Cedar Falls Bluesman, Eddie Bowles, To Be Featured in an Exhibit at The Hearst
Have you heard of Eddie Bowles? I hadn't until today, and I'm perplexed as to why now was the time... I grew up with the blues. Blues music was played all the time in my house. Dad loved it (still does) and not only had some going on the stereo but, as a musician, would play it in and out of the house.
My oldest son plays guitar as well and has gotten quite good, as my father says. He plays mostly blues style but also some classic rock covers and his own original music. He's been gigging around the Cedar Valley for several years. He's played the Sturgis Falls Cedar Basin Music Fest (formerly Jazz Fest), Mary Lou's in North Cedar, Fox Ridge Golf Course, and multiple open mics all over the metro area.
With music being my passion as well as my career, I'm astounded and saddened that had not ever heard of ol' Eddie Bowles!!
After seeing that his exhibit, celebrating his life and music, will be at The Hearst Center For The Arts, in Cedar Falls, I HAD to find out who this was!
Eddie was originally from Louisiana, born in 1884, and had learned to play guitar at the beginning of a new style of music being created here in America. Jazz and blues music is considered to be the ONLY musical style that originated from the U.S.
Having learned at that time, in that era, he spent time around legends of jazz and blue, actually playing with the great Louis Armstrong. Had he stayed in Louisiana, he may have become one of the blues legends we all read about and of which movies are made. Instead, after getting married, he and his wife move to Cedar Falls, Iowa for work. He was enticed with $7.50 a day, laying bricks for the new streets being built in town.
When he wasn't working, he was playing all over the area with other musicians and on his own. I find that he's played with people I know to this day and some that my son plays with, frequently!
Now, in the early years of Cedar Falls, (Sturgis Falls), Eddie would have been one of the VERY few men of color in a predominantly white area. However, everyone loved him as he was a man of his word and a hard worker. The businessmen of the day liked him so much that they all put the money together to bring his wife to town! That says a lot about the respect his community had for him.
This exhibit will tell more of Eddie Bowles' story, as well as play his music. Recently, some recordings of Eddie were found and are now being released.
The Hearst Center exhibit, Eddie Bowles's Blues, runs from February 17 through March 27 with an opening reception tomorrow, Thursday, February 17 from 5 pm - 6:30 pm. A must-see for fans of blues and Cedar Valley history!