Mike "Lightnin’" Wells breathes new life into the vintage tunes of the 1920s and Depression-era America.
Raised in eastern North Carolina, Wells learned to play harmonica as a young child and taught himself to the guitar. During the following decades he performed the acoustic blues throughout North Carolina, United States, and Europe.
Lightnin’ also worked a producer, producing the first commercial recordings of blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton (pictured), and George Higgs. He traveled and performed extensively with those musicians and documented their backgrounds and musical histories for future generations.
He is also a life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the Piedmont blues tradition, including such artists as Blind Boy Fuller, the Reverend Gary Davis, and Elizabeth Cotton.
Wells’s first solo recording, Bull Frog Blues, established his blues credentials. His second release, Ragtime Millionaire, strengthened his association with the Carolina Piedmont styles. His most recent release, Ragged But Right, explores old-time, country, jazz, ragtime, and early popular music, as well as Piedmont-style blues selections.
With his experience, knowledge and well-honed performance skills, Lightnin’ has established himself at the forefront of the traditional blues revival. As a recent review noted, "Whether you look to performers for inspiration, education, or sheer entertainment, Lightnin’ Wells delivers all the above, every single time."
Lightnin’ Wells will give a mainstage performance at the Port Townsend Country Blues Festival on Saturday, August 4, at 1:30 pm. On both August 3 and August 4, he will perform in the intimate club venues of downtown Port Townsend. For tickets, call Centrum at 360.385.3102, x117 or follow this link to our secure online Acteva site.