Pinetop Perkins © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Pinetop Perkins


Earning multiple Grammy nominations and recording all-star blues CDs is not the way most 90-somethings spend their days, but Austin’s Pinetop Perkins is doing just that. “Perkins is still going at full speed,” wrote Rolling Stone. “Perkins belies his years with deft, assured keyboard work. … He sings with relaxed charm.”

Regarded as one of the greatest blues pianists of all time, Perkins began playing the blues in the late 1920s. He started out playing guitar and piano, but had to stop playing guitar in the ’40s after sustaining a serious injury in his left arm. Perkins worked primarily in the Mississippi Delta throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s. Until his recent solo work, he was best known for his decade of work in the Muddy Waters Band and his time with the Legendary Blues Band in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

After years of collaborating with others, he released his first solo CD in 1988. His work was soon earning Grammy nominations and  he received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2005. In 2008, Perkins received a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album for Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas together with Henry James Townsend, Robert Lockwood, Jr. & David Honeyboy Edwards. He was also nominated in the same category for his solo album, Pinetop Perkins on the 88’s: Live in Chicago.

Early in 2008, he recorded Pinetop Perkins and Friends, an album of blues standards that includes numerous guest musicians – Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Jimmy Vaughan, Nora Jean Bruso, and many others. The album is set for release in June 2008,  just a few weeks before Perkins’ 95th birthday.