Mississippi bluesman “King” Edward Antoine, 78, has been hired as a session guitarist on other artist recordings so often over the decades that he can’t even remember the number of times. King has now released 50 Years of Blues, his own, long-deserved CD and first studio album in 15 years, on Hit The Road Records.
Recorded at the famed Castle Recording Studio in Franklin, TN, and produced by award-winning producer Brian Brinkerhoff, 50 Years of Blues gives King his chance to present his own music.
Nashville musicians Doug Lancio on rhythm guitar and Marco Giovino on drums, along with funky Atlanta-based Oteil Burbridge on bass, provide the canvas for King to play his soulful guitar solos and sing his vintage bluesy vocals.
King presents two original songs, “Bring your Pretty Self Home” and “I’m a Lonely Man,” and revises three other songs he previously recorded with his brother Nolan Struck. The other tracks are covers done the “King Edward way.” If you listen closely you can hear him mouthing his chords on several of the tracks, which is what he does when he plays in person.
King was born Edward Memphis Antoine in 1937 in a Cajun-speaking family in Rayne, LA. Yes, you can ask him to speak French, and he will love doing so! He taught himself to play the guitar and learned zydeco from his famous cousin, Clifton Chenier.
King later moved to Portland, OR, and then to Chicago, where he played with the greats for 15 years – Magic Slim, Magic Sam, Hound Dog Taylor, Junior Wells, Tyrone Davis, Buddy Guy, Otis Clay, McKinley Mitchell, and his brother Nolan Struck, among others.
Life brought him back to the South in 1975, more precisely to Jackson, MS, where he still lives today. He has become a legend in the state, playing festivals and venues all over, and further away too: St. Louis, MO., Davenport, IA, and twice at the internationally acclaimed Chicago Blues Festival.
He received a Peavey Award for his contribution to Mississippi music and is honored on three blues markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, all three of them in Jackson: Subway Lounge, Queen of Hearts, and Ace Records. He performed at the legendary Subway Lounge every other week for years and is featured in Robert Mugge’s documentary, Last of the Mississippi Jukes.
King participated in the 2012 Blessissippi concert hosted by Morgan Freeman at Ground Zero, in Clarksdale, MS, and performed at B.B. King’s last homecoming in Indianola, MS, in 2014 where he got to visit with B.B. before the show.
He and his brother Nolan Struck and King’s band performed at the 2015 tribute to Stan Lewis, founder of Paula Records, in Shreveport, LA. King was excited to talk to Stan whom he had not seen in 20 years, since they recorded Brother To Brother in 1995. He returned to Louisiana a couple of weeks later for a solo blues show and story-telling time at the Ogden Museum, in New Orleans. The crowd loved hearing his memories about his Chicago days.
King has been featured in a 12-page article and on the cover of the September 2015 issue of the prestigious ABS Magazine in France.
He remains busy weekly in Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi.