s and the first decade of the new century — he made consistently good records, and built audiences from Stockholm to Sydney, Vancouver to Vienna, Paris to Peoria, New Orleans to Newcastle, and from B.B. King’s club in New York to the Bluebird Café in Nashville. His performances at major festivals included the Glastonbury Cambridge Folk Festival, the Barbican American Festival, the Guinness Blues Festival, Midfytns Festival in Denmark, Cognac Blues Festival in France, Byron Bay & Port Fairey in Australia, WOMEX in Sweden, Vancouver, Edmonton & Calgary Folk Festivals in Canada, Montreal Jazz Festival, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival and San Francisco Jazz.
Bibb’s songwriting and performance talents also caught the attention of fellow musicians and others in the music industry. He joined Robert Cray on two U.S. tours in 2001 and 2002 and opened two shows for Ray Charles in 2002. He joined Maria Muldaur and Rory Block to record the gospel-flavored ‘Sisters & Brothers’, and then released Friends, a collection of duets with Taj Mahal, Odetta, and others. John Mayall recorded “World War Blues” from Bibb’s Home To Me CD and “Kokomo” from Painting Signs. His song “For You” aired on the successful CBS television program, The District. In England, his songs have been featured on television shows including BBC TV’s “Eastenders” and “Casualty” and he performed his original composition, “All That You Are” on Jools Holland’s platinum-selling album Small World, Big Band.
While enjoying critical acclaim around the world, Bibb garnered nine nominations for W.C. Handy Blues Music Awards as “Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year”, winning in 2012 and 2013; and eight nominations for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year”, winning for Troubadour Live in 2012. He earned a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Taj Mahal and others on the children’s record, Shakin’ A Tailfeather. In 2014, he was nominated for a British Blues Award as Overseas Artist of the Year.
Eric Bibb is a true preservationist. He released Booker’s Guitar in 2010, a tribute to blues pioneer Bukka White, on which he played White’s steel-bodied National guitar. He followed with Blues People, which includes special guest performances by Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ruthie Foster (who Eric has been touring with in recent years), Popa Chubby and a number of other musicians from around the world. “My intention with these songs is to focus on some of the history of African Americans, the original blues people, as a reminder of what we’ve been through and where the music is coming from. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my greatest heroes. The Civil Rights movement that he is synonymous with is referred to in several songs on this album. I hope these songs will remind us that Dr. King’s dream is still a work in progress – we are still not home. May the New Year bring us closer to living that dream.”
Bibb’s latest release, Lead Belly’s Gold, is a collaboration with acclaimed French harmonica player J.J. Milteau. It is comprised primarily of Lead Belly tunes, traditional tunes covered by Lead Belly and three original tunes, two by Bibb and one by Milteau & Bibb.
A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience, both musically and spiritually. His music, like his personality, is intimate, assured and passionate, drawing listeners into the moment more as participants than spectators. “House of Blues Radio Hour” host Elwood Blues said of Bibb, “You are what the blues in the new century should be about.”