Howlin’ Wolf Symposium and Concert
Monday, Sept. 19, 2011
Symposium, Wilson Library (Free and open to the public)
5:30 p.m. Keynote with Peter Guralnick
6:30 p.m. Peter Guralnick and Knox Phillips in conversation
Concert, Great Hall, Student Union
Purchase concert tickets from Carolina Union Box Office ($5 for students; $12.50 for others)
Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203
The life of legendary blues singer Howlin’ Wolf will be celebrated in a symposium and concert Sept. 19, 2011, at UNC. The Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Special Collections Library will sponsor the evening devoted to the influential musician that Rolling Stone Magazine named one of the “100 greatest artists of all time.”
The concert, featuring blues standouts Alvin Youngblood Hart, Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Jody Williams, and Henry Gray—all of whom knew or were inspired by Howlin’ Wolf—will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Student Union. Tickets will be sold through the Carolina Union Box Office.
Prior to the concert, a free public symposium will take place in Wilson Library. At 5:30 p.m., blues scholar Peter Guralnick will discuss Howlin’ Wolf’s life and music. Guralnick is currently writing a book about Sam Phillips, the Sun Records founder who discovered not only Howlin’ Wolf, but also Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash.
Guralnick will then be joined for a Q&A conversation with Phillips’s son Knox Phillips, who learned the music business from his father before embarking on his own career as an engineer, producer, and studio owner.
The concert is the first in a series of blues tributes hosted by the Southern Folklife Collection. On Nov. 17, a panel discussion and concert will remember guitarist Rev. Gary Davis. A third event is planned in Feb. 2012 for Eddie James “Son” House.
Howlin’ Wolf, who died in 1976, was born Chester Arthur Burnett in White Station, Miss., in 1910. Known both for his powerful voice and imposing 300-pound frame, he was a seminal figure in American blues music and a pioneer of electric blues.
Howlin’ Wolf’s best-known recordings include “Smokestack Lightning,” “Killing Floor,” and “How Many More Years.”
The Southern Folklife Collection holds a number of Howlin’ Wolf’s original recordings, along with deep collections of commercial recordings and archival collections on the blues. It is also the repository for the Peter Guralnick Collection.