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Focus On: Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb Eric Bibb is a legitimate heir to the folk music tradition. The nephew of jazz pianist John Lewis and son of folk singer Leon Bibb, Bibb the younger grew up in the fertile ground of New York in the '60s surrounded by musical legends including Pete Seeger, Odetta, Richie Havens and Bob Dylan. Bibb started playing the guitar as a child. While enjoying the pop and rhythm and blues music of the day, he also developed a taste for the traditional sounds of the blues, jazz and roots music he discovered in, among other places, his father's record collection. He studied the classics at New York's High School of Music and Art and Columbia University.

After leaving college to pursue music as a career, Bibb moved to Paris, and then onto Sweden where he found a folk scene reminiscent of an earlier Greenwich Village. He continued his exploration of the Blues, focusing on the pre-War era, and developing his songwriting and performing skills.

Bibb has built a successful career, both on stage and as a songwriter, drawing from music influences that include Taj Mahal, Leadbelly, Judy Collins, Josh White and his father, Leon. Recent CD releases from Bibb feature collaborations with Maria Muldaur and Rory Block (Sisters and Brothers), his dad (A Family Affair) and the 2004 Telarc recording, Friends, which offers collaborations with Guy Davis, Ruthie Foster, Mamadou Diabate, Kristina Olsen and others.


Eric's interview

In an extensive interview, singer/songwriter Eric Bibb joins Folk Alley Producer Joe Gunderman in a discussion of the past, present and future of folk, Blues and other traditional musical forms. Bibb talks about his father (folk singer Leon Bibb), growing up during the fertile New York folk revival, becoming a student of early Blues, living in Sweden, and being inspired by and working with a new generation of artists.

Bibb and Gunderman talk about staying the course and building a career over a lifetime. Bibb describes his journey as a performer and songwriter that included time spent living and discovering the Blues in Sweden.
   Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (10:57)

Bibb gives his take on the historical aspects of African Americans and their relationships with Blues and other African–and rural–based musical forms.
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Growing up among musicians – Bibb talks about his personal connection to the folk revival and some of his earliest influences: his family, Odetta, Judy Collins, Richie Havens and a young man named Bob Dylan who offered the 11 year-old sage advice.
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Bibb tells Gunderman about meeting Maria Muldaur and teaming up with Rory Block for Sisters and Brothers.
   Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (7:16)

A Family Affair, Bibb's album collaboration with his father Leon, was prompted in part by a joint appearance of father and son on WKSU's holiday folk special, Ornaments & Icing. Program producer Gunderman accepts some credit and talks with Bibb about the unique experience of creating work with a famous parent.
   Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (6:34)

Actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, a friend of Leon Bibb, was Eric Bibb's godfather. Bibb previews a new project he's working on with his dad that celebrates Robeson's music and life.
   Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (2:48)

On Friends, Bibb's most recent Telarc release, Bibb is joined on a series of collaborations with a wide range of artists, including Guy Davis, Ruthie Foster, Kristina Olsen and Mamadou Diabate. He outlines how he chose the particular musicians and describes the recording process for the CD.
   Windows Media / Real Player / MP3 (5:26)


A live recording of Bibb performing Connected from his Friends CD.
   Windows Media / Real Player (4:28)

Saucer 'n Cup

Bibb performs Saucer 'n Cup, an original song that appeared on the Good Stuff album.
   Windows Media / Real Player (4:05)

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb & Joe Gunderman

Eric Bibb & Michael Jerome Browne

Eric Bibb & Michael Jerome Browne perform (photo by Brian Taylor)

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