A One-of-a-kind Pickin’ Performance from Watermelon Slim

This year’s W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival on June 13-16 will showcase 17 outstanding musical groups. Don’t wait until June to get up close to these talented groups. Keep scrolling to read about Watermelon Slim, a “one-of-a-kind pickin’ n singing” blues band that will be performing on Saturday June 16 at 2 p.m.

Born in Boston and raised in Ashville, NC, Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans has built a remarkable reputation with his raw, impassioned intensity. Paste Magazine writes, “He’s one hell of a bottleneck guitarist, and he’s got that cry in his voice that only the greatest singers in the genre have had before him.”

One of Slim’s most impressive industry accolades may be the liner notes of “The Wheel Man”,  written by the late legendary Jerry Wexler who called him a “one-of-a-kind pickin’ n singing Okie dynamo.”The most exciting and authentic blues performer I’ve heard in years.” A.W., Paste Magazine

While Slim has been honored with multiple Blues Music Award wins and nominations, he is also a proud Vietnam veteran. While laid up in a Vietnam hospital bed he taught himself upside-down left-handed slide guitar on a $5 balsa-wood model using a triangle pick cut from a rusty coffee can top and his Army issued Zippo lighter as the slide. With album titles like “No Paid Holidays,” and “Escape From The Chicken Coop,” Slim delivers “Personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat,” HARP Magazine quoted.

Slim’s fans are anxiously awaiting the release of his new album in 2019-a milestone that once seemed unattainable back in 2002. Just over 15 years ago, Slim suffered a near fatal heart attack. His brush with death gave him a new perspective on mortality, direction and life ambitions and thus his second emergence as a performing musician. Five albums later he says, “Everything I do now has a sharper pleasure to it. I’ve lived a fuller life than most people could in two. If I go now, I’ve got a good education, I’ve lived on three continents, and I’ve played music with a bunch of immortal blues players. I’ve fought in a war and against a war. I’ve seen an awful lot and I’ve done an awful lot. If my plane went down tomorrow, I’d go out on top.” And when you watch him perform, you know every word is true.


The 28th annual W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival is a free festival, made possible by Field & Main Bank and other generous sponsors. The 2018 festival will begin Wednesday June 13 at 5 p.m. View the complete 2018 festival schedule and music lineup, or click the button below to listen to this year’s talent on Spotify!