I discovered, and immediately loved, finger style country blues after attending a Doc Watson concert in Ithaca, NY in 2004 at the State Theatre. I bought a CD and listened to it over and over. A friend from United Radio in Syracuse introduced me to my future mentor, Bert Stevens. Bert turned me on to the likes of Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Roy Bookbinder, Dave Vanronk and other blues musicians. Bert and I played together regularly for about 6 months before I played my first open mic at Shifties in Syracuse, NY. That was the start of my passion for performing.

I joined a band called kh’mi with Brian Francis and experienced some popularity before I moved to Rochester, NY where I discovered the Son House blues night at Beale St. With a group of Beale St regulars, I started a band called Ancient Youth in 2007 We played regularly around upstate NY, and recorded an album.

During my next musical pursuit in Ithaca, NY I played live with fiddle player Sid Burke in 2010. After moving to Buffalo in 2011 I formed a band called Raed and the Jelly Roll Roosters. In 2017 I began playing with the popular Rochester based band The Crawdiddies and recorded the album “All I got and Need”

I have been performing as a solo musician since my first taste of the blues in dozens of venues across the State. My heart lies in busking and I rarely miss an opportunity to play on the street. I play covers and originals in both Piedmont and Delta styles. I perform a wide range of genres including, reggae, Calypso, classical, jazz and folk.

My instrument of choice is a round neck resonator and I am currently playing a National and a dreadnought wood body Eastman . I am proud to keep a special and profound musical genre alive. I feel passionate about my work and the work of those who came before me. I love sharing this music with new and old listeners in the street and in music halls.

Ræd asked me to write a little piece about the origin of his name, largely, I suspect, because it’s my fault.

Around 1,400 years ago, back in England when England was made up of seven kingdoms, the most powerful of the kings (the Bretwalda as they called him) was the king of the East Angles, and his name was (you guessed it) Rædwald. Since I come from East Anglia (sadly no longer a separate kingdom) and since he was the most successful of his line, and since he was most probably buried in a ninety-foot long ship surrounded by treasure I could hardly fail to name my first-born after him.

Ræd’s name (which should be pronounced with a short ‘a’, as in ‘hat’: as if spelled Radwold) like most Old English names is made out of two parts

Ræd means “judgement, advice, decision, plan”

Wald is from wealdan “to rule, control, determine, direct, command, govern, possess, wield, exercise, cause, bring about”

So Rædwald means something like “ruler of judgement”

Luckily for Ræd in high school, ‘rad’ as a shortening of ‘radical’ was a term of high praise.
We have actually visited Rædwald’s burial site while the UK and the guy in charge of it kindly offered to bury my Ræd for free if he happened to need it during the visit.

Richard H-B

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