Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Big Jon puts his harp where his mouth is

Local bluesman to host a harmonica blowout

Big Jon Atkinson, Marty Dodson, Kim Wilson, and Nathan James throwing down the blues.
Big Jon Atkinson, Marty Dodson, Kim Wilson, and Nathan James throwing down the blues.

Big Jon Atkinson is putting his blues where his harp is. This Southern boy, a recent San Diego transplant, is getting together with a few of his friends to throw a blues party on Saturday, January 10, at Proud Mary’s in San Diego. The festivities will feature some of the nation’s best-known harp players, as well as San Diego’s own Nathan James and the Rhythm Scratchers.

Atkinson says his blues and his intentions are simple. “I would say I am just trying to get the music out there. San Diego has very few shows where five or ten of the best blues players get into the same room and play. I am trying to get more big events down here for the blues.”

“Big Jon’s Blues Blast” lineup is shaping up as a who’s who in blues harp, including Kim Wilson, James Harman, Al Blake, Billy Watson, Troy Sandow, Bubba McCoy, Bob Corritore, and your party host himself, Big Jon Atkinson.

Known for his screaming slide-guitar blues, Atkinson says he got his first guitar at 14 and then discovered Lightnin’ Hopkins, Little Walter, and Howlin’ Wolf. “That was it for me, I was hooked!”

Learning multiple instruments came out of necessity, Jon says. “I started playing harmonica two years ago because nobody in Knoxville at the time could play harp the way I heard it in my head or on the records. I listen to this music so much every single day that it is just so natural for someone who does this [plays music] to have a feel and a head start on all the instruments. When I committed to playing harp, I could already hum you every Little Walter and Big Walter solo on any tune, so it was just putting it to the actual instrument.”

Big Jon and the Nationals is Atkinson’s blues band. “Well the band has just been what I call my group where ever I end up,” says the bluesman. “I mean it is a simple name and quite a simple band. We play everything from J.B. Hutto to Robert Nighthawk to Junior Parker and Muddy Waters. Also I have plenty of retro-era sounding originals that we play.”

Place

Proud Mary's Southern Bar & Grill at the Ramada

5550 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego

After arriving in Southern California, it wasn’t long before Atkinson started meeting other blues enthusiasts. “The first experience I had was playing with Mark Mumea and the Silver Kings. That was a great chapter for me, as it got me thinking the old way again, as if I had gotten off-track at some point. Everyone needs a little push sometimes. Then Nathan James and I started talking and he invited me to sit in with him. I went down and met the guys and played with him and Marty Dodson and Troy Sandow, who now are great friends.” And as if that wasn’t enough, Atkinson says, “That day I got to play with James Harman... All these guys were so good to me and still are to this day. I am a blessed man to have run into these cats.”

Speaking of friends, Atkinson has been seen recently in the company of another “Fabulous” harp player, Kim Wilson. “I got involved with Kim at a venue that Cadillac Zack had me play on,” he says. “I was backing up young harp master Jacob Huffman who now plays with the 44’s. Halfway through the show I noticed Kim watching me play. I didn’t even know he was on the gig. Anyway, before Kim got up to play he asked me if I wanted to stay onstage with him. I, of course, said YES! After the gig we talked for a bit and became fast friends. Now we are good friends and we play, record, and trade amplifiers all the time. He is a great guy, and the man has given me more advice and opportunities than anyone. Not to mention, I get to steal some of his harp chops every time I see him [laughing].”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Vista squeezes pot clinics with 4375 percent fee rise

While Oceanside ponders the storefronts
Next Article

San Diego inside sports

El Cajon Speedway, dark side of NFL, pick-up b-ball, Lakeside's Jarrod Boswell, start of Padres, SDSU football scandal
Big Jon Atkinson, Marty Dodson, Kim Wilson, and Nathan James throwing down the blues.
Big Jon Atkinson, Marty Dodson, Kim Wilson, and Nathan James throwing down the blues.

Big Jon Atkinson is putting his blues where his harp is. This Southern boy, a recent San Diego transplant, is getting together with a few of his friends to throw a blues party on Saturday, January 10, at Proud Mary’s in San Diego. The festivities will feature some of the nation’s best-known harp players, as well as San Diego’s own Nathan James and the Rhythm Scratchers.

Atkinson says his blues and his intentions are simple. “I would say I am just trying to get the music out there. San Diego has very few shows where five or ten of the best blues players get into the same room and play. I am trying to get more big events down here for the blues.”

“Big Jon’s Blues Blast” lineup is shaping up as a who’s who in blues harp, including Kim Wilson, James Harman, Al Blake, Billy Watson, Troy Sandow, Bubba McCoy, Bob Corritore, and your party host himself, Big Jon Atkinson.

Known for his screaming slide-guitar blues, Atkinson says he got his first guitar at 14 and then discovered Lightnin’ Hopkins, Little Walter, and Howlin’ Wolf. “That was it for me, I was hooked!”

Learning multiple instruments came out of necessity, Jon says. “I started playing harmonica two years ago because nobody in Knoxville at the time could play harp the way I heard it in my head or on the records. I listen to this music so much every single day that it is just so natural for someone who does this [plays music] to have a feel and a head start on all the instruments. When I committed to playing harp, I could already hum you every Little Walter and Big Walter solo on any tune, so it was just putting it to the actual instrument.”

Big Jon and the Nationals is Atkinson’s blues band. “Well the band has just been what I call my group where ever I end up,” says the bluesman. “I mean it is a simple name and quite a simple band. We play everything from J.B. Hutto to Robert Nighthawk to Junior Parker and Muddy Waters. Also I have plenty of retro-era sounding originals that we play.”

Place

Proud Mary's Southern Bar & Grill at the Ramada

5550 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego

After arriving in Southern California, it wasn’t long before Atkinson started meeting other blues enthusiasts. “The first experience I had was playing with Mark Mumea and the Silver Kings. That was a great chapter for me, as it got me thinking the old way again, as if I had gotten off-track at some point. Everyone needs a little push sometimes. Then Nathan James and I started talking and he invited me to sit in with him. I went down and met the guys and played with him and Marty Dodson and Troy Sandow, who now are great friends.” And as if that wasn’t enough, Atkinson says, “That day I got to play with James Harman... All these guys were so good to me and still are to this day. I am a blessed man to have run into these cats.”

Speaking of friends, Atkinson has been seen recently in the company of another “Fabulous” harp player, Kim Wilson. “I got involved with Kim at a venue that Cadillac Zack had me play on,” he says. “I was backing up young harp master Jacob Huffman who now plays with the 44’s. Halfway through the show I noticed Kim watching me play. I didn’t even know he was on the gig. Anyway, before Kim got up to play he asked me if I wanted to stay onstage with him. I, of course, said YES! After the gig we talked for a bit and became fast friends. Now we are good friends and we play, record, and trade amplifiers all the time. He is a great guy, and the man has given me more advice and opportunities than anyone. Not to mention, I get to steal some of his harp chops every time I see him [laughing].”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Loco Lopez takes brunch over the top

Cheese-wrapped burrito and donut grilled cheese at OB pop-up
Next Article

Communion on the hood of a Humvee

The Apostle Paul says we see through a glass dimly
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close