Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Hailing from the same Mississippi Delta town as Skip James, blues guitarist and singer Jimmy "Duck" Holmes of Bentonia runs the Blue Front Cafe, which his sharecropper parents opened in 1948 and which is described as the state's oldest juke joint. Holmes practices the "Bentonia style" of blues, which has an interesting history, according to Fat Possum Records: "The origin of the style goes back to a chance meeting between Bentonian Henry Stuckey and black Bahamian soldiers in France during World War I. Stuckey learned an odd E-minor guitar tuning from the Bahamians and when he returned home taught it to his brother Jacob and to Skip James and the younger Jack Owens. As these musicians traded ideas in the semi-isolated area of Bentonia, James and Owens perfected the style by adding dark, introspective lyrics. With his overwhelming personality coming through his recordings, James created a haunting and unique sound that continues to influence blues and folk music today." Though only performing regularly in recent years, "Duck" Holmes is carrying the torch of the Bentonia style of the blues. Holmes attracted the attention of folklorist Alan Lomax, who recorded him in the 1970s. In 2006 the Broke & Hungry label released Holmes' well-received debut CD Back to Bentonia, which was followed by "Done Got Tired of Tryin'," which was nominated for a 2008 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Album of the Year and was listed as one of National Public Radio's "Top 10 Blues Albums" of the year.