All American Blues Conference at Brass Monkey, Cronulla

Terry "Harmonica" Bean
Terry "Harmonica" Bean

One night, three troubadours - that's what the All American Blues Conference has on offer.

Direct from the US, musicians Terry "Harmonica" Bean, Chris Pitts and Oscar Wilson will perform at the Brass Monkey Cronulla on January 31.

Bean is an American blues harmonica virtuoso, guitarist and songwriter.

He has released seven albums since 2001 and appeared in three film documentaries charting present day blues experiences.

It looked for a while in the late 70s that Bean might be headed for a bright career on the baseball diamond instead of the bandstand.

Bean had caught the eye of a host of baseball scouts thanks to throwing five no-hitters (he could pitch with either hand) and leading his high school team to the state championship in 1980.

"Yeah, I got to be pretty good playing baseball. I was an even-handed pitcher and I could hit, I could run, I could field ... I could do it all on the baseball diamond," he said.

But a motorcycle accident, followed later by an automobile mishap, ended Bean's baseball playing days and set him on a path to playing the kind of blues that he grew up with, blues that started out ingenious to his native Mississippi before rocketing skyward.

Bean was part of a large family and had 18 brothers and six sisters, all who picked cotton around Pontotoc for their dad, Eddie Bean, who was a sharecropper.

Eddie Bean was also a musician and that was soon to rub off on young Terry Bean.

"My daddy played the blues. He played with B.B. King, but he never did travel. My grandfather knew Robert Johnson well. And when you're from Mississippi, you just grow up around people playing the blues," he said.

"Up where I live - in the hill country - that meant people like Big Joe Williams, Bukka White, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and people like that. Now, my daddy and granddaddy knew all those people.

"They used to come to the house and play house parties and at that time, everybody carried their kids with them (to the parties). Kids went wherever the parents went. I saw them gambling and my granddaddy making moonshine ... I was out there amongst all that stuff, man. And they played music, too."

Oscar Wilson

Oscar Wilson

Bean has dedicated himself to promoting older blues stylings, such as Delta and Hill Country Blues.

"What's stimulating to me," he said, "is people hearing the blues played like they used to hear it."

Bean said the blues were the beating heart of music culture today.

Immerse yourself in an authentic and interactive journey through the blues, following the very same blues highway from Mississippi to Chicago, once travelled by the genre's legendary predecessors.

Never to be repeated - this musical experience will be steeped in history whilst being as raucously entertaining as a late night "juke joint".

Also appearing on the program, as the show band, will be Jules Boult & The Redeemers.

All American Blues Conference the Brass Monkey Cronulla on January 31.

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