Artists

Guitar Granny Trucks On

For Atlanta blues guitarist, Beverly Watkins, performing live has been her life for a long time. Playing the blues comes to her naturally, but for many people, seeing her can be a bit of a shock. Why’s that? Well she is a blues playing, 76 year old grandmother, and she has truly seen it all.

Not content to just rip her solos, she still employs a few guitar showwoman’s tricks, such as whipping her guitar behind her head. She has won awards, traveled the world and opened for some of the biggest names in music along with her band: “We used to open up for James Brown; we’ve opened up for Ray Charles … Aretha Franklin.”

It was not an easy road for Watkins, an African-American woman, growing up in the Jim Crow South. The Georgia native’s grandparents were sharecroppers, and she remembers “barn parties” during the yearly harvest season. She was exposed to rock and blues music in the 1940s; bands would play on the “rub board,” fiddle and guitar.

When she was 8, her aunt gave her a guitar, and she hasn’t been without one since. She played in several bands led by blues singer Piano Red. As a female guitarist, she feels she was both a draw and constantly forced to prove herself.

Below we have shared a great performance of Beverly performing the song, “Back in Business.” And to read more about Beverly Watkins and her long career, head on over to CNN. Enjoy!


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