Led by Lil’ Slim (Shawn Holt), the son of legendary Chicago blues master Magic Slim (Morris Holt), The Lil’ Slim Blues Band is a powerhouse band from Lincoln, Neb. Shawn started playing the blues at the age of 17 when he went on the road with his father’s group the Teardrops, where he acquired the nickname “Lil’ Slim” from his late uncle.
Lil’ Slim plays the old style of Chicago blues without the special effects and pedals popular among many of today’s young guitar players. Lil’ Slim plays with just a thumb pick – similar to his dad’s style of playing – plucking out most of his notes with his thumb and occasionally using his other fingers, but no flat pick. “Using my thumb hits the string differently than using a flat pick,” Holt said. “It makes a different tone come out of the guitar — a harder tone.”
Holt moved with his family from Chicago to Lincoln in 1994 when his dad wanted to get the young teen away from the gang violence and other bad influences. He formed a band with longtime family friend Jeff Boehmer, who plays bass and whose dad owns the Zoo Bar in downtown Lincoln. Holt actually started out on bass but soon switched to guitar.
The Lil’ Slim Blues Band consists of Holt (guitar and vocals), Josh Hoyer (piano and vocals), Boehmer (bass) and Bo Rose (drums). In January, The Lil’ Slim Blues Band represented the Blues Society of Omaha at the International Blues Challenge competition in Memphis. They made it to the semi-finals and were among the top 44 out of 150 bands from around the world.
All concerts for Omaha Performing Arts Presents Jazz on the Green at Midtown Crossing are free to the public. No reservations or tickets are needed. The venue opens at 5:00 p.m. and performances start at 7:00 p.m.