Bear Mountain Boys

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About Bear Mountain Boys

The Bear Mountain Boys are Perry Bullhead and Brando Tarbox, a grandfather and grandson team who play North Mississippi hill-town inspired Texas blues. A core group of sidemen, including Billy Klock on drums, Peter Kim on bass, and Doug Huntington on blues harp back them up. Born Perry Howarth in Fall River, Massachusetts, 1958, Perry Bullhead began playing guitar and harmonica at the age of twelve after hearing Leadbelly and Sonny Terry play "How Long" on a record. At the age of seventeen, Perry hitchhiked to Texas in a quest to track down the legendary blues-man Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins. He didn't find Lightnin' but what he did find was the inside of the Houston prison farm after receiving ten days for vagrancy and trespassing in the city. The prison farm was segregated and being from Massachusetts he was under suspicion. Rather than spending his days with the other white prisoners, he was separated and put to work with the Mexicans shoveling cow manure at a local ranch. The gang had a Mexican singer and he and Perry would take turns singing work songs. Perry's music went on to show the influence of these Mexican songs. He went on to play on the streets of New Orleans and New York City and ultimately returned to Western Massachusetts. Soon after, he met and played with John Lee Hooker at the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Holding a guitar case in his hand and appearing to work for John, Perry was able to walk right by security and go back stage. He jammed with John and the band in their dressing room where John told him, "I like the way you play. Keep it up 'cause I know you're gonna make it!" Perry went through several incarnations of The Perry Howarth Blues Band before deciding to change the name. Howarth was impossible for people to spell, pronounce, or remember and so he became known by his nickname, Bullhead and renamed the band. The Bear Mountain Boys was born.
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