Lil' Jimmy Reed with Ben Levin


Blues Stage

Sun Jun 18 3:30P-5:00P

Immerse yourself in the Blues with original Louisiana bluesman, Lil' Jimmy Reed, and Cincinnati blues pianist, Ben Levin! Li’l Jimmy Reed is the last of the original Louisiana bluesmen. The blues was born in the deep South, a wild outcry against segregation, poverty and hard, back-breaking work. Sadly most of the great musicians who created this vibrant, influential music have passed on, leaving only their recordings to testify to their genius. However, one man, whose career stretches back to the time when rhythm ‘n’ blues was just bursting onto the popular music scene, is still with us and playing better than ever. Leon Atkins, better known as Lil’ Jimmy Reed, is the real deal, as will be attested to by anyone who has been privileged to hear his stinging guitar work, gritty vocals and haunting harmonica. A tall charismatic figure, Lil’ Jimmy epitomizes the classic Louisiana down-home blues tradition. Born in the late nineteen-thirties in a shot-gun shack in Hardwood, LA, a small cotton and sawmill town on the Mississippi River, Leon grew up near a club where every night he absorbed the wail of the blues from across the street. At six he had his own guitar, made from a cigar box, and by the time he was a teenager he was proficient on both guitar and harmonica, playing local clubs around Baton Rouge. Filling-in one night for blues star Jimmy Reed earned him the sobriquet Lil’ Jimmy Reed and started him on the long path to success. ---- At only 23 years old, Ben Levin is already making his mark as a blues pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Ben has been nominated for a Blues Music Award and two Blues Blast Magazine Awards. Based in Cincinnati, OH, Ben has been playing 100 shows a year since he was 15 years old, embracing the authentic sound of his heroes such as Professor Longhair, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Spann, and Ray Charles. According to Bill Wilson from Reflections in Blue, “Ben Levin is GOOD…Learning at the feet of established masters and from the greatest recordings of all time; he has a deep love for the instrument and for the music.”

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Gahanna Ohio - Lil' Jimmy Reed with Ben Levin

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