"Pumpernickle for a whitebread world. Few artists have the capacity to effortlessly harness a warehouse of knowledge into every note, movement and utterance on a stage." - Ottawa Xpress
"A one-of-a-kind pickin' 'n' singin" Okie dynamo!" - Jerry Wexler
"He looks a bit like Tom Waits and certainly as much of a character. Slim delighted the audience with stories told in his southern drawl, including how he bought his Dobro from a Communist, his love for Britain...carrying a copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, which he actually had in his bag onstage." - Blues in Britain Magazine
"Slim is a genuine blues character, something that's in short supply these days. "
- Chicago Sun-Times
"... grinding, greasy and swampy accompaniment as Slim puts fresh twists on age-old blues themes."
- Philadelphia Inquirer
"One of the best blues singers out there."
- Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd)
"Watermelon Slim finds a new way to be traditional. His music is modern and down-home at the same time." - Charlie Musselwhite
2008 Blues Music Award, Band of the Year
2008 Blues Music Award, Album of the Year
2008 6th Annual Independent Music Awards, Blues Album of the Year
2007 MOJO Magazine's #1 Blues Album of the Year
2006 MOJO Magazine's #1 Blues Album of the Year
"The most exciting and authentic blues performer I've heard in years."
- A.W., Paste Magazine
An ever-expanding career of ramshackle grandeur.
Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans has built a remarkable reputation with
his raw, impassioned intensity. HARP Magazine wrote "From sizzling slide
guitar...to nitty-gritty harp blowing...to a gruff, resonating Okie twang, Slim
delivers acutely personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of
life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat."
Paste Magazine writes "He's one hell of a bottleneck guitarist, and he's
got that cry in his voice that only the greatest singers in the genre have had
The industry agrees on all fronts. Watermelon Slim & The Workers have
garnered 17 Blues Music Award nominations in four years including a
record-tying six in both 2007 & 2008. Only the likes of B.B. King, Buddy
Guy and Robert Cray have landed six in a year and Slim is the only blues artist
in history with twelve in two consecutive years. In Spring 2009 he was the
cover story of Blues Revue magazine. .
Two of Slim's records were ranked #1 in MOJO Magazine's annual Top Blues CD
rankings. Industry awards include The Independent Music Award for Blues Album
of the Year, The Blues Critic Award and Canada's Maple Blues Award for
International Artist of the Year among others. Slim has hit #1 on the Living
Blues Charts, top five on the Roots Music Report and debuted in the top ten in
Billboard. One of Slim's most impressive industry accolades may be the liner
notes of The Wheel Man eagerly written by the late legendary Jerry Wexler who
called him a "one-of-a-kind pickin' n singing Okie dynamo." Slim has
been embraced for his music, performances, backstory and persona. He has
appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, The BBC's World Service and has been
featured in publications like Harp, Relix, Paste, MOJO, Oklahoma Magazine and
Truckers News as well as newspapers like The London Times, Toronto Star,
Chicago Sun-Times, The Village Voice, Kansas City Star, Philadelphia Inquirer,
and Michelle Shocked's JAMS Magazine.
The Memphis Flyer led its terrific CD review with the question "Does
anyone in modern pop music have a more intriguing biography than Bill
"Watermelon Slim" Homans?"
Slim was born in Boston, his father was a progressive attorney and freedom
rider and his brother is a classical musician. He was raised in North Carolina
listening to the housekeeper sing John Lee Hooker songs. Slim attended
Middlebury on a fencing scholarship but left early to enlist for Vietnam. While
laid up in a Vietnam hospital bed he taught himself upside-down left-handed
slide guitar on a $5 balsawood model using a triangle pick cut from a rusty
coffee can top and his Army issued Zippo. lighter as the slide.
Slim first appeared on the music scene with the release of the only known
protest record by a veteran during the Vietnam War. The project was Merry
Airbrakes, a 1973 protest tinged LP with tracks Country Joe McDonald later
covered. In the following 30 plus years Slim has been a truck driver, forklift
operator, sawmiller (where he lost a partial finger), firewood salesman,
collection agent, funeral officiator and at times a small time criminal. Due to
aforementioned criminality, Slim was forced to flee Boston where he had played
peace rallies, sit-ins and rabbleroused musically with the likes of Bonnie
Raitt. Recently Raitt singled out Slim to her audience as a living blues legend
during a summer 2009 performance.
From Boston Slim landed in his current home state of Oklahoma farming
watermelons - hence his stage name. Somewhere in those decades since Vietnam
Slim completed two undergrad and a master's degree, started a family, painted
art and joined Mensa, the social networking group reserved for members with
certified genius IQs. When he's not on tour Slim loves to fish and garden.
The big turning point was 2002 when Slim suffered a near fatal heart attack.
His brush with death gave him a new perspective on mortality, direction and
life ambitions and thus his second emergence as a performing musician. Eleven albums
later he says, "Everything I do now has a sharper pleasure to it. I've
lived a fuller life than most people could in two. If I go now, I've got a good
education, I've lived on three continents, and I've played music with a bunch
of immortal blues players. I've fought in a war and against a war. I've seen an
awful lot and I've done an awful lot. If my plane went down tomorrow, I'd go
out on top." And when you watch him perform, you know every word is true.
Throughout his storied past, it has always been truck driving that Slim
returned to. While trucking and hauling industrial waste for thankless bosses
at hourly wages to support himself and his family, his id yearned for release
of the musician inside. In fact, many of Slim's current songs began a cappella
in his rig keeping him awake and entertained. Slim's music captures those long
hours of now and then, finally and cathartically acquiescing to his id.
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