Chris Thomas King

Chris Thomas King was literally born into the blues as the son of legendary Baton Rouge musician and club impresario Tabby Thomas. The younger Thomas, born in 1961, pursued his folk-blues roots and made his recording debut on the Arhoolie label, and over his career has brought the blues format into more contemporary arenas, incorporating rap and hip hop stylings. Although King made a substantial splash on the blues scene as a young man, he vaulted to international fame with his appearance as bluesman Tommy Johnson in the blockbuster 2000 Coen Brothers film, O Brother Where Art Thou with George Clooney. (He won a Grammy and several other awards for the soundtrack.) He has also performed and acted in several other films and television shows, including RaySoul of a ManKill Switch, and HBO’s Treme. He’s sold an unheard-of 10 million albums, and his songs “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” and “John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto’” have been covered by many artists including blues legend Buddy Guy. He has released some 25 albums, ranging from straight ahead blues to tributes to Roky Erikson and Led Zeppelin. He has spent a lifetime studying blues history and argues, with a good deal of merit, that the blues forms we know today actually emerged from the South Louisiana Creole traditions, rather than from the Delta experience. 

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