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200 State Street Binghamton, NY (607) 217-7334
For nearly thirty years, bluesman Paul Geremia has survived solely by the fruit of his musical labors. Having abandoned all other means of support in 1966, he has been traveling far and wide, performing in every capacity from street singing to club and concert bookings, throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Geremia has built a reputation as one of the finest bluesmen alive, a scholar of blues and jazz, and one of the best country blues fingerpickers ever. With his tools--six and twelve-string guitars, harmonica, piano, and a husky, soulful voice--and with an innate sense of the humor and drama of the music, he keeps traditional blues fresh and alive. Along the road, his list of admirers has grown to include Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond, and Dave Van Ronk.
Geremia's performances are a smooth blend of blues styles and traditions. "The whole thing, in a nutshell, is you just absorb as much as you can," he explains in Acoustic Guitar. He is remarkably well-versed in the music of the great players: the Delta slide of Robert Johnson, the ragtime style of Willie McTell and Blind Blake, Leadbelly and Lemon Jefferson's Texas sound, the uptown blues of Scrapper Blackwell, and Lonnie Johnson and Teddy Blum's jazz. In his interpretations as well as original pieces, Geremia incorporates the techniques of these legends into a distinctive style that is very much his own.
Geremia's background isn't typical for a bluesman. He is a third generation Italian-American who, as he laughingly puts it, "was born in the Providence River Delta." Growing up in Rhode Island, he bought blues albums at the Salvation Army, and heard R&B and jazz from African-Americans who had moved up from the southeast coast. His first instrument was a harmonica, and in his teens he started fooling around on a friend's electric guitar. Geremia's dad had an acoustic guitar (a plywood Stella) that he never played. When Geremia left for college, he took it from behind the couch where it had been gathering dust. It was in college that he really started to focus on the instrument, learning to play from friends who were into Chet Atkins and fingerpicking.
During the early part of the Sixties folk revival, Geremia got a taste for acoustic blues. At various folk festivals he heard alot of young white guys playing blues, including Tim Hardin and Tom Rush. Before long, he had the opportunity to hear the great black blues players, men who had recorded in the Twenties and Thirties and were being "rediscovered" by a new generation. Geremia was living and playing in the middle of a thriving blues community and had the opportunity to meet some of the greatest players this country has ever produced. As his style shows, he's learned something from every musician he's met, including Pink Anderson, Fred McDowell, Blind John Davis, Carl Johnson, Skip James, Son House, and Howlin' Wolf.
Geremia has recorded eight solo albums, and has been featured on two anthologies. His superb recordings have made him a critical favorite and placed him firmly among the legends who inspired and influenced him over the past three decades. His most recent studio efforts, Gamblin' Woman Blues and Self Portrait in Blues, were released in Europe by Austria's Shamrock Records and in the U.S. by Red House. Both were nominated for Handy Awards. Live from Uncle Sam's Backyard is Geremia's latest release. This live album was recorded in Minneapolis and captures Geremia at his best--in a small club with a very appreciative audience--giving a powerful and soulful performance.