2010 Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival Set for April 10 at TNCC


Published: April 1, 2010

The Ninth Annual Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival − “A Tribute to John Cephas” − will take place on Thomas Nelson Community College’s (TNCC) Hampton campus at the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium on Saturday, April 10 from 4:00-9:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public. The lineup is as follows:

Phil Wiggins
4:00-4:45 p.m. (Harmonica Workshop)

Wiggins, a Washington, D.C. native and noted harmonica player, partnered with the late guitarist John Cephas for over 30 years. The duo brought the Piedmont blues sound to audiences worldwide, recorded more than a dozen albums and won numerous awards. Wiggins learned his craft at the feet of some of the D.C. area’s best blues artists, including the notable slide-guitarist Flora Molton. Influenced by great blues harpists like Sonny Terry, John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson and Little Walter, Wiggins developed a unique style as a harpist, singer and songwriter.

Robert Lighthouse
5:00-5:45 p.m.

Lighthouse, a native of Sweden, came to the United States at the age of 18 and honed his guitar and harmonica skills playing the music he loves — Mississippi Delta Blues. He settled in Washington, D.C. in 1988, established a cult following as a street musician and toured Belgium and Holland with the Charlie Sayles Band. His critically acclaimed debut CD, Drive-Thru Love, was released in 1998 and was followed up by Deep Down in the Mud which was released in 2007. Lighthouse has received rave reviews in major blues publications throughout the United States, Europe and Australia.

R.J. Harman Band
6:00-6:45 p.m.

Richard J. Harman has been playing the harmonica for six years winning numerous awards including 2009 Florida Harmonica Championship and Best Technical Performance at the Florida Harmonica Championship. Based in Florida, he plays professionally around the United States and sings with the blues band “RJ Harman and Company.”

Ian Walters
7:00-8:00 p.m.

Walters plays spirited, updated blues and standards as well as contemporary tunes. He’s known for his keyboards and vocals, among other things, and brings inventive interpretations of great old songs to make them new again. After studying classical piano for 13 years, he found his musical soul in vintage blues, R&B, American standards, and early rock ‘n roll. Walters is a member of the blues piano faculty at the famed Blues Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia. He performs regularly as a soloist and as a part of a duo at clubs and festivals as well as with several bands in the Washington, D.C. area.

Paul Rishell & Annie Raines
8:20-9:20 p.m.

Harmonica ace Raines and country blues guitarist Rishell have a musical partnership spanning nearly 20 years. They have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on the road in the U.S. and Europe, collaborated on original songs and released I Want You To Know (Tone-Cool/Artemis 1996) and Moving To The Country (2000), the W.C. Handy Award winner for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year; Goin’ Home (2004), which was nominated for two Handy Awards; and A Night In Woodstock (2008).

The event will celebrate the musical legacy of guitarist and singer John Cephas, who kept the Piedmont blues style alive as part of the duo Cephas and Wiggins. 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.

Born in Washington, D.C. and reared in Bowling Green, Virginia, Cephas died in early March at age 78 at his Woodford, Virginia home. He was one of the Piedmont style’s most prominent performers, winning a National Heritage Fellowship in 1989 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Having released their first several albums through German label L+R, the duo had its American breakthrough with Dog Days of August, which won a W. C. Handy Award in 1987 for best traditional blues album. Richmond Blues, was released last year by Smithsonian Folkways and their last performance was in November 2009 in Ashland, Virginia.

For more information about the Ninth Annual Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival, please contact Shar Wolff of TNCC’s Cultural Affairs Committee at (757) 825-2775.

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