It wouldn’t quite be a gathering without Phil Wiggins.
A mainstay of the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop, Phil has confirmed that he’ll be joining us in 2017 to lead harmonica sessions during the week.
During the early years of his development as a musician, Phil Wiggins was constantly playing with and learning from some of the most notable acoustic blues musicians that made their homes in the Washington, D.C. area: Flora Molten, Mother Ester Mae Scott, Wilber “Chief” Ellis, John Jackson, Archie Edwards, John Cephas, and others. He was mentored as well by many other musicians who frequented the D.C. area: Johnny Shines, Sam Chapman, Sunnyland Slim, Henry Townsend, Robert Lockwood, John Dee Holeman, Algia Mae Hinton, Howard Armstrong, Ted Bogan, Etta Baker, and others. “I have always been amazed by and grateful for the generosity of these masters of traditional blues. They welcomed me and shared freely of their knowledge and abilities.”
Phil performed with Flora Molten at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., every summer from 1972-1976. It was there in 1976 that he met and joined with Chief Ellis on piano, John Cephas on guitar, and James Bellamy on bass, forming the group Chief Ellis and the Barrelhouse Rockers. They performed at several venues and festivals in the D.C. area until Chief retired. Phil and John Cephas then formed the duo Cephas and Wiggins. They performed together for over 30 years, becoming America’s premier blues duo. As ambassadors of the Piedmont Blues, Cephas and Wiggins took their music all over America as well as all over the world. “John and I have performed on every continent except Antarctica.” Some venues of note include Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, and the White House.