Beverly Guitar Watkins, The Guitarist Granny

Beverly Guitar Watkins, The Guitarist Granny

CAN YOUR GRANDMA DO THIS?

Beverly Guitar Watkins, 76-year-old blues legend | ACT TWOIf you’ve never heard of Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, it’s about time you find out who she is.  This 76-year-old Georgia native,  nicknamed the “Guitarist Granny,” is a blues guitarist par excellence.  She has won awards, traveled the world and opened for some of the biggest names in music:  James Brown, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.

Beverly Guitar Watkins has received the Georgia Music Legend Award in 2011 and continues to play to audiences of all ages.  “My style is real Lightnin’ Hopkins lowdown blues. I call it hard classic blues, stompin’ blues, railroad smokin’ blues,” she explains.  Saying that Beverly Guitar Watkins is a guitar player is like saying a tiger is a house cat.  She is, simply, a blues woman powerhouse.

She has been singing the blues since her school days.  At only eight years old, Beverly Watkins received her first guitar from her father.  “I never did stop playing,” she recalled in an interview with CNN.  She called her guitar Stella, and she would play it Friday nights when she accompanied her grandfather to the community barn dances near their home south of Commerce, Georgia.

Beverly Guitar Watkins, Living Legend

As her website says, “If you’ve never seen a blues lady who can play guitar behind her head, belt out powerful songs and lay down James Brown steps, you’ve never been in the audience when Beverly Guitar Watkins was burning down the house. As a teen she teamed up with the legendary Piano Red and has rocked venues with the best of them for five decades. Through the years Beverly Guitar Watkins has stolen the hearts and blown the minds of audiences internationally.”

Beverly Guitar Watkins, 76-year-old blues legend | ACT TWOAccording to CNN, one of the iterations of her band with Piano Red was called Dr. Feelgood and the Interns and the Nurse. Watkins was the nurse. The men performed in doctors’ smocks, and she wore a nurse’s cap and gown (but she refused the shoes the band had picked out for her costume. “I didn’t like the shoes,” she said).

Still energetic and entertaining at 76, Watkins does not expect to give it up any time soon, saying she’s going to keep playing “until I can’t play no more. Something happens, they’ll have to put me in a wheelchair and roll me up on stage, because I’m a dedicated musician.”

 

 

by Donna Giachetti

Donna Giachetti writes frequently for ACT TWO. Her blog posts are available here.

 

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