empowering artistsearwig storeour mission

The box set Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection brings to light...

Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records - Downbeat 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Downbeat Magazine

Read more herequote2-lower

Anyone who's looking to advance their career would be very well served to have Michael...

Sari Schorr

New York songwriter/bandleader/singer

Read more herequote2-lower

Michael is a 21st century renaissance man who has both the business acumen and the...

Don Wilcock

Freelance Music Writer

Read more herequote2-lower

John Primer

Primer is the featured artist on Earwig CD 4924, Stuff You Got To Watch, and plays on Tell My Story Movin’ (CD 4919); When The Blues Hit You (CD 4923); and Daddy, When Is Mama Comin Home? (CD 4916).

John Primer Early Life & Influences

John Primer grew up in Camden, Mississippi. It was around age 8 that he first picked up a guitar. Soon after, his passion and fascination with blues music developed.

John Primer grew up in the Baptist church with heavy musical influences tied to gospel and R&B. Some of his early musical gigs included his local church. Some of his early blues influences included:

  • Jimmy Reed
  • Muddy Waters
  • Little Milton
  • Elmore James
  • B.B. and Albert King

Primer’s desire to make a name for himself and further his music career led him to Chicago in the early 60’s at the age of 18.

John Primer Early Career

After arriving in Chicago, Primer formed the band, The Maintainers in 1964. The group regularly played Chicago gigs throughout the South Side and West Side clubs, including:

  • The Place
  • The Bow Tie
  • Lover’s Lounge

By 1968, Primer joined up with The Brotherhood, an existing soul and R&B group. As he continued to gain experience performing throughout the next decade, Primer’s experience and style continued to evolve.

John Primer Mid-Career

As Primer continued to gain notoriety in the Chicago blues scene, he eventually joined the house band at Theresa’s Lounge on Chicago’s South Side. Eventually, this exposure escalated to playing with some of the most famous blues players in Chicago during the late 1970’s, including:

  • Sammy Lawhorn
  • Junior Wells
  • Buddy Guy
  • Smokey Smothers
  • Lonnie Brooks
  • Lefty Dizz

These collaborations, then led John Primer to join up with Willie Dixon’s band, The Chicago All-Stars. As Primer traveled with the band, his guitar skills and repertoire continued to grow, including experience as a lead slide player, singer and rhythm guitarist. As a result, Primer caught the attention of Muddy Waters and soon joined the blues god as a guitarist and opening act. After Muddy’s death in 1983, for the next 12 years, Primer played guitar in the band Magic Slim & The Teardrops while also doing gigs and recording sessions on his own.

John Primer Solo Career & Recognition

In the early to mid 1990’s, John Primer’s solo career started to take shape. To date, Primer has released and toured in support of 10 solo albums. Some of his early and acclaimed album releases include:

  • Stuff You Got To Watch (1993, Earwig Music Company)
  • The Real Deal (1995, Code Blue)

John Primer demonstrates unmatched guitar technique and further supports his performances, band members and reputation with impressive songwriting and storytelling capabilities. In recognition of his abilities, Primer has multiple nominations for Grammy Awards and Blues Music Awards. In 2016, Primer won a Blues Music Award for ‘Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year’.

Today, John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band is still active in the blues community.

“John Primer is a small gem of a blues guitarist.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“…a confident, expressive singer and a skilled and versatile guitarist…”
Chicago Blues Magazine

john primer blues guitarist, songwriter, vocalist
Vocalist, Guitarist, Songwriter