Born in Oakland California, Hart had family connections with Carroll County, Mississippi, and spent time there in his childhood, hearing his relatives stories of Charlie Patton, “being around these people who were there when this music was going on”. Thus influenced by the country blues, Hart is known as one of the world’s foremost practitioners of that genre. Hart is also known as a faithful torchbearer for the 1960s and 1970s guitar rock of his youth, as well as Western Swing and vintage country. His music has been compared to a list of diverse artists ranging from Leadbelly, Spade Cooley to acoustic and electric guitar as well as banjo and sometimes the mandolin. Bluesman Taj Mahal once said about Hart that “The boy has got thunder in his hands.” Hart himself said “I guess my big break came when I opened for Taj Mahal for four nights at Yoshi’s.
In 1996 he made a powerful and individual album debut, Big Mama’s Door, playing street, slide and standard guitars and banjo on a mixture of dug-up and new-grown blues. In 2003, Hart’s album Down in the Alley was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. In 2005, Hart received a Grammy Award for his contribution to Beautiful Dreamer – The Songs of Stephen Foster.
Hart was featured in the 2003 Wim Wenders film, The Soul of a Man, which was featured in Martin Scorsese‘s film series, The Blues. Hart was also featured in the documentary, Last of the Mississippi Jukes.
Hart appeared in the film, The Great Debaters in 2007, playing a 1930s juke joint musician.
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