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John Dee Holeman performs Nov. 21 at Appalachian

BOONE—Blues musician John Dee Holeman will perform Nov. 21 at Appalachian State University in Plemmons Student Union’s Beacon Heights Room. His performances will begin at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. In addition, Holman will perform at 5 p.m. in Belk Library and Information Commons Room 421.

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Holeman’s campus visit is sponsored by Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Black and Global Banjo Roots and the National Endowment for the Arts.

According to the musician’s MySpace page, he has been based in Durham since 1954. He was born in Orange County in 1929 and began singing and picking guitar as a 14 year old. Holeman cites Blind Boy Fuller as the musician who taught him how to play – he learned guitar from listening to Fuller’s recordings and by performing with musicians who had learned first-hand from Fuller. Later, as a teen, he began entertaining at birthday parties, wood choppings, house rent parties and corn shuckings. Once in Durham, he began performing with pianist Fris Holloway.

Holeman received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and a North Carolina Heritage Award in 1994. He still performs frequently in and around North Carolina on weekends.

He toured nationally and internationally in the 1980s, giving concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York and Wolf Trap in Washington, D.C. He has performed abroad for the United States’ Information Agency’s Arts America program. In 1988, Holeman recorded the album “Bull Durham Blues” with Grammy Award-winning musician Taj Mahal, who played guitar, bass, piano and hambone on the album. Holeman’s other releases include “John Dee Holeman & the Waifs Band” and “You Got to Lose, You Can’t Win All the Time.” He also has an album on the Washington, D.C.-based Mapleshade Records label, “John Dee Holeman and Sunnyland Slim: Blues Legends Live.”

His “Bull Durham Blues” was reissued on Music Maker Relief Foundation Records, based in North Carolina, in 1999.

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