Ben Payton added to blues workshop faculty

Ben payton With regret we inform you that Resa Gibbs will not be able to teach at the workshop this summer. In her stead, Ben Wiley Payton from Jackson, Mississippi, makes his first visit to Port Townsend to lead the singing track.

Born and raised in Coila, a small town in Carroll County, Mississippi, Payton spent much of his childhood in the agricultural work cycle. His access to popular music radically changed when he moved to Chicago with his family in 1964. The 16-year-old Mississippi boy arrived in the city when its club scene was booming. From club shows by Muddy Waters and other bluesmen to concerts by touring acts like James Brown and Wilson Pickett, Payton and his friends were there to see them all. In Chicago, Payton joined a singing group, then learned guitar and started performing with friends.

By the time he was 20, Payton was playing guitar in the house bands of several show clubs on Chicago’s South Side, backing up well-known performers, such as R&B singer Otis Clay and jazz guitarist Grant Green.

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