Eric Bibb (born 16 August 1951) is an American-born acoustic blues singer-songwriter. He moved to Europe in 1970 and currently resides in Helsinki, Finland, together with his Finnish wife and tour manager Sari Matinlassi-Bibb.
Bibb's father, Leon, was a musical theatre singer, who made a name for himself as part of the 1960s New York folk scene; his uncle was the jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Family friends included Pete Seeger, and actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, Bibb's godfather.
He was given his first steel-string acoustic guitar aged seven. Growing up surrounded by talent, he recalls a childhood conversation with Bob Dylan, who, on the subject of guitar playing, advised the 11-year-old Bibb to "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff" (as recounted in "The Transatlantic Sessions 5" program and DVD from the BBC).
Bibb remembers from his early teen years:
I would cut school and claim I was sick. When everyone would leave the house I would whip out all the records and do my own personal DJ thing all day long, playing Odetta, Joan Baez, the New Lost City Ramblers, Josh White.
At 16 years old, his father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his TV talent show "Someone New". Bill Lee, who played bass in this band, was later to appear on Bibb's albums Me To You and Friends. In 1969, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company at St. Mark's Place in New York. He went on to study Psychology and Russian at Columbia University, but did not finish these studies. The next year, aged 19, he left for Paris, where he met guitarist Mickey Baker who focused his interest in blues guitar.
Bibb moved to Stockholm, where he immersed himself in pre-war blues and the newly discovered world music scene, while he continued to write and perform. Good Stuff was released in 1997 on Opus 3 and American label Earthbeat. Bibb signed to the British-based Code Blue label, but only released one album, Me to You, featuring appearances from some of Bibb's personal heroes, Pops and Mavis Staples, and Taj Mahal. This was followed by tours of the UK, US, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany.
In the late 1990s Bibb joined forces with his then manager Alan Robinson to form Manhaton Records in Britain. The albums Home to Me (1999), Roadworks (2000) and Painting Signs (2001) followed, as did the 2005 releases for Opus 3, Just Like Love and Spirit & the Blues (Hybrid SACD of 1999 Earthbeat release). He now plays all over the world on tour; see Eric's Website for details. After that, he made A Family Affair (2002) with his father, Leon Bibb. This was followed by Natural Light then Friends - 15 tracks featuring Bibb duetting with friends and musicians he had met on his travels such as Taj Mahal, Odetta, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Mamadou Diabate and Djelimady Toukara.
In 2004, Eric Bibb released "Friends" as his debut release under Telarc International Corporation. Bibb has remained with Telarc Records since 2004 releasing several additional albums including, "A Ship Called Love" in 2005, "Diamond Days" in 2007, and "Spirit I Am" in 2008. Bibb released Booker's Guitar in January 2010 with music channeled from the Delta Guitar Master himself, Booker White, also known as Bukka White. In November 2011, he signed to Stony Plain Records.
In August 2011 he married his longtime partner and manager Sari Matinlassi-Bibb, whom he met while touring in Australia.
Bibb has received a Grammy nomination for Shakin' a Tailfeather. He has been nominated for several W.C. Handy Awards. Nominated Acoustic Blues Album of the Year for Spirit and the Blues in 2000; for Home to Me in 2001; for Natural Light in 2004; for A Ship Called Love in 2006. Nominated Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year in 2002; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2008; and 2013.