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UM Alum, Blues Musician Edwin Holt Returns to Oxford for Bama v. Ole Miss Game

All photos by Bryan Boyd
All photos by Bryan Boyd

If you love Ole Miss football and the blues, get ready for your dream weekend starting on Friday, September 16. The night before the Rebels meet the Alabama Crimson Tide for another historic battle on September 17, a University of Mississippi alum and musician Edwin Holt will play at The Powerhouse in Oxford.

This blues artist can hang with the best of the best, having played alongside Al Green, Bobby Blue Band and even the legendary B.B. King. Although he’s an East Texas native, Holt’s music career was born in Oxford, Mississippi.

Edwin Holt was influenced by the music scenes at The Gin and Hoka.
Edwin Holt was influenced by the music scenes at The Gin and Hoka.

He says he was first introduced to real authentic Mississippi blues at past Oxford joints, The Gin and Hoka during his time as an UM student from 1985 to 1987. He also went to the Delta Blues Festival. He said, “It was amazing. It was like a Blues Woodstock.”

He left UM at the end of his sophomore year when his passion for blues music led him to join an all-black band in south Dallas. Inspired by his time in Mississippi, his sound is straight from the roots of the Delta. But, when life on the music scene and so much traveling was no longer conducive to his family life, Holt stopped playing full-time.

Now, what’s happening is a “revival” he said. This revival started with a few guys just playing around a campfire on a fishing trip. When he sounded just as good as they remembered, his friends, one a previous fiddler for the band Mumford and Sons, wondered why he was no longer playing.

“I never really found my sound…I hit a wall,” he said in reply. Then his friends called him up later and asked him to play with them.

“What happened that night was completely incredible. It was a fusion between blues in Mississippi and the Texas fiddle, banjo, blue grass funky sound…completely different,” said Holt.

Edwin Holt performs with his band, Red Clay Roadhouse Band.
Edwin Holt performs with his band, Red Clay Roadhouse Band.

And just like that, his newly-found sound took off. His formerly large assembly of 12 pieces has now been modified into a smaller ensemble of banjo, dobro, upright bass, fiddle and drums to form Edwin Holt’s Red Clay Roadhouse Band. It seems Holt finally discovered his sound and his style, resulting in the band’s first sold-out show last year.

Soon, Holt will be bringing his raw rhythm back to his college town when he returns on Friday, September 16 at The Powerhouse. “It’s going to be pretty nuts. I’m excited. I’ve been wanting to perform back in Oxford for a really long time,” Holt said.

You won’t want to miss this homecoming performance.

Emma Elgin is a HottyToddy.com intern. She can be reached at emmaeelgin@gmail.com.

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