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Catfish Keith - A Brief Biography

1967Cutting-edge blues singer, songwriter and bottleneck slide guitarist Catfish Keith has established himself as one of the most exciting country blues performers of our time. Catfish's innovative style of foot-stomping, deep delta blues and American roots music has spellbound audiences the world over. He has reinvented the guitar with great power and artistry, and brings a rare beauty and vitality to his music. Handing down the tradition, Catfish continues his lifelong journey as one of the brightest lights in acoustic blues and roots music.

A two-time W. C. Handy Blues Award nominee for BEST ACOUSTIC BLUES ALBUM, and 2008 inductee into the BLUES HALL OF FAME, Catfish has fourteen NUMBER ONE independent radio chart-topping albums to his credit, and packs houses all over the world with his dynamic stage show. The 30-year veteran has toured the USA, UK and Europe dozens of times to wide acclaim, headlining major music festivals, and appearing with legends John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Robert Cray, Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal , Leo Kottke, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Johnny Shines and many, many others.

Catfish Keith was born in East Chicago, Indiana on February 9th, 1962. He first heard blues as a child while living in "The Harbor," a working-class, steel mill town. When he picked up the guitar as a teenager, he was inspired to pursue the deep delta blues after being converted by Son House. Following high school in Davenport, Iowa, Catfish hit the road, embarking on a lifelong quest as a solo performer of American roots music.

His travels took him to the Caribbean, where in the Virgin Islands he crewed briefly on a sailboat, soaking up a wealth of island sounds. Rhythms of Jazz, Calypso, Reggae and the music of Joseph Spence gave Catfish inspiration to reach new musical heights. Though he grew up on the Mississippi River, Catfish earned his monicker from a West Indian lobster diving partner who, after seeing him swim, dubbed him "Catfish-Swimmin'-Around," and "Catfish-Steel-Guitar-Man."

In 1984, at age 22, Catfish recorded his first album (on Kicking Mule), Catfish Blues. The all-solo debut established him as a new force in acoustic blues, reaching Number One on independent worldwide radio charts. This enabled Catfish to play and tour continually, learning directly from legends such as Johnny Shines, David Honeyboy Edwards, Jesse Mae Hemphill and Henry Townsend.

Since then, Catfish has made a fourteen solo albums, including his latest, Put on a Buzz (on Fish Tail). He constantly tours the world, is a major endorser for National Reso-Phonic Guitars, and his music plays on top-rated TV shows in the USA and abroad. He’s also become a respected educator as well as performer, doing guitar workshops, master classes and blues in the schools throughout the the world.

"Known to work his audiences to the bone, Catfish Keith is the real acoustic blues king!"
-Rock 'n' Reel

"Pulling Blues Out of The Sky, Catfish lays down a foot-stomping groove. One of the most exciting guitarists of any genre." -Acoustic Guitar

"One of the finest acoustic bluesmen in America. Every fan of acoustic blues should have all of his discs in their collection. Every record label in America should be engaged in a bidding war. This man is flat-out spectacular!" -Big City Blues

"Catfish bends entire chords as well as the neck and body of his guitar to wrench emotion from his songs. Knock yourself out!” -Guitar Player

“For Catfish Keith, a resonator guitar is an organic extension of his body, an instrument he plays intuitively and with absolute authority. Manhandling Delta vamps, artfully finger picking rag-influenced Piedmont patterns and languidly chording ballads, Catfish is one of the premier pre-war style guitarists recording today.” - Living Blues

Official Website: Catfish Keith

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