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Bo Jenkins – Friday June 14th from 8.30pm
“His mere talent puts him in the same league as Hendrix and Clapton” is a bold statement to say about someone only few have heard of, but these are the words from “RHYTHMS” magazine about the Bo Jenkins Band on his performance at the, Byron Bay Blues Festival in Australia. Bo, a left hander, tunes his guitar upside down and plays with the high “E” string on top – allowing him to play some things that right handed players just cannot do.
Bo was born on a small farm in Bottleneck, Arkansas, to Joe and Thelma Jenkins. He spent his early years living next door to Levon Helms, future drummer and vocalist for “The Band”.
After his family moved to Helena Arkansas, Bo grew up hearing his father sing and his grandfather (a full blooded Native American) play guitar.
Bo started his career playing the roadhouses and bars in Helena and up and down Highways 49 and 61. These have produced many renowned musicians such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Conway Twitty, Houston Stackhouse and Willie Dixon. This delta region is where Blues met Country and had a baby named Rock and Roll. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich and Ronnie Hawkins learned their trade in this small town.
Bo spent a few years as a deck hand working on the Mississippi River and was drafted in to the army, serving with the 82nd Airborne as a paratrooper. After his release, he decided to continue his career in music. His love of playing guitar led him to play many different styles. Over the years Bo has shared the stage with various groups such as Albert King, Reba McIntyre, Earl Thomas Conley, B.B.King and Kansas – thus being one of the few musicians to play major U.S. venues in the three main styles (Rock, Blues and Country).
Bo’s music is a combination of Blues, Country and Rock. Bo was raised were music was a part of everyone’s life, however it wasn’t until later in his career that he began to play Blues. He felt that it actually came rather naturally to him “It was in my blood all along, I just wasn’t aware of it”.
After touring with other musicians, in 1992 Bo decided to form his own band called the “The Bo Jenkins Band” in order to have the freedom to play the type of music he wanted and to write originals.
At this stage in his career Bo was settling down with his Australian wife (Vanda) and family. He and his family took a trip in 1993 to visit Australia, and he liked it so much that he wanted to move here. In 1994 the family uprooted from Arkansas to Melbourne, where he currently resides. He now plays in a trio and is also works solo with acoustic guitar and stomp box.