Macon native Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater takes the stage in Clearwater, New Jersey on Saturday, April 12.
During the 1950s, Chicago’s West Side was a breeding ground for some of the world’s greatest bluesmen: Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Freddie King and others. With his fierce guitar playing, soulful and emotive vocals and wild stage shows, Clearwater is now part of that list.(Read the Full Story Here)
Indeed, between his slashing left-handed guitar work, his room-filling vocals, his self-defined “rock-a-blues” style (a forceful mix of blues, rock, rockabilly, country and gospel), his boundless energy and even his signature Indian headdress, Clearwater is among the practitioners of the West Side blues working today.
The blues world recognized his talent by giving him the Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues - Male Artist of the Year in 2001.
Born Edward Harrington in Macon, Mississippi, Clearwater and his family moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1948. With music from blues to gospel to country and western surrounding him from an early age, Clearwater taught himself to play guitar (left-handed and upside down), and began performing with various gospel groups, including the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. He moved to Chicago in 1950 and his first music jobs were with gospel groups playing in local churches. By 1953, as Guitar Eddy, he was making a strong name for himself, working the South and West Side bars regularly. He recorded his first single, “Hill Billy Blues,” in 1958.