Fellow: TJ Wheeler, Blues/Jazz & Roots Musician, Hampton Falls
Tj Wheeler has been described as everything from a national treasure to a one man Juke Joint. One thing’s for certain, he’s a living library of Blues, Jazz and overall roots music who walks the walk that he talks and sings. Wheeler considers the honor of being awarded the 2013 NH State Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship award (for the second time) a crowning achievement in his four decade long career.
His material includes songs from the Underground Rail Road, Old time String & Jug Bands, Delta Blues, the sacred songs of the Civil Rights movement, to New Orleans Traditional Jazz, Uptown R & B, as well as his own bedrock of Blues & Jazz original compositions. All of the above musical gumbo he brings to life through his inspirational & interactive performances and education programs. Wheeler’s history & stories behind the music are as captivating as his passionate performances. For 40 years he’s demonstrated how Blues & Jazz can be exciting and relative entry point into a milieu of school subjects.
Through his award winning education program Hope, Heroes & the Blues, Wheeler has worked with roughly 450,000 students across the globe in partnership with organizations such as Partners of the Americas, VSA, the Eisenhower Center, Spaulding Youth Center, and the Raising the Blues Foundation.
Wheeler performs on a plethora of instruments including the 1 string Mississippi Diddley Bow, Cigar box guitar, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin, Ukulele, National Resonator Steel & 7 string Arch top guitar as well as Piano, Talking Drum, Harmonica, vocals, tap shoes and kazoo! As a young man he learned from such Blues & Jazz luminaries as Bukka White, Furry Lewis, Lenny Breau & Danny Barker. Wheeler’s performed with Pinetop Perkins, Nappy Brown, Wild Bill Davis, Tiny Grimes, Benny Waters, Roswell Rudd, Lazy Lester, Honey Boy Edwards, Eddie Kirkland, Tommy Ridgley, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Eddie Bo, Might Sam McClain, Louisiana Red & Ruby Wilson to name a few. Over his 40 year career he’s also shared stages with such legends as BB King, the Neville Brothers, Muddy Waters, Taj Mahal, the Jazz Crusaders and Odetta.
August 28, 2013