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Broke & Hungry Records Nets Three Living Blues Awards
Label takes home Best Debut CD, Best Traditional/Acoustic CD and Producer of the Year Awards in the Living Blues Awards Critics’ Poll

(ST. LOUIS) – A year after the release of its first CD, St. Louis-based Broke & Hungry Records has netted three prestigious Living Blues Awards.

The label’s inaugural release, Back to Bentonia by rural Mississippi bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, has been recognized as both “Best Debut” and “Best Traditional and Acoustic CD” in the Living Blues Awards Critics Poll. The CD also netted the “Producer of the Year” award for the label’s owner Jeff Konkel.

“Gob smacked pretty well sums up our reaction,” Konkel said. “Obviously I believe Jimmy is a huge talent, but neither of us expected this kind of recognition. It’s a well-deserved honor for a bluesman who toiled in obscurity for far too long. We’re absolutely thrilled.”

Since the release of Back to Bentonia, Holmes has vaulted onto the international blues scene and has been profiled in publications and on radio stations across the globe.

His second CD, Done Got Tired of Tryin’ (also on Broke & Hungry Records) was recently released to widespread acclaim.

Holmes has spent much of 2007 working the blues festival circuit, most notably performing five sets at this year’s Chicago Blues Festival. Holmes will top off the hectic festival season with an appearance at the upcoming Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival) in Helena this October.

Holmes, who turned 60 this summer, was a student of the late Jack Owens. Today, Holmes is the last living link to the celebrated “Bentonia School” of guitarists. Named after the tiny town of Bentonia, Mississippi where Holmes still lives, the style is notable for its unusual Open-E Minor guitar tuning and its haunting lyrical content. Other Bentonia blues guitarists included Cornelius Bright, Henry Stuckey, Jacob Stuckey and – most famously – Skip James.

It was latter man who first introduced the world to the Bentonia sound following his first recording sessions for Paramount Records in 1931, but it wasn’t until after James’ death that blues scholars discovered that he was part of a larger tradition of likeminded bluesmen from Bentonia.

That local tradition will be further celebrated next Tuesday, Aug. 21 when the Mississippi Blues Commission dedicates a permanent marker in Bentonia. The marker is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail, which will eventually include more than 100 historical markers and interpretive sites throughout the site. The marker will be erected in front of Holmes’ rustic juke joint, the Blue Front Cafe. Opened in 1948 by his parents Carey and Mary Holmes, the Blue Front is the state’s longest-running juke.

Back to Bentonia is available at fine record stores, online retailers and through the label’s Web site at For more information, contact Jeff Konkel by e-mail at