Inhibitions were shaken and dance shapes were thrown. Blind Boy concluded that the crowd “dance like Hawaiians”.
Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton tells his tales of down-n-dirty blues, picking and strumming while donning his overalls and high buttoned shirt, bringing a little piece of 1930’s Mississippi to a dingy night in Bristol. L.A born Blind Boy, who lost most of his sight by the age of 16, played the Stag and Hounds tonight giving a taste of pure, unadulterated Delta blues.
The 24-year-old honed his talents on the banjo, with his love of music firmly rooted in his family with his grandparent’s Southern beginnings and Creole record collection. This spurred his growing passion as he took on the fiddle, piano, harmonica, ukulele and guitar. Despite comparisons to other greats in his field, such as Willie McTell and Lemon Jefferson he has a strong contemporary following of his own as proven by the heaving and eager crowd.
Laying on the Southern delights thick with bawdy but endearing humour between songs, he has the room on his side and singing along to ‘Oh When The Saints’ just two songs in. All in the name of fun, but Bristol is feeling its gospel side.
Just as you’d imagine at sunset on a dusty porch, he sings about love, hate and never missing your water until your well runs dry. The ‘Shaving Cream’ song had everyone joining in with huge smiles on their faces. It’s a cute and funny ditty that covers its cheeky side by using the phrase that everyone shouts with fondness.
Not too much raucousness though. Ever the reserved British bunch, he comments on how hard it is to get people moving. “I need y’all to shake ya ass, I need y’all to rock steady”, he drawled. In the eventual need to get loose, inhibitions were shaken and dance shapes were thrown. Blind Boy concluded that the crowd “dance like Hawaiians” and burst into a Hawaiian / Appalachian mash-up, rousing those crazy kids even more.
There’s no shortage of acts trying to recreate this raw and authentic sound of The South, but if you’ve got it, you’ve got it. With a very small amount of recorded material and building a reputation through word of mouth, plus a few live YouTube clips, Blind Boy is the embodiment of the original bluesman. And with a huge smile on his face throughout the set, it’s hard not to be Southern charmed.
Watch him perform ‘Broke & Hungry’ here: