Blues Star Morganfield to Perform in Leimert Park, 6/17
Morganfield's seventh and most recent recording, "Bloodstains On The Wall," was No. 1 on the Roots Music Report, the top 50 electric blues album chart, in April. His debut album, "Rising Son" was No. 7 on the same chart. It has stood the test of time. Morganfield released it in 1999 and it earned him the W.C. Handy Award Winner as the best new artist in 2000.
Morganfield has developed a genre that honors his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame father and brings forward his own brand of blues. In "Bloodstains on the Wall," Morganfield delivers four new originals and eight high-powered covers. Morganfield does all the vocals and plays guitar on all but two of the 12 tracks.
In his previous 2013 release of "Blues With a Mood," seven of its 11 selections were Morganfield originals.
"I learned the old traditional blues, songs written in the 1930s to the 1950s," Morganfield said of his six years in the 1980s teaching himself to play the guitar. The son of McKinley Morganfield, a.k.a. Muddy Waters, did not spend time with his father growing up. They didn't meet until Big Bill was in his 20s and Morganfield didn't decide to embark on a music career until several years following Waters' passing in 1983. He had gone to college and earned a teaching credential , which had become his profession.
"When my father passed away in 1983, all of these guys were doing tributes and I thought that it would be nice for his kid to do one, too, because he had expressed interest in somebody in the family playing blues music," Morganfield told Guitarplayer.com reviewer Barry Cleveland in 2014. "After all, when I listened to the blues, it didn't sound that hard to play-though when I tried to recreate some of the stuff from the Chicago era, I had a rude awakening. It took me six years to get something together and I didn't release my first record, 'Rising Son,' until 1999."
Writes Cleveland in the same review: "Morganfield's voice is eerily reminiscent of his father's and his authoritative rhythm, lead and slide work is showcased throughout Blues with a Mood..."
From his jumping off point as Best New Artist in 2000, Morganfield has racked up multiple awards including 2013 Jus' Blues Award for Best Contemporary Blues Artist, 2015 Georgia Music Legend Award, 2016 Jus' Blues Award/Muddy Waters Lifetime Achievement Award. Morganfield was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Saint Louis as a "Master Blues Artist."
Guitarist Bob Margolin played with Muddy Waters from 1973 to 1980 and was co-producer with Morganfield for the 2009 release, "Born Lover."
"Big Bill Morganfield's 'Born Lover' reveals and celebrates his journey and progress as a Blues artist," Margolin said. "I find that Bill still honors his father with deep Chicago blues. He also tells his own stories with original songs, a wide variety of style and a fiery slide guitar. Bill's singing has taken an exciting leap forward in both power and nuance. It's a thrill to hear Bill fulfill."
The West Coast Muddy Waters Blues Festival also features Bernie Pearl & Friends, The Other Mules and the King Brothers.
The Vision Parking Lot is at the corner of 43rd and Degnan Boulevard, across the street from the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park. Reserved VIP seating is $50, adult general admission $25, seniors $20 and students $15. Doors for the June 17 show open at 4 p.m. and it begins at 5 p.m.