Born: August 16, 1951 Primary Instrument: Guitar, acoustic
Eric was born In New York into a musical family. Eric's father, Leon Bibb, is a trained singer who sang in musical theatre and made a name for himself as part of the 1960's New York folk scene. His uncle was the world famous jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Family friends included Pete Seeger, Odetta and actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, Eric's godfather.
Eric was given his first steel-string guitar aged seven. By Junior High School, Eric was consumed by music. I would cut school and claim I was sick said Bibb. When everyone would leave the house I would whip out all the records and do my own personal DJ thing all day long, playing Odetta, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Josh White.
At 16 years old, Eric's father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his TV talent show Someone New. Eric's early musical heroes were from his father's band, and included Bill Lee, (father of director Spike) who appeared on Eric's album “Me To You,” years later.
In 1969, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company at St. Mark's place in New York and went on to study Psychology and Russian at Colombia University. After a while it just didn't make much sense at all. I didn't understand why I was at this Ivy League School with all these kids who didn't know anything about what I knew about.
Aged 19, Eric left for Paris, where a meeting with guitarist Mickey Baker focused his interest in blues guitar. When he later moved to Sweden, Bibb found a creative environment which took him back to Greenwich Village during the heyday of the folk revival. Settling in Stockholm, Bibb immersed himself in pre-war blues and continued to write and perform. I began meeting and playing with local musicians as well as newcomers from all over the world. There was a budding world Music scene going on before it became a market concept.
The album “Good Stuff” was released in 1997 on Opus 3 and American label Earthbeat! and led to Eric signing to the British based Code Blue label. Eric's only release on Code Blue was “Me to You,” featuring appearances from some of Bibb's personal heroes in Pops and Mavis Staples, and Taj Mahal (who also worked with Bibb on the Grammy- nominated children's record, “Shakin' A Tailfeather”). The album furthered Bibb's international reputation and was followed by tours of the UK, USA, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany. In the late 90’s Eric joined forces with his then manager Alan Robinson, to form Manhaton Records, in Britain. The albums “Home to Me,” (1999) “Roadworks,” (2000) and “Painting Signs” (2001) followed, as did another Opus 3 release, “Just Like Love.”
”A Family Affair” - The first ever album recorded together by father and son - Leon & Eric Bibb. “Natural Light” followed then “Friends,” - 15 tracks featuring Eric duetting with friends and musicians he has met on his travels such as Taj Mahal, Odetta, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Mamadou Diabate and Djelimady Toukara
Eric's talent for both performing and songwriting has been recognized with a Grammy Nomination (for “Shakin' a Tailfeather”) and 4 WC Handy nominations (for the albums “Spirit and the Blues,” “Home To Me,” and “A Ship Called Love;” for 'Kokomo' as Best Acoustic Blues Song of the Year, and for Best Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year). His songs have featured on TV shows such as BBC TV's 'Eastenders' and ‘Casualty’, and 'The District' in the USA. Eric's version of I Heard the Angels Singin' was included in the feature film The Burial Society and Eric appears on Jools Holland's double platinum-selling album Small World, Big Band, singing his own composition All That You Are.
In recent years, the international troubadour has definitely not been traveling on the ‘Slow Train’. In 2005 Eric released “A Ship Called Love” and toured the world as ever, including a major US tour with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and Robben Ford. A “Ship Called Love” was nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year in the 2006 Blues Music Awards.
“Diamond Days” was released in 2006 and has become the biggest selling album of Eric’s lengthy career, receiving universal critical acclaim. The album entered both Australian (National) and US charts (Blues). Eric has been nominated for Acoustic Artist of the Year in the 2008 Blues Music Awards.
Since the release of “Diamond Days” there have been appearances on national TV in Australia (including a one hour live concert broadcast), France, Finland, Sweden and the UK (including Later with Jools Holland). The track Shine On garnered strong airplay in the US on Triple A format stations. Shine On has also been used as the opening theme for the BBC drama series Sea Of Souls. BBC Radio 2, the UK’s largest radio station, supported Eric with several prime-time interviews and extensive airplay. In this same 12-month period Eric performed over 130 shows across 3 continents. Some of the highlights included show-stopping performances at legendary venues/festivals such as Glastonbury Festival (UK); BB Kings, New York (USA); The Bluebird Café, Nashville (USA); Port Fairy Folk Festival (Australia); Nice Jazz Festival (France); Edmonton Folk Festival (Canada) and, Sommarscen, Malmo (Sweden).
2010 saw the release of Booker's Guitar, his tribute to the music of Bukka White, played on the famous bluesman's original guitar, hence the name of the record.