Blues legend Eric Bibb will play Cork in May. Photo: Swell Publicity

Blues ‘troubadour’ to ride into Leeside

For a city called home by the late guitar hero Rory Gallagher, Cork doesn’t see many bona fide international blues legends roll into town, but that’s about to change.

This May, New York native Eric Bibb will be sliding into Leeside, on horseback we hope, to bring his humble art and warm energy to Cyprus Avenue where he will round off his tour of the UK and Ireland.

Preserving the best traditions of pre-war blues, 2 time Grammy Award nominee Bibb, 71, has given the world 5 decades of content spanning truth, founded always upon his convictions based in the values of the civil rights movement of the '60s.

With multiple Blues Foundation awards, Bibb is known and revered globally for having carved his own musical destiny with honesty and power. His father, the late Leon Bibb, was an activist, actor, and folk singer who marched at Selma with Dr Martin Luther King.

Eric’s youth was spent immersed in the folk scene. Names like Dylan, Baez, and Seeger were visitors to his home. He was deeply influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, and Taj Mahal – who makes a guest appearance on his new album.

Last week, Bibb released his latest album, ‘Ridin’, the title track of which pays homage to the freedom riders of 1961 who risked their lives to help African Americans in their fight to win the right to vote.

“’Ridin’ is inspired by the brave freedom riders who travelled from northern cities to the deep south, risking their lives, helping African American citizens register to vote,” explains Bibb.

He continues: “Another source of inspiration was a painting from 1862, ‘A Ride for Liberty’, by Eastman Johnson, depicting an African American family escaping slavery on horseback. We’re still riding..."

Bibb’s collaborator and producer Glen Scott adds: “Receiving WhatsApp notes from Eric with guitar motifs, song ideas and more-often-than-not completed songs is something I get very excited and inspired by. ‘Ridin' was no different. This song drew from all of the blues, soul, rock energies that encompass Eric as a modern-day blues troubadour and got to me even in its lo-fi state.”

The follow-up to his multiple award-winning, critically acclaimed 2021 album, ‘Dear America’, Bibb’s new album is produced by Glen Scott and features Habib Koite, Taj Mahal, Steve Jordan, Tommy Sims, Harrison Kennedy, Russell Malone, and Jontavious Willis, as well as a host of session musicians and singers from around the globe.

Bibb will play Cyprus Avenue on 29 May. Tickets are now on sale and expected to sell out fast, so blues fans are encouraged to book ASAP.

His performance in Cork will mark the end of an extensive 19 show tour of the UK and Ireland.