And then, in 2003, came out of nowhere this wild, funky, truck-driving, watermelon farming, hell-raisin’, Mensa genius guy named Bill Homans a.k.a. Watermelon Slim and everybody went “Who dat man?” Suddenly he was the next big thing. The new blues messiah had risen and nothing was ever the same.
At first you will think that there are not many more bluesmen left like him, until it dawns on you that there were really never any like him.
Talk about blasting complacency into the stratosphere, it was clear that this hardcore, gritty and ethereal traditional player was all that; and, he didn’t just make it up, he lived it! By now he had won all the blues accolades, awards and such that one could muster, climbing to the top of the charts and garnering well-deserved attention.
Unquestionably one of the major new forces in the blues, this fierce rabblerouser hit the ground running and issued a series of exciting CDs, some with full band and some mostly solo.
There are fancier instrumentalists and singers in the blues today. That’s not meant as a put-down. There were also musicians that were smoother and more skilled overall than Son House, in his time, but they could not muster his emotive sound. The differentiating factor for Watermelon Slim is that his music, rough-hewn and even crude on occasions, gets to the core essence of the blues. Watermelon Slim’s roots music, part blues, part American primitive, has a yearning and pain that translates to the feeling in his sound. He is the real deal that shakes you right down to the bone. He sings in a gravely, nasal wail with an oddly indefinable drawl, maybe combining North Carolina and Oklahoma, places where he has made his home. His songs are about the same things the blues have always been about- hardship, hard life, hard work, hard drinking, hard loving. All that and then some.
A true character of Americana, a man with a story to tell and a hell of a way to tell it, he is one of the most original and dynamic players in the traditional blues today.
Up close and personal, 2004, Southern Records