Robert Belfour got his nickname, “Wolfman,” from the deep, husky tones of his vocals. Born and raised in a plank house in the hill country of northern Mississippi, Belfour grew up playing the blues, learning from his father, who was also a blues musician and who taught him how to play.
The region Belfour grew up in has a distinctly different culture than the more famous Mississippi Delta; the blues from northern Mississippi is strong and unique. When free from chores, he learned from such greats as Otha Turner, R.L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough. Kimbrough, in particular, had a profound influence on him.
When Belfour was thirteen, his father died, and music was relegated to what little free time he had. His energy went to helping his mother provide for the family. In 1959, he married Noreen Norman and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he would work in construction for the next thirty-five years.
In the nineteen-eighties, Belfour began playing on Beale Street and in 1994 he had eight songs featured on the compilation CD The Spirit Lives On. This led to his first album, What’s Wrong With You, released in 2000. In 2003, he released Pushin’ My Luck.
Belfour’s guitar playing is mature and highly accomplished; his voice clear and powerful; and the sound pure country blues. Robert Belfour left the hills of northern Mississippi forty years ago—he currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee—but his music never did.
On Saturday, August 4, at 1:30 pm, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour will perform an extended set as part of the Port Townsend Country Blues Festival. Listen to a YouTube clip of Belfour playing “I Done Got Old” here.