Born on a cotton plantation in Jamaica, Eddie Kirkland got his start in the music business at the age of twelve as a member of the Sugar Girls Medicine Show. After a short stint with the show, Eddie drifted to Indiana and Louisiana before settling in Detroit as a young man. Eddie worked at the Ford Motors plant in Detroit and played small clubs and house parties on the side. It was at one of these house parties that Eddie met John Lee Hooker - an event that had profound effects on both of their careers.
For seven years, Eddie Kirkland and John Lee Hooker toured and recorded together. Eddie fondly remembers one recording session for Chess Records when “Muddy, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers were listening in that studio on the balcony.” The guitar stylings of Eddie Kirkland had a powerful impact on many guitar players.
In 1962, Eddie recorded one of the most powerful records in blues history. Originally recorded for the Prestige label, It’s The Blues Man has been in highest demand among collectors for years and was reissued by Fantasy Records in 1987. During the rest of the sixties, Eddie recorded now and then with John Lee Hooker, though they were no longer touring together, but his most important work during this time was for the famous Stax Records, recording a hit on their subsidiary Volt Records called “The Hawg” (recently reissued by Atlantic Records) and serving as band leader with Otis Redding for three years. Eddie was fronting his own band by this time and has continued to do so ever since. Of the many great musicians Eddie has had in his Energy Band no other has left a more lasting legacy than Jimi Hendrix who, ironically, was “playing around with the bass” and landed a spot as Eddie’s bass player. It was only after working with Eddie and other Macon blues musicians that “Jimi started to play around with the guitar!”
Eddie had numerous critically acclaimed releases during the seventies and eighties (see discography below) but always seemed to be recording for the right label at the wrong time or vice-versa. The man who had enjoyed as full a career as anyone could hope for, respected as one of the very best in two genres - blues and soul, a man fully capable of dipping into funk, rock and country blues, finally came to the conclusion that any success he was to enjoy had to be of his own making. Eddie set out to touring, bringing himself and his music directly to the people.
During the last ten years or so, Eddie Kirkland & The Energy Band have played in virtually every major metropolitan area in North America and Europe. In perpetual motion, Eddie Kirkland has also been seen and appreciated in smaller towns from Blue Hill, Maine to Missoula, Montana and from Melbourne Beach, Florida to Sheridan, Wyoming. Always the one to leave a lasting impression, Eddie has built an amazing base of support on the strength of his live performances. A recent PBS television documentary (“Music Masters and Rhythm Kings”) in which Eddie Kirkland’s musical roots are traced has helped bring him a wider audience. The same holds true for his three new Deluge releases.
Today, Eddie Kirkland is finally where he wants to be (albeit without the Top 40 hit). He enjoys a touring schedule that will come in at around 45 weeks on the road in 1996 and is eagerly anticipating the success of his new Deluge release, Where You Get Your Sugar?. All three of Kirkland’s Deluge releases capture the power and urgency of Eddie’s soul. And, like the man’s live shows, find Eddie dipping into everything from straight-ahead blues to soul-influenced rock ‘n’ roll and country blues, but each tune is imbued with that characteristic and contagious Kirkland sound. The blues never sound the same after spending a little time with Eddie Kirkland.