Got the blues? Or do you just need a small dose of the blues?
We’re a few months away from the second weekend in July when the Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise rolls into Uptown for its 20th year. And just down the road from Greenwood in Camden this coming weekend, you can get a large dose of the blues as Gary Erwin rolls out another Carolina Downhome Blues Festival.
But if you aren’t looking for a full weekend dose of great blues music and if travel isn’t in your weekend plans, you can get a good dose of the blues Friday night at Flynn’s on Maxwell from Professor Bottleneck, who will join Erwin in Camden the following day and Sunday.
Professor Bottleneck, who when he’s not performing the blues goes by his given name, Rolf Heimann, is returning to South Carolina. He’s been one of Erwin’s featured artists at various blues festivals organized and hosted by Erwin, aka Shrimp City Slim. He has performed in Greenwood before, but it’s been a few years — and albums — ago.
His accent is distinctively German and his blues performances are distinctively excellent. As a solo artist, he can play guitar, blues-harp and kazoo. He is respected as an expert on the slide and lap steel guitar.
What will you hear? Well, you’ll get a combination of the Professor’s interpretations of classics from the blues genre, original compositions and possibly some spirituals and old-time mountain songs.
He plays regularly throughout Germany, Holland and Belgium and has released eight CDs of mostly original numbers.
Born in 1948 in the smoldering ruins of post-war East Germany, he fell in love with American blues, swing and jazz via Armed Forces Radio. His formative years included playing in rock ‘n’ roll bands, attending high school in India, and later raising a family and becoming a high school philosophy teacher.
Just another white European playing the blues, his press materials ask? Let his song answer that one:
“When someone slaps your face or kicks you in the (edited), no matter if you’re black or white or pink — you got the blues!” That’s from his Rolling Bones CD and the song “White Boy Singing The Blues.”