This year's impressive Lowcountry Blues Bash (sponsored by Southern Comfort) features a wide variety of acoustic and electric soul, blues, R&B, roots music, and folk acts. Organizer Gary Erwin (a.k.a. Shrimp City Slim) assembled a healthy roster of local and international artists of all ages and backgrounds.
Erwin and his band perform several shows with vocalist Wanda Johnson this week. He'll be out and about at nearly all the shows. Every Blues Bash show is listed in Music Board. This week's events run through Mon. Feb. 16. Listed below are City Paper's picks of the week.
Mississippi John Hurt changed Paul Geremia's life. The Rhode Island guitarist heard the great bluesman for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, caught the country blues bug from him, and has held on to it ever since. Over the years, Geremia has made many of his own contributions to the music, not the least of which has been inspiring the next generation
in the fine art of honest, bluesy guitar work. His own playing has earned him the accolade, "one of the best country blues finger-pickers ever." That's right, they said "ever."
(www.paulgeremia.org) —Jon Santiago
• Charleston County Public Library, Wed. Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.
• Mad River Bar & Grille, Feb. 11-12 from 4-7 p.m.
Somewhere there's an enlightened landlord willing to toss a band like the Nouveaux Honkies a month's free rent just for the continued pleasure of hearing them rehearse at home. The Florida-based quartet can swing and bop with the best of them, lay down blues with authority, and toss a twangy country rhythm into the mix just for grins. Swampy guitar and lilting fiddle hover around a roots Americana soul, and there's enough energy left over to crank up the dance floor, too. A tune like their "Where Do I Go" is a mini-magical musical tour. Landlord, extend their lease! (www.tnhband.com) —Jon Santiago
• Charleston County Public Library, Thurs. Feb. 12 at noon.
• Three Lions Pub, Thurs. Feb. 12 from 6:30-10 p.m.
Born and raised in Mississippi, singer Johnny Rawls acquired an early interest in music, gigging with ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex, and the Sweet Inspirations before going to work for O.V. Wright as a band director. Expect some velvety-smooth soul and blues ... and plenty of dance numbers, too. His latest is titled Red Cadillac. (www.johnnyrawlsblues.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann
• A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria, Thurs. Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.
• J.B. Pivots Beach Club, Fri. Feb. 13 at 8 p.m.
Davis Coen Duo
Charleston singer/guitarist Davis Coen specializes in slide guitar and harmonica — skills he's honed for years, traveling from the Lowcountry to the Mississippi Delta and back. His latest album, Blue Lights for Yours and Mine, is a mix of traditional, acoustic-based country folk-blues and electric-driven original blues compositions. He performs this week with Joey Izzo on drums. (www.daviscoen.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann
• The Mill, Wed. Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.
• Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, Thurs. Feb. 12 at 9 p.m.
Daddy Mack Blues Band
Memphis blues man "Daddy Mack" Orr was listed in the Bash's "critics' picks" last week for his gritty grooves and renditions of British Invasion hits (from his album Slow Ride). According to Shrimp City Slim, Mack, guitarist James Bonner, bassist Harold Bonner, and drummer William Faulkner will deliver "raw ghetto blues in the time-honored style of Albert King and Howlin' Wolf." (www.herschelfreemanagency.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann
• A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria, Sat. Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.
Crunchy or smooth? With peanut butter off-limits, at least we can have both in our blues. Garry Burnside's guitar riffs are as distortedly dirty as any Mississippi mudslide, but the youngest son of the legendary R.L.'s vocals are as clean as a bowl of cake batter thrown to the dogs. Cedric, an R.L. grandson, joins his uncle to keep the hill country beat. And you can bet they'll have some talented friends in tow. (www.burnsideexploration.net) —Stratton Lawrence
• Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ, Sat. Feb. 14 at 9 p.m.
Sharrie Williams & the Wise Guys
Detroit-based siren Sharrie Williams recently signed to Canadian-based blues label Electro-Fi Records and released an album titled I'm Here to Stay. Williams and her band hit Charleston for two shows this weekend as a closing maneuver to the Lowcountry Blues Bash. Shrimp City Slim calls her "the princess of the rockin gospel blues." (www.sharriewilliams.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann
• Creative Spark Center for the Arts, Sun. Feb. 15 from 3-5 p.m.
• Lowcountry Senior Center, Mon. Feb. 16 from 6-8 p.m.