TNCC is Site of 12th Annual Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival, March 9

Published: March 6, 2013

The 12th Annual Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival, “A Tribute to John Cephas,” takes place Saturday, March 9 from 4 – 9:30 p.m. on Thomas Nelson Community College’s (TNCC) Hampton campus at the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, Templin Hall. Free to TNCC students, faculty and staff, the event is open to the public with $10 tickets available at the door. Tickets are $7 for Natchel’ Blues Network (NBN) members.

Sponsored in part by NBN and TNCC, the event celebrates the musical legacy of guitarist and singer John Cephas, who kept the Piedmont blues style alive as part of the duo Cephas and Wiggins. Born in Washington, D.C., Cephas died in 2010 at his Woodford, Virginia home. He was one of the Piedmont style’s most prominent performers. The lively and melodic Piedmont sound developed in the coastal plains of Virginia and the Carolinas and is characterized by a lilting rhythm and complex finger picking guitar.

The lineup for the event which will include WHRV radio host Hunter Hughes as emcee and a drawing for a guitar is as follows:

Larry Berwald (slide guitar workshop)
4 – 5 p.m.

A Florida native, Berwald was lead guitarist with Southern Rock icon Wet Willie and spent three years as lead guitarist for Jimmy Hall. He has written songs recorded on major label and independent projects. Settling in Tidewater in the 1980s, Berwald has become a sought after side musician, playing and recording with many of the area’s best musicians, while teaching guitar by day and operating a guitar repair service in Norfolk.

Shawn Strickland
5 – 5:45 p.m.

Strickland won the 2012 Natchel’ Blues Challenge in Virginia Beach and the 2011 Billtown Blues Challenge in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  Also a competitor in the 2012 International Blues Challenge, he has a repertoire of originals and versions covers that make for different show every time.

The Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo
6 – 7 p.m.

Comprised of husband and wife team Ben and Valerie Turner, The Piedmont Bluz Acoustic Duo specializes in the lively Piedmont sound. Valerie is a native New Yorker who plays finger-style Country Blues guitar and was heavily influenced by pioneers like John Cephas and Woody Mann. Hailing from Trinidad, Ben blends washboard techniques learned from Newman Taylor Baker and Washboard Chaz into his own unique style. He also chimes in on the harp. Their mission is to preserve Piedmont Blues by educating audiences.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton
7:15 – 8 p.m.

Paxton is a South Central Los Angeles, California native of Louisiana Creole roots. He picks banjo and guitar, plays harmonica, piano and is skilled on other instruments. Although not signed to any label, he has experience international fame through the Playing for Change Foundation video II. He’s also a favorite son of the Weenie Campbell website of Country Blues fans.

HEADLINER: Mary Flower
8:15 – 9:15 p.m.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Yellow Dog Records recording artist Mary Flower presents a uniquely personal vision of roots music that blends ragtime, acoustic blues and folk. He nine recordings to date have garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences. Also a lap slide player, Flower is a three-time Blues Music Award nominee from the Blues Foundation in Memphis who also placed twice at the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. Her performances around the world include Prairie Home Companion and Edmonton Blues Festival as well as teaching at many guitar workshops including Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch, Centrum Blues Festival and the Augusta Heritage Center.

For more information about the 12th Annual Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival, contact Jackie Merritt at


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