Watermelon Slim to bring authentic blues in Tupelo

Watermelon Slim

Sometimes friends of mine will ask me about authentic bluesmen.

Of course I tell them about Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and others.

And then they’ll ask “Are there any old school bluesmen left?”

One that comes to mind is Watermelon Slim and he’s coming to Tupelo. He’ll play at the Blue Canoe, Friday, March 1 at 9:30 p.m.

Slim, 69, has 13 albums to his credit, dating back to 1973 when his Merry Airbrakes recording was celebrated as one of the first anti-Vietnam War albums done by a military veteran.

But it wasn’t until 29 years later that album No. 2 — Big Shoes To Fill —would gain him a national following. Since then, Slim has received over 20 Blues Music Award nominations, including wins for “Band of the Year” and “Album of the Year.”

He released Church of the Blues in early 2019, which showcases his skills on the guitar and harmonica. Slim was born William P. Homans III in Boston, Massachusetts but claims Tulsa, Oklahoma as home.

He’s been linked to several notable blues musicians, including John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Champion Jack Dupree, Bonnie Raitt, “Country” Joe McDonald, and Henry Vestine of Canned Heat.

Along the way he’s tied himself to the Mississippi Delta, as he plays his dobro guitar lap-style, lefthanded and backwards, with a slide.

One of the key songs on this new album is “Saint Peter’s Ledger.”

“It was written by a truck driver friend of mine named Ronnie Lereaux Meadors. One day he was in Clarksdale and he hands me this song on paper. I said, ‘Hey, I like that, I may have to put that on my next record,’ and in a matter of a few months, that’s what we did,” Slim said. “Ronnie Lereaux Meadors is a harp player from Springfield, Missouri. He spends as little or as much time as necessary out on the road driving 18 wheels. As we truck drivers like to say, you can get along without your bankers and your computer operators and those kind of people but if all the truck drivers decided to sit down – kaboom, everything comes to a screeching halt. Truck driving was the other major career I’ve had in my life besides playing music.”

Slim is an educated bluesman with bachelor's and master's degrees from University of Oregon and Oklahoma State University.

So mark your calendar for March 1. For more information, all 662-269-2642.

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