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Playing Chikan

Where some people might see a pile of junk, James “Super Chikan” Johnson sees guitars. Discarded gas cans, lawn mowers, car parts, and even a ceiling fan have provided the raw material for the Mississippi bluesman’s instruments. And his songs are as singular as the axes he plays them on. Growing up in Delta cotton country, Super Chikan got his moniker from imitating the yard birds squawking around the family spread, and his penchant for homemade instruments from his grandpa’s diddley bo. Another influence was his uncle, blues great Big Jack Johnson. A joyous celebration of his rural childhood and the blues artists who inspired him, Welcome to Sunny Bluesville, Super Chikan’s latest joint, combines acoustic and electric tracks performed with deep affection. Having won Traditional Blues Album of the Year at 2010’s Blues Music Awards ceremony, Super Chikan has been nominated this year as Traditional Male Artist and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.

Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Riverwalk Blues Festival, which takes place all weekend at Bubier Park, 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $20 Sunday. Call 786-380-0866, or visit
Sun., Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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Bob Weinberg

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