Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes is a deep-roots folk blues musician who plays in the blues tradition described as American-primitivism, a repetitive and monotone style that is ethereal, gritty and rough. There are many sophisticated pickers but the primitive school had always been at the core of blues, conveying the most important element – the feeling. Centrum is thrilled to welcome Jimmy to the 2016 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival.
Holmes was influenced by Jack Owens and Skip James who were part of the Bentonia School of blues musicians, influenced by Henry Stuckey. Jimmy is one of the oldest active purveyors of the Bentonia country blues tradition. He was recorded by several people, including Alan Lomax during the 1970s, but did not release his first album until 2006 on the Broke and Hungry label.
Bentonia blues is often played in Open E minor and Open D minor, with a peculiar mournful, listless tonality. It’s unique and distinct and was largely conﬁned to the past until Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes stared to record again.
Holmes is also the proprietor of one of the oldest juke joints in Mississippi, the Blue Front Café in Bentonia on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Holmes parents, who were sharecroppers, opened the Blue Front Café in 1948, the year after he was born. Recently Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes was picked up by Dick Waterman, who managed Skip James in the 1950s and says of Holmes, “it is haunting to see the similarities between them.”