Watermelon Slim – Traveling Man
Label: NorthernBlues Music
Releasedatum: 27 maart 2020
New live double-CD TRAVELING MAN, his 9th release for the label.
Slim’s compelling live solo performance is captured on this brilliant double CD. Featuring Watermelon Slim on vocals, harmonica and electric slide guitar, and produced by Slim & Chris Hardwick, TRAVELING MAN is a stunning mix of original & classic blues tunes (including Fred McDowell’s “61 Highway Blues”, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” and Muddy Waters’ “Two Trains Running”) covering topics both personal and political. TRAVELING MAN features Watermelon Slim at his finest — alone with his slide guitar and powerful rough-hewn vocals.
Watermelon Slim’s critically acclaimed previous release, 2019’s Church of the Blues, has just been nominated for two 2020 Blues Music Awards — “Album of the Year” and “Traditional Album of the Year.” The Blues Music Awards will be announced in Memphis on Thursday, May 7, 2020. “A knowing observer of all those things that define the blues at its very essence, he provides a stirring reminder of what craft and credence can deliver when served up in sync.” (Living Blues)
Born in Boston as William Homans III to a blueblood family, a 5-year-old Slim got his first dose of blues when his family maid in Asheville, NC, would sing him John Lee Hooker songs. Slim decided early on he was going to pursue his own path in life, rejecting his family’s career aspirations.
He found work as forklift driver, funeral officiator, watermelon farmer, small-time criminal, newspaper reporter, saw miller, and truck driver for industrial waste among others. He’s been a vigilant anti-war activist who also earned two college degrees and led a prison band, even if he was the only band member who wasn’t incarcerated. He also found time to ply his trade, using things he picked up along the way that allowed him to sing, play guitar and harmonica in unconventional ways.
Slim, 70, has 14 albums to his credit, dating back to 1973 when his ‘Merry Airbrakes’ recording was celebrated as one of the first anti-Vietnam War albums done by a military veteran. But it wasn’t until 29 years later that album No. 2 — ‘Big Shoes To Fill’ — would gain him a national following. Since then, Slim has received over 20 Blues Music Award nominations, including wins for “Band of the Year” and “Album of the Year”.
Slim admits he was a wannabe musician in the late 1960s in Boston, where he caught Bonnie Raitt and Mississippi Fred McDowell shows as often as he could.
A few years later, Slim was in the Army in a hospital at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, where he learned to play slide guitar by listening to McDowell records and trying to replicate the sound on a balsa wood guitar with a Zippo lighter he used as a slide. That respect comes full circle on Church Of The Blues as Slim covers McDowell’s “Highway 61.”
Watermelon Slim is Mensa-smart and possesses the acute powers of observation that makes his songwriting so seductive. But whether he’s using a mini-bar bottle, one-inch socket or a seashell as a slide, his bottleneck and singing style set him apart in today’s roots & blues world.
Website: Watermelon Slim