Northern Blues Music
William P. Homans III was born in Boston, the son of a civil rights lawyer. He was raised in North Carolina where the family maid would sing him John Lee Hooker songs. He rejected his family’s career aspirations and served in Vietnam. When he returned home in 1973 he became involved in “Vietnam Veterans Against the War” and recorded an anti-war album called “Merry Airbrakes”. Homans worked as a forklift driver, newspaper reporter, watermelon farmer, and truck driver, while still learning to play guitar and harmonica. He once “said that watermelons were the one crop on which he never lost money”. He didn’t record another album again until twenty-nine years later when he assumed the moniker Watermelon Slim and released 2002’s “Big Shoes To Fill”.
Between the years 2004 and 2008 he followed up with three more albums including “Watermelon Slim and The Workers” and “The Wheel Man” resulting in thirteen Blues Music Award nominations and wins for both “Album of The Year” and “Band of The Year”. His last studio recording was 2019’s highly acclaimed “Church of the Blues” resulting in two additional nominations to give him an overall total of twenty.
“Traveling Man” is a live double cd release co-produced by Watermelon Slim and Chris “Wick” Hardwick. Disc One was recorded at The Blue Door, a BYOB listening room in Oklahoma City. The proprietor Greg Johnson can be heard introducing Slim who performs solo playing electric slide guitar and harmonica. His gravel throated vocals and original songs tell stories about truck drivers. Songs titles like “Blue Freightliner”, “Truck Driving Songs”, “Scalemaster Blues” and “300 Miles” will mesmerize you. Covers include Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “61 Highway Blues” and “Frisco Line”; Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” which Slim first heard played by The Yardbirds in 1964; and Muddy Waters’ “Two Trains Running”. Slim closes with “Holler #4” reprised from “Church of the Blues”.
Disc Two was recorded at The Depot, in the historic Santa Fe Train Depot, in Norman, Ok. operated by Brad and Susan Raley. After an introduction by Jim “Hardluck” Johnson, Slim jumps into “Let It Be in Memphis”, and seven other tunes including the traditional “John Henry”.
Watermelon Slim’s originality and storytelling are captured in these two live performances. He is as authentic as it gets.