Even in these crushing economic times, blues fans can count on three things: Death, taxes, and until they spend every last red cent they fish from the ashtrays and couch cushions in Mississippi, Fat Possum Records gonna dig up, record, and release records from obscure originals performing the blues, whether they’re commercially viable or not.
Enter Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, whose juke joint The Blue Front in Bentonia (home town of blues legend Skip James) dates back to segregation times and is now on official stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail (below: Duck and his crew celebrate).
His new record on Fat Possum, Gonna Get Old Someday, finds Holmes sharp of spirit and handy with the acoustic guitar. A casual player up until the last few years, Holmes preferred to work the Blue Front, which has been open since 1948, when he was one year old and his father launched it. No doubt Duck himself helped move a bottle or two of his dad’s famed bootleg ‘shine.
Today, however, he’s a working musician, and his style is way-gone old skool but his voice is clear and beautiful, as evidenced in “Hurry, Hurry.” It’s not really important that Duck isn’t a longtime fixture on the circuit, someone with a pedigree of B.B. King or Buddy Guy. What he is doing is preserving a fiercely local blues style that James created and Duck’s in a position to understand–and feel.
And in these economic times, we know for sure that he’s doing it out of love for the blues, because there’s no money to be made playing Skip James style during boom years. Bless you, Duck and Fat Possum. Keep it real. You too can keep it real by checking out Jimmy “Duck” Holmes at his MySpace and at his Mississippi Arts Commission home page.