A chance encounter with a fan after a show who was carrying a guitar that once belonged to legendary blues guitarist Booker White (who also happened to be B.B. King’s cousin, and gave him his first guitar), led to the birth of blues guitarist Eric Bibb’s latest album. Holding White’s guitar stirred the songwriter in Bibb, inspiring him to think of the untold stories the guitar has to tell. This encounter birthed “Booker’s Guitar,” the title track to an album acknowledging the legendary Delta blues guitarist.
Booker’s Guitar, the album, is a direct reflection of that simple, powerful blues sound, as it connects the dots from Robert Johnson, to Leadbelly, to John Lee Hooker, to Junior Kimbrough, to Bibb. “The time was finally upon me to make a statement about my relationship with the Delta blues tradition,” Bibb explains, “It was like a rite of passage, an initiation. I felt like this guitar finding its way to me was a signal that I had journeyed far enough to be able to make an honest tribute to the music of my heroes.”
Booker’s Guitar is exactly that; an exacting statement to the music that inspired him and a tribute to one of his musical heroes. The inclusion of the traditional tune “Wayfaring Stranger” and a cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” only serve to deepen the connections between Bibb and the past and cement his place in the long line of truly notable blues guitarists.
Booker’s Guitar is out now on Telarc.