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Blues guitarist returns to Crescent City after 12 years

Eric Bibb will perform in concert Tuesday night at Crescent Elk Auditorium in Crescent City.
Eric Bibb will perform in concert Tuesday night at Crescent Elk Auditorium in Crescent City.
CRESCENT CITY – A performance by Eric Bibb is “an enriching experience, both musically and spiritually,” said Concord Music Group officials.

This singer, songwriter and guitarist will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Crescent Auditorium, 994 G St. Crescent City, as the third performance of the Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness’ (DNACA) 2011-12 season. 

For more than four decades, Bibb has been blending various musical genres, playing his brand of soulful and gospel-infused folk-blues.

Born in 1951, Bibb is a native New Yorker with roots in the American blues and folk traditions.  He is the son of Leon Bibb, folk- and musical-theater singer and television personality from the 1960s. His uncle was jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and his godfather was singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson.  

He received his first guitar at age 7, and by the time he entered middle school he was consumed by his music.  Surrounded by major musical figures of the day, Bibb was inspired and influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Earl Robinson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins. When he was 16, his father invited him to play in the house band for his television show, “Someone New.” He left for Paris when he was 19, playing in restaurants there, and then headed for Sweden where he settled in the 1970s.

In the early 1980s, Bibb was signed to BMG/Sweden as a songwriter.  He later received a contract with the independent Swedish label Opus 3, where he produced several albums.  Two of them – “Spirit & the Blues” and “Good Stuff” – were later released in the USA, expanding his international audience. During a five-year stint in New York City during this decade, Bibb continued to write music and opened for headliners such as The Persuasions, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Tania Maria and Etta James. 

In 1996, he appeared at the London Blues Festival, and has toured the world many times since then.  Bibb last performed in Crescent City 12 years ago for a DNACA fundraiser. He also appeared at the former Crescent City Blues Festival in 1997, where he created a stir amongst those who saw him.

“Booker’s Guitar,” Bibb’s 2010 album, was inspired by the discovery of a 1930s vintage Resophonic national steel body guitar that had belonged to Delta blues legend Booker White –and older cousin to B.B. King. “Booker's Guitar” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums Chart and won the 2010 “DownBeat’s” Critic’s poll of Best Blues Album.  

Bibb’s latest album, “Troubadour Live,” was released last spring. Featuring Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner and gospel trio Psalm4, the disc was recorded live in December 2010 at two locations in Uppsala, Sweden.

“After many ambitious studio albums, I really wanted to document and share with a wider audience what I’d been doing live on stage,” Bibb said. 

Tickets cost $18 for general, $15 for seniors (65 and older), and $12 for full-time students (kindergarten through college) and are available at Wright’s Custom Framing and Art Supplies in Brookings, Del Norte Office Supply in Crescent City,  and at the door beginning at 6:45 p.m.  For more information, contact DNACA at 707-464-1336.

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