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John Dee Holeman

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John Dee Holeman (born April 4, 1929) is an American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His music includes elements of Texas blues, R&B and jazz. In his younger days he was also known for his proficiency as a ‘buckdancer’.

Holeman was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States, but since 1954 he has been based in Durham, North Carolina. Inspired by Blind Boy Fuller, Holeman was both singing and playing his guitar at local parties and other events by his mid-teens. By his mid-twenties Holeman had bought his first electric guitar and relocated to Durham, where he played with the pianist, Fris Holloway. The duo became adept at the Juba dance, also known as the hambone or buckdance.
During his working lifetime, Holeman had full-time employment was a construction worker, and music was a part-time pursuit. However, Holeman toured both in the United States and overseas in the 1980s, which included performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and abroad on behalf of the United States Information Agency’s ‘Arts America’ program. In 1980, Holeman played at the 42nd National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap, Virginia. He recorded his debut album, Bull Durham Blues in 1988, which featured Taj Mahal. It was re-released on the Music Maker label in 1999. Also in 1988, the National Endowment for the Arts presented Holeman with a National Heritage Fellowship.
In 1994, Holeman was presented with the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. A song he co-wrote with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, “Chapel Hill Boogie”, was featured on the 2007 Grammy Award nominated album, 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads.
In 2007, Music Maker also issued the John Dee Holeman & the Waifs Band album, where Holeman was backed by the Australian folk rock group, The Waifs.

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