Eric Bibb
Eric Bibb Eric was born In New York into a musical family. Eric's father, Leon Bibb, is a trained singer who sang in musical theatre and made a name for himself as part of the 1960's New York folk scene. His uncle was the world famous jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Family friends included Pete Seeger, Odetta and actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, Eric's godfather. Eric was given his first steel-string guitar aged seven. Growing up surrounded by talent, Eric recalls a childhood conversation with Bob Dylan, who, on the subject of guitar playing advised the 11-year-old Eric to "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff". By Junior High School, Eric was consumed by music. "I would cut school and claim I was sick" said Bibb. "When everyone would leave the house I would whip out all the records and do my own personal DJ thing all day long, playing Odetta, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Josh White." At 16 years old, Eric's father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his TV talent show "Someone New". Eric's early musical heroes were from his father's band, and included Bill Lee, (father of director Spike) who appeared on Eric's album Me To You, years later. In 1969, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company at St. Mark's place in New York and went on to study Psychology and Russian at Colombia University. "After a while it just didn't make much sense at all. I didn't understand why I was at this Ivy League School with all these kids who didn't know anything about what I knew about." Aged 19, Eric left for Paris, where a meeting with guitarist Mickey Baker focused his interest in blues guitar. When he later moved to Sweden, Bibb found a creative environment which took him back to Greenwich Village during the heyday of the folk revival. Settling in Stockholm, Bibb immersed himself in pre-war blues and continued to write and perform. "I began meeting and playing with local musicians as well as newcomers from all over the world. There was a budding world Music scene going on before it became a market concept." The album Good Stuff was released in 1997 on Opus 3 and American label Earthbeat! and led to Eric signing to the British based Code Blue label. Eric's only release on Code Blue was Me to You, featuring appearances from some of Bibb's personal heroes in Pops and Mavis Staples, and Taj Mahal (who also worked with Bibb on the Grammy-nominated children's record, Shakin' A Tailfeather). The album furthered Bibb's international reputation and was followed by tours of the UK, USA, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany. In the late 90’s Eric joined forces with his then manager Alan Robinson, to form Manhaton Records, in Britain. The albums Home to Me (1999), Roadworks (2000) and Painting Signs (2001) followed, as did another Opus 3 release, Just Like Love. A Family Affair - The first ever album recorded together by father and son - Leon & Eric Bibb. Natural Light followed then Friends - 15 tracks featuring Eric duetting with friends and musicians he has met on his travels such as Taj Mahal, Odetta, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Mamadou Diabate and Djelimady Toukara Eric has appeared on major TV and radio shows including Later with Jools Holland and The Late Late Show. Eric and his band have played at most of the world’s major festivals including Glastonbury (4 times this year) and the Cambridge Folk Festival in the UK. He joined Robert Cray on two U.S. tour stints in 2001 and 2002 and opened for Ray Charles in the summer of 2002. Eric's talent for both performing and songwriting has been recognised with a Grammy Nomination (for Shakin' a Tailfeather) and 4 W.C.Handy nominations (for the albums Spirit and the Blues, Home To Me and A Ship Called Love; for 'Kokomo' as Best Acoustic Blues Song of the Year, and for Best Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year). His songs have featured on TV shows such as BBC TV's 'Eastenders' and ‘Casualty’, and 'The District' in the USA. Eric's version of "I Heard the Angels Singin'" was included in the feature film "The Burial Society" and Eric appears on Jools Holland's double platinum-selling album Small World, Big Band, singing his own composition "All That You Are". In recent years, the international troubadour has definitely not been travelling on the ‘Slow Train’. In 2005 Eric released A Ship Called Love and toured the world as ever, including a major US tour with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and Robben Ford. A Ship Called Love was nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year in the 2006 Blues Music Awards. Diamond Days was released in 2006 and has become the biggest selling album of the Eric’s lengthy career, receiving universal critical acclaim. The album entered both Australian (National) and US charts (Blues). Eric has been nominated for Acoustic Artist of the Year in the 2008 Blues Music Awards. Since the release of Diamond Days there have been appearances on national TV in Australia (including a one hour live concert broadcast), France, Finland, Sweden and the UK (including Later with Jools Holland). The track ‘Shine On’ garnered strong airplay in the US on Triple A format stations. ‘Shine On’ has also been used as the opening theme for the BBC drama series Sea Of Souls. BBC Radio 2, the UK’s largest radio station, supported Eric with several prime-time interviews and extensive airplay. In this same period Eric has performed over 130 shows across 3 continents. Some of the highlights include show-stopping performances at legendary venues/festivals such as Glastonbury Festival (UK); BB Kings, New York (USA); The Bluebird Café, Nashville (USA); Port Fairy Folk Festival (Australia); Nice Jazz Festival (France); Edmonton Folk Festival (Canada) and, Sommarscen, Malmo (Sweden). 2008 sees the release of Eric’s latest album, Get Onboard. Eric and producer, Glen Scott, have produced what, those who have heard it feel, is his finest set of recordings to date. The album was recorded in Nashville and completed in Stockholm. Bonnie Raitt and Ruthie Foster are featured guest performers. Get Onboard has been in the works since recording began in Nashville in May 2007. The album features a stellar line-up of musicians headed up by Bonnie Raitt (slide guitar on “If Our Hearts Ain’t In It”) and including a duet (“Conversation”) with Ruthie Foster. The Nashville band included producer Glen Scott on keyboards and backing vocals, Tommy Sims (Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Eric Clapton) on guitar, bass and backing vocals, Lemar Carter on drums (Carrie Underwood, Joss Stone, India.Arie) and other Nashville musical luminaries. Producer Glen Scott then took the tracks back to Stockholm to complete with his own ‘house’ musicians – many of whom appeared on Diamond Days. Eric describes his latest creation as follows “My new album Get Onboard is, without a doubt one of the most exciting projects of my career. It’s a further exploration into the place where blues meets gospel and soul.” §§§ A performance by Eric Bibb is an enriching experience – both musically and spiritually. Purveying a beautifully realised and deftly accomplished, soulful and gospel infused, folk- blues, Eric has no problem melding a traditional rootsy American style with a subtle contemporary sensibility. As one critic wrote “ Eric’s singing and versatile guitar playing fuses a variety of genres to become a New World Blues”. "Eric is one of the new, young singers that has appeared on the scene that, much to my delight, has a great voice, is an excellent performer and has a great knowledge about the roots of this music" Taj Mahal