Dom Flemons Remembers Boo Hanks
inArtist Storyon April 20, 2016
Earlier this week beloved Music Maker artist passed away. Boo Hanks, a descendant of Abraham Lincoln on his mother’s side, is the greatest Piedmont Blues rediscovery in many years. He sings and plays guitar in the style of the legendary Blind Boy Fuller. At the age of 79, he made his first recording and at 82 he has enjoyed performances around home as well as Lincoln Center and Belgium.
I met Boo in the summer of 2006. I came into the music maker studio as a session musician for an undiscovered talent. I met Boo Hanks that day. He came with Tony Young and his grandson Poo. From the moment that we sat down and played “Trouble in Mind” and Keep on Truckin’ Mama” we became the best of friends. To fully describe how Boo affected my life would be impossible. That’s how it goes when you meet someone older than you. The ways an elder affect your life, don’t present themselves until after they are gone.
Yet, the reason I feel great joy in being able to write this eulogy is that in the 10 years I knew Boo, I got to see him perform all over the country and the world with his music. To say that it brought him great joy would be the biggest understatement I could ever write.
Not only did he get to perform in front of numerous audiences, he got to teach his music to a variety of younger musicians and enthusiasts, who desired no more than to sit at his feet and learn.
I’m going to miss him so much! Though I will miss him, I know that he is with me whenever I play the songs he taught me. And… The jokes he might have told me in passing. I know he has found his peace. I can see him now jitterbugging in the clouds because he stood by the banks of the river and his captain had gone on before.
The American Songster
April 19, 2016