A night of the blues come to the Flytrap Music Hall (514 E. Second St.) tonight. You will not want to miss Watermelon Slim.
Bill Homans a.k.a. Watermelon Slim is a truly unique man with an amazing story behind how he came to be a musician and bluesman. While laid up in a Vietnam hospital bed he taught himself upside-down left-handed slide guitar on a $5 balsawood model using a triangle pick cut from a rusty coffee can top and his Army issued Zippo lighter as the slide.
Slim first appeared on the music scene with the release of the only known record by a veteran during the Vietnam War. The project was Merry Airbrakes, a 1973 protest tinged LP with tracks Country Joe McDonald later covered.
In the following 30 plus years Slim has been a truck driver, forklift operator, sawmiller (where he lost part of his finger), firewood salesman, collection agent, and even officiated funerals. At times he got by as a small time criminal. At one point he was forced to flee Boston where he played peace rallies, sit-ins and rabbleroused musically with the likes of Bonnie Raitt.
He ended up farming watermelons in Oklahoma – hence his stage name and current home base. Somewhere in those decades Slim completed two undergrad degrees in history and journalism.
While roommates, buddies and musical partner with the heavy drinking Henry ‘Sunflower’ Vestine of Canned Heat, Slim was able to finish a masters degree and member of Mensa, the social networking group reserved for members with certified genius IQs.
Throughout his storied past, it has always been truck driving that Slim returned to. While trucking and hauling industrial waste for thankless bosses at hourly wages to support himself and his family, his id yearned for release of the musician inside. Many of Slim’s current songs began a cappella in his rig keeping him awake and entertained.
If this is not the blues and how true music develops, I am not sure what is. I first got into this guy at the Bixby BBQ/Blues Fest a few years back and was immediately a fan. He has great stories, fabulous music and stage antics that will have you laughing as well as leaning in to hear more.
Check out his wide array of guitar slides also. From a Zippo lighter to a small bottle of whiskey. Nothing is off limits to the one-of-a-kind man.
Watermelon Slim at The Flytrap Music Hall
Tickets are $10.50 or $15.00 at the door. 18 and over permitted only. 866.966.1777 or Flytrap Box Office 918.794.0238
Some portions of this article were taken from www.watermelonslim.com.
About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so. He also writes articles in the Tulsa Speaks section entitled, "Whatever Happened To…" check it out.