He’s ninety-four years old and still strumming! David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards is one of the last of the original Delta Bluesmen. He will take the stage at the Colony Theatre on Saturday, February 20th.
Born in Shaw, Mississippi in 1915 to a sharecropper, Honeyboy picked cotton while picking at his guitar. He bosked around the Delta with a harmonica playing friend for nickels and dimes. Then he met Big Joe Williams and together they rode the rails to thirteen states playing all the juke joints. He met and became friends with Robert Leroy Johnson, who was probably the earliest and most influential of the Delta bluesman. In the early 50s, at the age of 17, Johnson took Honeyboy to Chicago. Honeyboy was present when Johnson died from drinking bad moonshine.
Johnson had claimed that he wrote the blues standard “Sweet Home Chicago”. Honeyboy disagreed. “I studied up that song myself” he insisted. He recorded a total of fifteen album sides of music which included his “Wind Howling Blues” and “The Army Blues”. When he recorded “Big Fat Momma”, he said, “we used to sing that when I was a kid”. His albums “White Windows”, “The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin”, “Mississippi Delta Blues Man” and “Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas” were all nominated for the W.C. Handy Award (now known as the Blues Music Award).
This last number was recorded live In October, 2004 in Dallas. Accompanying Edwards were Robert Lockwood Jr., Henry Townsend, and Pinetop Perkin; all the guys in this quartet were in their nineties. Two of them passed away in 2006. Townsend was 96 and Lockwood, 91. A tribute to these icons is their recording of “The Last Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas”. It won a Grammy.
Honeyboy’s life is intertwined with so many major blues legends. These include Charlie Patton, Big Joe Williams, Rice “Sonny Boy Williamson” Miller, Howlin’ Wolf, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Walter, Magic Sam, Muddy Waters, and the list goes on.
Rolling Stone ranked Honeyboy number five in their list of one hundred greatest guitarists of all time. He has been inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame (1996). In 2005, he received the Acoustic Blues-Artist of the Year (26th W.C. Handy Blues Awards) and in 2007, Acoustic Artist of the Year (The Blues Music Awards). Then in 2010, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Grammy, and the prestigious NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award,
Edwards still performs over 100 concerts a year. He has traveled every blues road across the U.S and most of Europe several times. Last year, at the age of 94, he continued to tour, having performed in dozens of blues festivals in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Macedonia, Germany and Belgium. Now, just back from touring Western Europe, Honeyboy Edwards will grace the stage this Saturday in a one-night only concert at the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road.
He can still lay down some mean blues. If you dig these chords, come see the last of the Delta Bluesmen.
The Colony Theatre is located at 1040 Lincoln Rd. in South Beach. 305-674-1040
Produced by TIGERTAIL Production’s as part of their 30th Anniversary Season of ‘Art and Soul’. For future programs call 305-324-4337 or visit www.tigertail.org.