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N.C. bluesman Lightnin’ Wells to perform at Ozarks on Feb. 17

January 26, 2016
By cnp
Posted in Community Events

North Carolina musician Mike "Lightnin'" Wells will perform an acoustic blues concert at University of the Ozarks on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

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Mike "Lightnin’" Wells will perform at Ozarks on Wednesday, February 17.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. in Rowntree Auditorium, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. The event., which is part of the university’s 2015-16 Walton Arts & Ideas Series, is free and open to the public.

According to his website, Wells "breathes new life into the vintage tunes of the 1920s and depression era America employing various appropriate stringed instruments in a dynamic style which he has developed in over 30 years of performing experience."

In addition to blues, Wells’ concerts also feature a variety of early Americana, country, jazz, gospel, and old-time music.

Raised in eastern North Carolina, Wells learned to play harmonica as a young child and taught himself to play the guitar as he developed a strong interest in traditional blues and folk music. His many years of public performance began in Chapel Hill, N.C. in the early 1970s. During the following decades he has presented his brand of acoustic blues throughout North Carolina, the United States and Europe.

Wells produced the first commercial recordings of the N.C. blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton and George Higgs. He has traveled and performed extensively with these musicians and has documented their backgrounds and musical histories for future generations. He is also a life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the piedmont blues tradition which once thrived in the Carolinas, including such artists as Blind Boy Fuller, Rev. Gary Davis and Elizabeth Cotton; deceased musicians whose influence seems only to grow with time.

He has released five solo CD projects: Bull Frog Blues (1995), Ragtime Millionaire (1998), Ragged But Right (2002), Shake ‘Em on Down (2008), and Jump Little Children: Old Songs For Young Folks (2008). Ragtime Millionaire was reissued in 2010.

According to his website, "Wells remains an insatiable student and researcher, studying the various forms of American roots music from bygone eras. He plays a number of instruments besides the guitar including the harmonica, ukulele, mandolin and banjo.

"With his experience, knowledge and well-honed performance skills, Lightnin’ Wells has established himself at the forefront of the traditional blues revival. His musical style is personal and energetic yet remains true to the original root form. His goal is to entertain and educate using a variety of sources, influences and techniques to express his dedication, respect and pleasure in presenting this unique American art form."

One recent reviewer said, "Whether you look to performers for inspiration, education, virtuosity, or sheer entertainment, Lightnin’ Wells delivers all the above, every single time."

For more information on the concert, please contact the U of O Office of Public Relations at 479-979-1433.