Robert Kimbrough, Sr. continues the Cotton Patch Blues style created by his father, the legendary Junior Kimbrough. From an early age, Robert was steeped in the sounds and life of the Mississippi Hill Country and its distinctive styles of blues. Growing up, Robert listened first-hand to Mississippi blues royalty that played with his father at home in the evenings, at Junior’s juke joint club at night, as well as to the all-too-frequent weekend house party and porch jam sessions. The blues was simply part of everyday life as a Kimbrough. Robert continues his father’s tradition, along with some of his 36 siblings on his father’s side. You can often find many of them sharing the stage on any given night in Mississippi. The Kimbrough name, along with the Burnside name, is part of a blues dynasty that remains strong today, bringing their unique blues style to the world.
The Cotton Patch Blues style that Robert Kimbrough, Sr. continues was best summarized by the pioneer rockabilly performer Charlie Feathers as something between bluegrass and Delta blues. Feathers goes on to describe that the Cotton Patch Blues possess an unusual blues structure that is both inventive and free, and that the close interplay between the bass, drums and guitar rhythms creates an unusual texture. Robert defines Cotton Patch Blues as a deep soul sound that can be linked back to the sounds coming from the cotton fields – field hands singing out as they worked in the rows of cotton.
Robert Kimbrough, Sr.’s musical journey started at an early age and took him to Aurora, Illinois to live and play for a few years, then back to Holly Springs, MS to play with his dad and focus on his music, as well as to a tour playing with Junior Kimbrough in 1996 for Fat Possum records, before ending up in prison for 6 ½ years where he wrote all the tracks for his first release, Willey Woot. Once out of prison, Robert became a new man and devoted all of his focus on sharing his unique sound under his new moniker – Blues Connection – as one of the hardest working guys in the blues business.
Robert and his Blues Connection can be seen on the Mississippi blues series “Mojo Hands and Moonshine” – Episode 2: Paul MacLeod Has Left The Building by Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art & Broke & Hungry Records in Clarksdale, MS. In this episode, blues impresarios Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel visit the site of Junior Kimbrough’s burned down Juke Joint in Chulahoma, MS and interview Robert Kimbrough about Junior Kimbrough’s music and the music tradition that Robert is carrying on.
Robert released his first CD in 2016 and is preparing for his next CD, “What I’m Gon’ Do? Where I’m Gon’ Go From Here?”, to be released early 2017, followed by the CD release of “My Frog” in May.
Robert continues to gain musical momentum. Robert launched the Kimbrough Cotton Patch Blues Festival in Holly Springs, MS: a three day blues festival with an exhibition at Rust College on The Life and Legacy of Junior Kimbrough, a Cotton Patch Guitar Workshop featuring instructional sessions by Robert, Little Joe Ayers (Junior Kimbrough’s bass player), Eric Deaton, David Kimbrough, Jr. and Kinney Kimbrough. The festival will also feature live performances by Robert Kimbrough’s Blues Connection, The Kimbrough Brothers, Leo Bud Welch, The Cedric Burnside Project, RL Boyce, Garry Burnside, Kent Burnside, David Kimbrough, Jr., Cam Kimbrough, Robert Eskew, Carlos Elliot, Jr., and Guitar Lightnin’ Lee.
Robert has been busy in 2017 playing all the big festivals including Juke Joint Fest, Goat Fest and the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic. Robert headlined the Blues Rules Crissier Festival in Crissier, Switzerland. In November, Robert played the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland to a massive crowd.
Robert is currently working on securing a venue to continue where his father’s Juke Joint left off. This will be his place to share the Cotton Patch Style of music along with all the other Mississippi Hill Country blues musicians. This is part of Robert’s family’s tradition and one that he feels passionately about continuing.
Robert’s new CD will be out by the end of 2017. This release is to be his most involved to date and is currently being mixed.