by Chris Haire
After two decades of bringing a two-week-long whirlwind of blues to the Lowcountry, Gary “Shrimp City Slim” Erwin has apparently bid a fond farewell to the much-lauded and heavily anticipated Lowcountry Blues Bash. But with Erwin’s annual blues fest going the way of Robert Johnson, can the Holy City still support a big ole bash? Well, the folks at Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ think so, and on Thurs. Feb. 7, they kick off a week of blues for the aptly titled Lowcountry Blues fest. You can think of it as a scaled-down version of Erwin’s event. (Slim’s long-time labor of love often included dozens of gigs — last year, there were 100 — at scores of venues all around the Lowcountry.) Home Team’s blues fest includes Holy City hero Davis Coen, Big Bill Morganfield, XM radio faves Nick Moss and the Fliptops, Savannah’s Eric Culberson, and more.
“We have always honored the blues with a heavy rotation during the Lowcountry Blues Bash and were certainly disappointed that the long-running Charleston staple went on hiatus this year,” Hometeam owner Tony McKie says. “We certainly hope Gary Erwin can revive his event for the future.” McKie also notes that the “first two weekends in February will always be the ‘Blues Bash’ at Home Team.” Both Home Team locations will be participating, but the Feb. 10 Allstar Blues Jam and Oyster Roast is taking place at Fiery Ron’s West Ashley location. For more information, visit hometeambbq.com.
As for Shrimp City Slim, the Lowcountry Blues Bash may be a thing of the past, but he remains as busy as ever. “All good things must come to an end, and so it is for the Lowcountry Blues Bash after 22 years,” Erwin says. “I have to devote time to other projects.” Slim has two new CDs coming out this month, and he’s currently gigging and producing blues fests all around the Palmetto State. To keep up to date on all things Erwin, visit shrimpcityslim.com.