In Memoriam: Cephas And Wiggins In Concert John Cephas, who died Wednesday, was a natural crowdpleaser — a performer who exuded local flavor and charming stage presence. Mountain Stage remembers the great Piedmont bluesman in this 1989 concert by the duo of Cephas and Phil Wiggins.
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Listen Now: Cephas And Wiggins On Mountain Stage

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In Memoriam: Cephas And Wiggins In Concert

In Memoriam: Cephas And Wiggins In Concert

Listen Now: Cephas And Wiggins On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/101503996/101501572" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Set List

  • Set 1:
  • "Dog Days of August"
  • "Corn Liquor Blues"
  • "Black Rat Swing"
  • Set 2:
  • [Piedmont/Delta demonstration]
  • "12 Gates to the City"
  • "Mamie"
  • "Burn Your Bridges"

John Cephas (right) and Phil Wiggins perform on Mountain Stage in 2002. Brian Blauser hide caption

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Brian Blauser
"John Cephas was one of the most natural singers and musicians ever to be on Mountain Stage. His rich, smooth voice was a perfect instrument for the Piedmont-style blues that he sang so well. He was sometimes known as "Bowling Green" John Cephas. That referred to his home, Bowling Green, Va., and his voice and manner immediately identified him as a native son of that region. He was that rare kind of performer who was so full of local flavor that he seemed to grow from the ground of where he was from. John was not a showman, but he was a natural crowdpleaser who always left our audiences cheering. Everyone at Mountain Stage remembers him fondly as an American music treasure and true gentleman."
--Larry Groce, Mountain Stage host

John Cephas and Phil Wiggins were one of the most highly praised and well-traveled duos in all of blues music — and specifically the Piedmont style native to the American mid-Atlantic region. Mountain Stage was deeply saddened to learn of John Cephas' death on March 4. The guitarist and vocalist had a charming, humble presence, and was deeply loved and respected by the entire staff.

Cephas & Wiggins made six appearances on Mountain Stage between 1988 and 2002. The two sets presented here, combined into one performance, were recorded May 14, 1989, at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Host Larry Groce begins the second set by asking Cephas to demonstrate the difference between the blues styles of the Piedmont and Delta regions.

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