LITTLE FALLS -- If you flavor your musical palate with old-style blues or slide-guitar riffs, then Little Falls is the place to be Nov. 30.
Catfish Keith, an acknowledged virtuoso of the Mississippi blues genre, will appear in the House Concerts series, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Jason's Casual Dining.
Sponsored by the Great River Arts Association, this is the fourth event in the 10-concert series featuring traditional American music.
Over the past 20 years, Keith "has established himself as one of the most exciting blues performers of our time," the GRAA said in a recent news release.
"Catfish's innovative style of foot-stomping, deep Delta blues and American roots music has spellbound audiences the world over," the release said.
A two-time W.C. Handy Award nominee for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, Keith has recorded eight No. 1 independent radio chart-topping albums and "packed houses from coast to coast with his dynamic stage show," the GRAA said.
A native of Indiana who grew up in Davenport, Iowa, Keith may be more popular and better known in Europe than in his native land.
His live performances and recorded music have garnered a large following on the continent, as well as a nomination as Best Overseas Artist by the British Blues Connection.
The British newspaper The Guardian has called Keith "a solo revelation breaking new ground for blues."
Born into a working class family in 1962, Keith first picked up the guitar as a teen-ager, inspired by the music of Son House, Robert Johnson and other blues greats, the musician has recounted in many interviews.
His first recording, 1984's "Catfish Blues," established the artist as a new force in the blues scene, reaching No. 1 on independent radio charts worldwide.
Over the years, he has issued several other chart-topping albums under his label, Fish Tail Records, including the Handy nominated "Jitterbug Swing" in 1992 and "Fresh Catfish" in 1995.
"Catfish Keith is hands down one of the finest acoustic bluesmen in America," said a reviewer for Blues Review after hearing the 1995 solo release.
"You can readily identify a Catfish performance by the driving guitar, accomplished playing and those strong, good-humored and individual vocals," said another.
Keith is often linked in style and approach with other "white blues revivalists" who have mastered the Delta blues of its black originators, joining John Hammond, Stefan Grossman and others in the music-buying public's mind.
Inspired by the early purveyors of the style, however, Keith performs mostly his own tunes, some of which flow more from jazz and Caribbean island music.
Keith lived for a time in the Caribbean, where he earned his moniker from a West Indian diving partner who dubbed the musician "Catfish-swimming-around" and "Catfish-steel-guitar-man," according to news accounts.
Slide guitar blues is associated with Robert Johnson and other Delta musicians who used bottlenecks and other glass items to depress the guitar strings to produce the unusual wavering sound.
Keith performs on both acoustic and electric slide guitars.
Tickets for his Little Falls performance are $10 for adults, $3 for children at the gate.
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