Grady Champion is a young, blues singer and harmonica player, born October 10, that has been compared to Sonny Boy Williamson, and people can hear exactly why on his Shanachie debut Payin’ for My Sins released August 24, 1999. The album includes a version of “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’” that really shows Grady’s high-energy singing and harmonica playing and an update of the traditional blues lament “Goin’ Down Slow” with an AIDS parable — a hard-bitten vignette of modern life. His revved-up, soulful vocalizing and the charm and insight he brings to his songwriting in numbers like the campy “My Rooster Is King” and the classic-sounding tale of infidelity “You Got Some Explaining to Do” (co-written by his producer Dennis Walker, who helped Robert Cray reach national fame) mark Grady as an important new talent.
Dave McIntyre, BLUES ACCESS magazine, Summer 1996 issue, p. 109
On Saturday’s midnight cruise, I was immediately drawn to the upper deck, where I found Hawkeye Herman and T.J. Wheeler, two great pickers, engaged with a younger harpist from Mississippi named Grady Champion, exchanging songs and doing requests.
Grady’s voice not only made me think of Robert Johnson, but the way he worked the crowd seemed as though Johnson’s, or Luther Allison’s, fire and raw sense of what the audience needs was being born inside him.”