Interview with J. Michael King, Greenville, South Carolina

Copy the text below to embed this resource

Main contributor
J. Michael King
J. Michael King (Greenville, South Carolina)

J. Michael King is a composer, writer, and accomplished Piedmont blues musician. He plays in the time-honored style of bluesman Reverend Gary Davis, a Laurens County native who played throughout Greenville and Spartanburg counties during the 1930s and 40s. The guitar stylings of South Carolina bluesmen like Blind Willie Walker, Josh White, and Pink Anderson are central influences. He apprenticed under Ernie Hawkins, who studied with Gary Davis in the mid-1960s. King has composed and performed music for four documentaries by filmmaker Stan Woodward, including Puddin' Pot, a short film produced in 2002 exploring the community-based foodways tradition. He was instrumental in co-producing a recording of Piedmont blues classics entitled Blues Haiku. King also produced his own albums, Carolina Bar-B-Q and Meat and Three, two collections of Piedmont blues and string band music featuring tunes about South Carolina's distinctive cuisine. King plays frequently with fellow musicians and Folk Heritage Award recipients Steve McGaha and Freddie Vanderford and has presented the South Carolina blues story to thousands of students and tourists throughout the state. He conducts educational programs about South Carolina Piedmont blues for Southside High School and the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center in Pickens, and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. King received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2018.

Interviewed by Holly Hobbs, 10/14/2020.
Holly Hobbs
Music; United States; Covid-19 Pandemic
Greenville, South Carolina
Musicians in America during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Society for Ethnomusicology

Access Restrictions

This item is accessible by: the public.