Growing up in north Mississippi, Junior Kimbrough learned guitar from his father and then took influences from early blues music recordings. His unique style would later be identified as one of the defining sounds of the blues sub genre called hill country blues.
Kimbrough traveled to Memphis in 1966 for his first recording session. The results were released decades later because at the time the recording company deemed the sound ‘too country’. When he did release his first record in 1968, both his name and the song title were spelled incorrectly.
Kimbrough spent the 70s and 80s playing in regional juke joints with infrequent opportunities to record. Occasionally he and his band the Soul Blues Boys played outside their area, debuting at the Lincoln Center in New York in 1987.
Junior Kimbrough came into the national spotlight in the 1992 film Deep Blues. Music journalist Robert Palmer heard Kimbrough in a juke joint show and included him in the film, which led to a recording contract and a first album in 1992. After a flurry of touring after the release, Kimbrough settled back into his old routine in juke joints. This included his own club in Mississippi.
After the film, his Junior’s Place club attracted star visitors including U2, Keith Richards and Iggy Pop.
Kimbrough died in1998 of a heart attack and was survived by 36 children. Two sons kept the club open, attracting large crowds until it burned to the ground in 2000.