Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Not only is Jimmy “Duck” Holmes one of the modern-day blues greats, he comes from a tradition and has a story that’s almost as compelling as his singing and guitar. Duck was born and raised in Bentonia, a small Mississippi town. But his hometown is much more than your usual sleepy southern village. It’s where the Bentonian style of Mississippi Delta Blues was born.
Town resident Henry Stuckey (1897-1966) is credited as the founder of the Bentonia style of raw, soulful country blues, which was carried on by his two famous students, Skip James (1902-1969) and Jack Owens (1904-1997) – and passed on to Duck. They’d all meet and play at the historic Blue Front Café, Mississippi’s oldest surviving juke joint, opened by Duck’s parents in 1948. Duck took it over in 1970 – and runs it to this day.
“Make No Mistake: Jimmy Duck Holmes is a major blues figure, the most important active performer in the country blues tradition.” – Paste Magazine
“His originals are as low-down as anything by Son House, Charlie Patton, or even Robert Johnson. Holmes is the heir to such blues and deserves a pedestal so more people can hear the real thing.” – Classicalite Magazine
Mike Munson makes his home in Winona, Minnesota, a town sandwiched between the Mississippi River and the bluffs, with train tracks cutting through its middle. Well known for playing outstanding slide guitar blues, the driving rhythms in his songs are reminiscent of the trains that barrel through his neighbourhood. He’s a humble fellow who loves making food and playing guitar and singing. We can vouch that he does the last two very, very well.
Munson’s blues influences include Fred McDowell, Jack Owens, and Jesse Mae Hemphill – who all hailed from areas of rural Mississippi that Munson visits often. (His upcoming album, “Rose Hill”, was recorded in Bentonia, MS at the Blue Front Cafe, the oldest juke joint in Mississippi (and owned by fellow 2018 VFMF artist, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes).) From sad and somber slow tunes to swampy, caterwauling stompers, his music is a master class in creative blues composition and performance, lyrically compelling, full of unique turns and twists, yet never losing sight of his art form and the music’s roots.
Robert Connely Farr
Robert Connely Farr is a singer-songwriter from Bolton, Mississippi, home town of Charley Patton & The Mississippi Sheiks. Currently residing in Vancouver, Canada, Connely heads up Mississippi Live & the Dirty Dirty - an Americana / Southern-Rock / Heavy-Blues band also based out of Vancouver. They have released 3 full length studio albums & one EP. Connely is currently working on a new studio album steeeped in the Bentonia Blues sound with producer Leeroy Stagger. Recording began at Stagger's Rebeltone Ranch in early May.
Prior to moving to Vancouver, he studied architecture at Auburn University & spent 3 years volunteering at the late Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio non-profit design build school in rural Alabama. Connely has been a resident of Vancouver since 2008, but when he's at home in Mississippi, can most likely be found pickin & grinnin at the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi with his friend & mentor Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.