Thanks to a major grant provided by the Riverboat Development Authority, the MVBS 2014/2015 Blues In The Schools Artists-in-Residence series will begin with New Orleans-based blues musician and educator Spencer Bohren. He will conduct workshops at schools and free open-to-the-public performances throughout the Quad-Cities during the week of September 8-12.
Spencer is scheduled for two free public performances:
• Tuesday September 9, 7:00 p.m.—River Music Experience, 2nd & Main Streets, Davenport IA
• Wednesday September 10, 7:00 p.m. - Co-op Records, 3727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline IL
Spencer Bohren was born and raised in Wyoming, where he sang in a family choir that performed in churches, schools, and nursing homes. He acquired his first guitar at the age of 14, and began his personal study of the blues by listening intently to all the music he could get his hands on and integrating it into his guitar playing. In 1968 this study became even more focused when he played in a duo called Eagle Ridin' Papa, named after a Big Bill Broonzy song and featuring the music of the Mississippi Sheiks, Bo Carter, Robert Johnson, Skip James, Snooks Eaglin, and dozens of other legendary blues musicians. Soon thereafter, Spencer moved to Denver, where he played with and learned from such blues legends as Bukka White and the Reverend Gary Davis.
Spencer moved to New Orleans in 1975, where he began performing regularly in popular clubs such as Tipitina's and the Absinthe Bar. Often he was paired with legends Professor Longhair, Earl King, Clifton Chenier, or James Booker. In 1983 Spencer began a seven-year tour all over the U.S. with his family in an Airstream trailer towed by his 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. He later toured extensively in Europe and Japan. In 1997 Spencer returned to New Orleans, which he considers his spiritual home. His first recording came out in 1984, and since then he's released numerous albums.