Shelton Powe

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Shelton Powe


Shelton plays in the Piedmont finger-style guitar tradition of his parents and elders. Listening to him play and sing, you find yourself back at the wellspring of the Carolina Blues tradition.


How We Helped:
Shelton Powe connected with the Music Maker Relief Foundation in 1997. The foundation has provided him with a guitar, helped him arrange performances throughout North Carolina, and issued his first CD, Carolina Blues and Gospel (March 2012). He has had opportunities to play alongside numerous Music Maker artists, including Eddie Tigner, Mudcat, Cora Mae Bryant, Frank Edwards, Cootie Stark, and Neal Pattman.


He says most of his songs are ones he remembers from childhood. They come to him in fits. He enters musical flashbacks, finding himself a child sitting in a pew enamored by the harmonies of the elders in his Baptist church, or hearing his mother and father singing and playing around the house. More than a musical fancy, the Carolina blues is a piece of Shelton. His honest delivery is captivating.


Shelton Powe (b.1957) was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and raised by a family of gifted instrumentalists, singers and dancers. In keeping with family tradition, his mother would give young Shelton gifts of harmonicas and guitars at Christmas with the hopes of awakening a dormant musical aptitude, to no avail.


It wasn’t until the deaths of his mother and father in the late 1980’s that Shelton became reacquainted with the rhythms and melodies of the old songs his parents used to sing. Picking up the guitar as a tribute to his deceased mother, Shelton set out to learn old-time blues and gospel the way he remembered it from his childhood. Living in Georgia, he immersed himself in the Blues scene of Atlanta and soon found what he was looking for.


Shelton currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.



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