We are delighted to announce Eric Bibb to headline Sunday at the festival.
Blues meets gospel and soul when Eric Bibb sings from a beautifully realised repertoire of soulful, gospel-infused folk and blues; a melding of traditional rootsy American style with a subtle contemporary sensibility.
Those who have followed Bibb’s career, know that Bibb owes much of his success to the subtle balance he has achieved between tradition and modernity. This is true of his music, and even more so of his lyrics, as he treats themes such as love, the universality of man, and his belief in mankind with a sincerity that never sounds jejune, a simplicity that’s never trivial, an empathy that carefully avoids pathos.
‘The heir to the roots and blues throne created by Richie Havens and Taj Mahal’ - New Yorker
‘A voice to die for!’ - The Times
Grounded in the folk and blues tradition, Eric Bibb’s sound is unique, no matter which direction he chooses. Never trend-led, never dictated to by commercial concerns, not chasing chart positions or volume sales. Eric follows his heart and it hasn’t steered him wrong yet, propelling the blues into a new century.
In a career that has spanned fifty years Eric Bibb’s music has been called “classy and consistent”, “uplifting” and “inspiring.” There is a spiritual aspect indelibly etched into its core. “Almost gospel, but without the preaching!” Eric says “Even if I branch off in different directions, I try to stay close to my roots. My style and sound was never consciously designed, but I tend to gravitate towards certain music. Over the years this has gelled into some kind of a brand.”
Eric Bibb was back in the studio in September and October working on a new album - ‘Migration Blues’- for French label Dixiefrog Records. For this project Eric is joined by US-born, Canadian-based multi-instrumentalist Michael Jerome Browne and French harmonica virtuoso JJ Milteau.
Eric has performed for Nelson Mandela, for the King of Sweden and other international dignitaries. He plays an average of 150 shows a year and has toured in circa 25 countries. Bibb has released 38 albums – his debut was “Ain’t It Grand” in 1972 – and he has been a part of many collaborations on record and on stage.
Eric is one of a growing number of contemporary artists keeping traditional country blues and related American folk music alive and evolving. As a singer-songwriter he’s ﬁnding it easier than ever to attract and reach new audiences, especially among younger people. “There’s an increased interest in Americana (which, of course, includes blues) and a lot of younger players are discovering him through YouTube. He’s managed to stay current without veering from my musical path.
A gifted guitar player, who heeds the advice he got when he was just 11years-old from Bob Dylan, at one of his family’s star-studded house parties; keep the guitar playing simple. His work on guitar is often under-stated; sensitive brush strokes instead of dollops of musical paint. But he’s got the chops when he needs ‘em; his exceptional ﬁnger-picking style has perhaps prompted a few players to consider having a large bonﬁre!
To label Eric Bibb as a Bluesman is not telling the full story. Is he a folk artist? Soul man? A gospel guy? Yes; all of that and more. A progressive preservationist, among a handful of traders of the lost art, in the company of the likes of Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Guy Davis, among others. His music rooted in tradition, but with a large helping of contemporary sensibility to make it retro AND relevant. Hence a wide age range at his concerts and his fan base. Original Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, who hosts the weekly syndicated American radio show “House of Blues Radio Hour” declared to Eric: “You are what the blues in the new century should be about.”
Eric has recorded and performed with Taj Mahal, Pops and Mavis Staples, Cyndee Peters, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Hubert Sumlin, Rory Block, Maria Muldaur, Bonnie Raitt, Mamadou Diabate, Toumani Diabate, Djelimady Tounkara, Amar Sundy, Glen Scott, Staffan Astner, Chuck and Darick Campbell, Dirk Powell, Solo Cissokho, Cedric Watson, Larry Crockett, Andre De Lange, Jerry Douglas, Manuel Galban, Big Daddy Wilson, Jools Holland, J.J. Milteau, Micheal Jerome Browne and many more including Habib Koite, who Eric toured with during 2012/13.
There is one mainstay song in an Eric Bibb set which could perhaps be seen as his theme tune; a song his Mother advised him never to leave out of his show: “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down,” penned by Eric and Charlotte Höglund, from his stunning 1997 Opus 3 CD, “Good Stuff.” Uber conscious that his recordings are not just a catalogue of work; they are Eric’s musical legacy and absolutely stand the test of time.
Situated in the heart of old Rye, and providing marvelous views over the surrounding area and coast from its tower, St Mary’s has stood for the best part of 1000 years and is home to the oldest still-functioning pendulum clock in the country . It has some fine stained glass, including a window designed by the pre-Raphaelite Burne-Jones in the north aisle. St Mary’s provides a wonderful setting for our live events throughout the festival and has hosted artists including Antonio Forcione, Sarah Jane Morris, Ian Shaw and Ola Onabule.
Facilities at St Mary’s Church
Please note all performances will have an interval of approximately 20 minutes.
St Mary’s Church