John Dee Holman

John Dee Holman

Place of birth: 
Hillsborough, NC
Date of birth: 
4.4.1929
Place of death: 
Roxboro, NC
Date of death: 
4.30.2021
1988 (photo by Tom Pich)
 
John Dee Holman was an American Piedmont Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His music includes elements of Texas Blues, Rhythm and Blues (R&B), and African-American string-band music. He was also known for his proficiency as a buckdancer.
 
Born in Hillsborough in 1929, at the age of six his family moved to a farm in northern Orange County. According to Holeman, “My father was Willy Holeman, and my mother was born Annie Obie near Roxboro, N.C. Her daddy moved to Hillsborough and ran a flour mill. James Obie was my uncle; there are still Obies in Hillsborough. I lived on the Sam Latta place at first – he was the High Sheriff. There were three sisters and one brother."
 
As a teenager, Holeman would go to Durham to play music during tobacco auction season; he also played house parties, pig-pickings, wood choppings, corn shuckings, country dances, and at "juke joints." He learned to play guitar from his uncle and cousin, and by listening to 78 rpm records by Blind Boy Fuller. Played with Arthur Lyons and pianist Fris Holloway, among others. Holeman moved to Durham in 1954.
 
Known locally for playing at the annual Festival for the Eno for decades. Holeman received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and a North Carolina Heritage Award in 1994.
 
He died in Roxboro, NC at the age of 92.
 
 
John Dee Holeman discography.
 
"Chapel Hill Boogie" song on YouTube.

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