John Dee Holeman Biography, Age, Wife, Career, Songs And Net Worth.

John Dee Holeman Biography

John Dee Holeman is an American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His music includes elements of Texas blues, R&B, and African-American string-band music. In his younger days, he was also known for his proficiency as a buck dancer.

John Dee Holeman Age

John Dee Holeman was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States on 4th April, 1929. He is 90 years as of 2019.

John Dee Holeman Family

Holeman was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Since 1954 he has been based in Durham, North Carolina.

John Dee Holeman Wife

There is no clear information about his marital status or about who he dated in his Youthful years.

John Dee Holeman Career

Holeman was singing and playing guitar at local parties and other events by the time he was in his mid-teens inspired by Blind Boy Fuller. By his mid-twenties, he had bought his first electric guitar and relocated to Durham, where he played with the pianist Fris Holloway. The duo became adept at the Juba dance, also known as the hambone or buckdance.

During his working lifetime, Holeman had full-time employment as a construction worker, and the music was a part-time pursuit. However, he toured in the United States and overseas in the 1980s, including performances at Carnegie Hall, and abroad on behalf of the United States Information Agency’s Arts America program.

A Photo of John Dee Holeman
John Dee Holeman Photo

In 1980, Holeman played at the 42nd National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap, Virginia. He has performed yearly at the Black Banjo Festival, in Boone, North Carolina. His first album, Bull City After Dark, was nominated for a W. C. Handy award (a predecessor of the Blues Music Awards).

He recorded the album Bull Durham Blues in 1988, which featured Taj Mahal. It was re-released on the Music Maker label in 1999. Also in 1988, the National Endowment for the Arts presented Holeman with a National Heritage Fellowship.

In 1994,  was presented with the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. A song Holeman wrote, “Chapel Hill Boogie”, was featured on the 2007 Grammy Award-nominated album 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads, recorded by Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Music Maker issued the album John Dee Holeman & the Waifs Band, in 2007, on which he was backed by the Waifs, an Australian folk-rock group. In 2018, he played several shows with Cajun/Zydeco musician Mel Melton in Durham.

John Dee Holeman Net Worth

He is an American Piedmont blues guitarist, singer. His primary source of net worth is his musical career. However, his estimated worth is still under review but will be updated as soon as it is clear.

John Dee Holeman Songs

1991: Bull City After Dark
1992: Piedmont Blues of Carolina
1999: Bull Durham Blues
2004: John Dee Holeman with Taj Mahal
2007: John Dee Holeman & the Waifs Band
2009: You Got to Lose You Can’t Win All the Time

His Albums

  • Bull Durham Blues of 1999
  • John Dee Holeman & The Waifs Band of 2006
  • John dee holeman. piedmont blues de caroline du nord. piemont blues from north carolina of 2006.

John Dee Holeman Interview

Holeman is among the most widely celebrated of traditional Piedmont musicians. A native of Orange County, North Carolina, Holeman has performed at the National Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall, and has conducted multiple overseas tours–many of which were sponsored by the U.S. State Department–to such faraway locations as Thailand, Africa, Singapore, and Turkey. Now in his 80s, Holeman continues to perform regularly throughout North Carolina. He is featured in the book Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America.

Born in 1929, Holeman spent the first six years of his life in Hillsborough before his family moved to a 100-acre farm in northern Orange County. Holeman grew up on the farm and began playing the blues at the age of 14. His first guitar was a Sears Silvertone model that he bought for $15, and he began to learn the rudiments of blues chording from his uncle and cousins. “I listened to 78s like ‘Step It Up and Go’ by [famed Piedmont blues musician] Blind Boy Fuller, the Grand Ole Opry, and I heard others play at pig-picking parties,” remembers Holeman. “I was good for catching on.”

Working the tobacco grown on his family’s land, a chore that required the budding guitarist to stay up through the night in order to tend to the fires that cured the crop. provided Holeman with another opportunity to hone his rapidly developing musical skills. “My guitar kept me company . . . so I wouldn’t go to sleep,” recalls the musician.

Holeman moved to Durham in 1954 to take a job with the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company after concluding that farming wouldn’t bring in enough money to support himself and his family. By day, Holeman operated heavy machinery for the tobacco giant; by night, he supplemented his income by playing blues and “patting juba.” Juba, the use of complex hand rhythms to provide timing for dancers, is a centuries-old tradition among Africans and African Americans.
Where Holeman grew up, it was customary when party musicians took a break for the males to engage in competitive solo dancing accompanied only by hand or “patting” rhythms. Juba refers to both the complex hand rhythms and the dance traditionally done to them. The dance done to the juba rhythm is also called “buckdance,” “bust down,” and “jigging.” “Patting” is distinguished from clapping by virtue of the varied pitches the patting hand elicits from the arms, chest, thighs, and flanks.
On weekends he played at private functions and house parties, often in the company of musicians who had learned first-hand from blues greats like Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, and Reverend Gary Davis. It wasn’t until 1976, when he played at Durham’s Bicentennial Festival, an event that drew more than 100,000 people, that Holeman received wider public attention as one of Piedmont’s most gifted bluesmen.
Since that time, Holeman has been a highly visible performer of Piedmont blues, in the process meeting musical luminaries such as B. B. King and Lightnin’ Hopkins, and recording with Mebane natives Joe and Odell Thompson, as well as with Cool John Ferguson and Taj Mahal.
Though he never chose to pursue music as a full-time profession, Holeman has played at festivals around the country and in concerts in Europe and Africa, where he also conducted workshops for students and other performers.

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