Wells will also be giving a house concert at the community center on Friday, October 21, following the downtown Boone homecoming parade. Tickets for the concert are $20 per person. The venue can seat 40 people, and due to the limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended. All open seats will be available at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m. on the night of the concert.
Lightning will strike at the Jones House on October 21, following the ASU Homecoming parade, when Mike “Lightnin'” Wells gives a performance of Piedmont blues and vintage tunes of the 1920s.
Wells grew up in eastern North Carolina, where he learned to play harmonica and guitar, while developing a strong interest in traditional blues and folk music. He started performing in the Chapel Hill area in the early 1970s, and he has not looked back since.
“Lightnin’ Wells came to Boone for our first Black Banjo Gathering in 2005, when he accompanied the legendary Algia Mae Hinton,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed. “He is one of the most knowledgeable players of the guitar styles of the southeast.”
Wells is particularly fascinated with the Piedmont blues tradition, which includes 1920s and 1930s recording artist, Blind Boy Fuller.
“Fuller got his start playing in Durham around the tobacco warehouses and auctions,” Wells says. “He put North Carolina on the blues map.”
Reverend Gary Davis was another important blues player active in Durham during the 1930s, and Wells has studied his style as well.
Fuller and Davis were not alive when Wells came onto the scene in the 1970s, but he sought after other North Carolina blues veterans, producing commercial recordings for Hinton, Big Boy Henry, and George Higgs.
Wells made his own first solo recording, Bull Frog Blues, in 1995, followed by Ragtime Millionaire in 1998. Wells had two more blues releases in 2002 and 2008, and he also recorded and album of children’s music in 2008.
Wells is also an avid researcher and teacher of American roots music. Well versed on the guitar, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo, he has taught classes and workshops all across the country. He is a regular faculty member at the renowned Augusta Heritage Center and Swannanoa Gathering. He served 10 years on the Music Maker Relief Foundation board of directors, and he is a North Carolina Arts Council and American Traditions National Roster through the Southern Arts Federation touring artist.
Wells will be giving a finger-style blues guitar master class on Thursday, October 20, at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Jones House is located at 604 W. King Street in downtown Boone. For more information on the workshop, performance or the Indoor Concert Series, including a complete schedule of performances, please visitwww.joneshouse.org or call 828.268.6280.