Label takes home Best Debut CD, Best Traditional/Acoustic
CD and Producer of the Year Awards in the Living Blues Awards
(ST. LOUIS) – A year after the release of its first
CD, St. Louis-based Broke & Hungry Records has netted
three prestigious Living Blues Awards.
The label’s inaugural release, Back to Bentonia by rural
Mississippi bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, has
been recognized as both “Best Debut” and “Best
Traditional and Acoustic CD” in the Living Blues Awards
Critics Poll. The CD also netted the “Producer of the
Year” award for the label’s owner Jeff Konkel.
“Gob smacked pretty well sums up our reaction,”
Konkel said. “Obviously I believe Jimmy is a huge talent,
but neither of us expected this kind of recognition. It’s
a well-deserved honor for a bluesman who toiled in obscurity
for far too long. We’re absolutely thrilled.”
Since the release of Back to Bentonia, Holmes has vaulted
onto the international blues scene and has been profiled in
publications and on radio stations across the globe.
His second CD, Done Got Tired of Tryin’ (also on Broke
& Hungry Records) was recently released to widespread
Holmes has spent much of 2007 working the blues festival circuit,
most notably performing five sets at this year’s Chicago
Blues Festival. Holmes will top off the hectic festival season
with an appearance at the upcoming Arkansas Blues and Heritage
Festival (formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival) in Helena
Holmes, who turned 60 this summer, was a student of the late
Jack Owens. Today, Holmes is the last living link to the celebrated
“Bentonia School” of guitarists. Named after the
tiny town of Bentonia, Mississippi where Holmes still lives,
the style is notable for its unusual Open-E Minor guitar tuning
and its haunting lyrical content. Other Bentonia blues guitarists
included Cornelius Bright, Henry Stuckey, Jacob Stuckey and
– most famously – Skip James.
It was latter man who first introduced the world to the Bentonia
sound following his first recording sessions for Paramount
Records in 1931, but it wasn’t until after James’
death that blues scholars discovered that he was part of a
larger tradition of likeminded bluesmen from Bentonia.
That local tradition will be further celebrated next Tuesday,
Aug. 21 when the Mississippi Blues Commission dedicates a
permanent marker in Bentonia. The marker is part of the Mississippi
Blues Trail, which will eventually include more than 100 historical
markers and interpretive sites throughout the site. The marker
will be erected in front of Holmes’ rustic juke joint,
the Blue Front Cafe. Opened in 1948 by his parents Carey and
Mary Holmes, the Blue Front is the state’s longest-running
Back to Bentonia is available at fine record stores, online
retailers and through the label’s Web site at www.brokeandhungryrecords.com.
For more information, contact Jeff Konkel by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.