Alvin Youngblood Hart
Born: March 2, 1963, Oakland, California
Alvin Youngblood Hart is a contemporary bluesman whose original music and cover interpretations are infused with a pure Delta blues influence. A native of California, Hart’s family roots are in Mississippi, and he grew up visiting the area annually, falling in love with the rural lifestyle and hearing stories of blues patriarch Charley Patton. The influences of legendary bluesmen such as Bukka White, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters can be heard in Hart’s many classic interpretations of blues standards as well as his original material. His additional influences include the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King as well as formidable vocalists Jimmy Witherspoon and Jimmy Reed. While living in California as a teenager, Hart taught himself to play guitar and spent a lot of time immersed in the Delta blues and its history. Ironically, his performance career began when he just happened to be stationed in Natchez, Mississippi as a member of the Coast Guard. He eventually began playing gigs in California, and ended up with a record deal after a stint opening for Taj Mahal brought him wider visibility. In 1997 Youngblood won the W.C. Handy award for Best New Artist.
Essential listening: “Devil Got My Woman,” “Things “Bout Coming My Way,” “That Kate Adams Jive,” “Jinx Blues,” “Motherless Child”