Lightnin’ Wells

Location: R.A. Fountain

Mike “Lightnin'” Wells is a native of West Virginia who grew up in Goldsboro, where he played in garage bands covering popular blues-rock songs of the late 1960s.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, he furthered his interests in the roots of American popular music. “He’s often typed as a bluesman,” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor, “but his shows are much more than that. His knowledge of early American popular music is encylopedic, and he’s a consummate entertainer.”

Wells has been a fulltime professional musician for over a decade. He performs all over the US and has toured in Europe twice. He has worked with a veritible who’s who of piedmont blues artists, including Algia Mae Hinton, Tarboro’s George Higgs, John Dee Holeman, and the late Richard “Big Boy” Henry.

Wells accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, resonator steel guitar, ukelele, and harmonica. He also whistles and yodels. He has released several CDs, although only one, Ragtime Millionaire, remains in print.

Several Wells single-song performances are currently up on YouTube, including some shot at Fountain General Store and a couple at a local cemetery.

Wells moved from Farmville to the Fountain community last year. His May 11 concert begins at 8 p.m.; general admission is $5.

Tags: Appalachian, blues, Concert, country, Delta blues, eclectic, folk, gospel, guitar, hokum, Piedmont blues