Bringing the Blues Back
After a three-decade career providing percussion and other background sounds for iconic artists such as Ike and Tina Turner, Bill Withers, and John Prine, Big Poppa E felt a change coming. Thus, in 2000, he switched tracks, returning to his roots in the blues with the release of his second album, The First Time Out. It was a ten-track disc of original material that mined E's intimate knowledge of Delta, jazz, and gospel traditions. Moreover, it helped establish the 61-year-old guitarist, singer, and mouth harpist as one of South Florida's pre-eminent bluesmen, setting the standard for a period of constant gigging, recording, and growth. A short time later, in 2003, Big Poppa E founded the Miami-based independent label Black Owl Music, creating a home for work by local and national artists including Iko Iko, Deblois, and Diablo Dimes as well as five of his own albums. All the while, E has kept up a nonstop touring schedule, constantly hitting South Florida live-music spots such as Tobacco Road, Dada, and the Downtowner. Every Sunday, he and he E Band visit Tryst, bringing the blues back with an early-evening set of deep and gritty tunes.
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