Watermelon Slim - No Paid Holidays - Reviews

 
No Paid Holidays

"Slide guitar like no other. Watermelon Slim has something about him that sets him apart from the rest. Either his exquisite slide guitar playing, his slurred shouts that pose as vocals, or the actual rare quality of catchy-ness while playing the blues, there is something about this man. Intelligently constructed songs, and man, that incredible voice, makes this an incredibly well put together blues album."

-John Shelton Ivany
Top 21
February, 2009 

 
   

"Bill 'Watermelon Slim' Homans has built a career in the blues in a relatively short span of time, releasing four albums in the last five years and touring constantly. Slim sings, plays Dobro slide guitar and harp, and has the kind of life story that could only be lived and not fictionalized. He learned to play in an Army hospital after enlisting in the Vietnam-era military, with a Zippo lighter as a slide. Since then, he has been a truck driver, watermelon farmer (hence the name), a funeral officiator, and a small-time crook. He also has two Masters degrees, one in history and one in journalism. In the early part of our new century, Slim suffered a near-fatal heart attack and refocused his life on the blues. His latest record, No Paid Holidays, shows Slim and his band at their best over the course of 14 tracks of funky, deep-down, play-it-like-you-mean-it blues that would certainly rock any house in the world.

"Slim is raw and no one will ever mistake his voice for B.B. King's, but his rough edges only add to his charm. Slim is the kind of wild-eyed American musical visionary this country used to breed in bunches and that has been in woefully short supply as of late. Technical perfection fades in the name of heart, groove, and sincerity, which is as it should be, and Slim radiates that 'X' factor that makes it all ok. From the fun and funk of
Call My Job to the deep Bloody Burmese Blues, Slim sings it as he has lived it and that is what makes No Paid Holidays so instantly appealing. The disc packs just the right amount of city, swamp, juke joint, and back porch to appeal to a wide range of blues fans. Although he is new on the scene, Watermelon Slim is an all-night worker and could end up a favorite of many long-time roots-music supporters."

- Mike O'Cull
Blues Blast Magazine
September, 2008 

 
   

"Blues music is thinking man's music, but Watermelon Slim's blues… well, that's rocket-science, genius-level stuff, a cut above your average Grade-A filet in both sound and taste. You would think that it would be tough for Slim to follow up a Blues Music Award winning effort like last year's The Wheel Man, yet here he is again, with his superb houserockin' band The Workers – also Blues Music Award winners – delivering another phenomenal effort in No Paid Holidays.

"For the uninitiated, Slim's half-slurred, half-growled vocal patois (equal parts Carolina soul and Okie drawl) takes some getting used to hearing. But throw in Slim's haunting National Steel slide guitarplay, which hangs across these songs like vines dripping down from the limbs of a Cypress tree, combine it with his shotgun harp work, include a band that knows when to be quiet and when to be loud, and you have a lethal chemistry. Slim's whipsmart lyricism is backed up by real-life bumps-and-bruises… all a beautiful shade of blues… and enough skilled wordplay to entertain listeners for hours.

"
No Paid Holidays follows Slim's tried-and-true formula – a couple of gutbucket blues romps (Gearzy's Boogie, Blues For Howard), a romantic tearjerker (You're The One I Need), a mournful field holler with sparse instrumentation (This Traveling Life), and a couple of greasy juke-joint slides (Lee Roy Parnell drops by to add some bottleneck breaks to Bubba's Blues, while I've Got A Toothache is just downright scary). Slim displays his storytelling skills with the entertaining Max The Baseball Clown, while Archetypal Blues No. 2 covers a lot of historical ground with name checks of giants like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker delivered above a raging boogie beat. A cover of Laura Nyro's And When I Die is stripped down from its better-known Blood, Sweat & Tears arrangement, reduced to a raw, emotional country-blues stomp.

"The bottom line: the blues just don't get any better than
No Paid Holidays — making Watermelon Slim and the Workers a true musical force of nature."

- Rev. Keith A. Gordon
Blurt online - formerly Harp Magazine
August, 2008 

 
   

Today's Grapes of Wrath
"The journey of Watermelon Slim, aka Bill Homans, is the stuff of movies. He learned his unique, upside-down, left-handed slide style in a Vietnam hospital bed 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. As a modern Tom Joad, he's worked as a truck driver, forklift operator, sawmiller (where he lost part of his finger), firewood salesman, collection agent, and has even officiated funerals. He ended up farming watermelons in Oklahoma - hence his stage name and current home base. Somewhere in those decades Slim also completed two undergrad degrees, in history and journalism.

"Though he never made the finals of the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, he was signed on the strength of his jarring, solo act. From there, Watermelon Slim and his band, The Workers, have become the talk of the Blues World. In 2007, Watermelon Slim garnered six Blues Music Award (BMA) nominations for Artist, Entertainer, Album, Band, Song, and Traditional Album of the Year. In 2008, Slim and the band were nominated for another six Blues Music Awards for the same categories.

"Still looking to win his first BMA, Watermelon Slim finally walked away with the two biggest prizes of the 2008 BMA's, Band of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for his 2007 release, The Wheel Man. Backed by his crack band, drummer Michael Newbury, bassist Cliff Belcher, and guitarist Ronnie McMullen, Slim delivers what might be termed "Blues of the new millennium." They consistently deliver a rockin' Blues featuring Slim's slippery slide and veteran harmonica connected to themes essential in today's Grapes of Wrath America. Past tunes like
Foldin' Money Blues, Black Water, and Hard Times speak to the modern situation in the same way Willie Dixon's tunes captured Chicago or Charlie Patton's songs illuminated the Delta. At the same time, Slim's gravelly vocals are as timeless as the places this music was born.

"The CD is a collection of styles, genres, and verses. There's the fine slide duet between Slim and Lee Roy Parnell on
Bubba's Blues. There's some clever down-home philosophy on the first song, Blues For Howard, with David Maxwell added on piano. There's Slim blowin' a funky, Chicago Blues on Detroit Junior's Call My Job, followed by You're The One I Need, wherein Slim acknowledges his harp debt to Chicago's Charlie Musselwhite and Paul Butterfield. On Archetypal Blues #2, Slim's personal history rap captures floating verses from Johnson's Preachin' Blues, like 'the Blues is an achin' heart disease' and honors his inspirations like Wolf, John Lee, and Mississippi Fred.

"Three tunes are recorded field holler style. On
This Traveling Life, Slim's whoopin' and wailin' and his acoustic harp answering strongly alludes to the ending of the O' Brother movie. The same treatment is given to Laura Nyro's And When I Die and I've Got A Toothache, where Slim's slide smothers the pain of the extraction. Remember the Blues is about reliving the pains.

"The deepest, most timely Blues is The
Bloody Burmese Blues, about watching a foreign war from his hotel and wonderin' whether our press and government will take the time to report the massacre. This is where guitarist McMullen shines as he competently turns the emotion of the moment into weeping notes. The CD closes immersed in the Blues with five minutes of Mississippi Fred's Everybody's Down On Me. Slim and his Dobro lament its forceful tale as if he was standin' solo in Como, Mississippi.

"Because he's recording with the same band he tours with, Watermelon Slim and his Workers intuitively know how to find the continually paint fresh musical pictures. Get ready for another slew of BMA nominations to follow in 2009.
"

- Art Tipaldi
BluesWax
August, 2008 

 
   

"I saw Watermelon Slim and his band The Workers at a small club and they rocked the joint. In more ways than one. They were remarkable in their energy and as loud as I've ever heard a band. Steve Strongman (a local blues guitarist who opened the show) had to move away to rescue his own ears! They have poured all the same ingredients into this, their newest CD just out. No Paid Holidays is a collection of 14 new tracks, nine originals and a clutch of covers all given the Watermelon Slim treatment.

"And what is that treatment? Well, it's full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes blues. Take no prisoners. Slim is a slicing and dicing bottleneck guitarist, who uses a variety of slides to fret with. He plays a mean harmonica, and his voice channels the ghost of Howlin' Wolf. So how can you go wrong? He's a political animal, too. His lyrics cover societal ills, life as a workingman, the road, and everything else, right through to
Max the Baseball Clown. He has great taste in cover tunes too, doing a respectable job on Fred McDowell's Everybody's Down on Me and a bang-up And When I Die (the Laura Nyro classic). And his band is good. Cliff Belcher (bass), Michael Newbury (drums), Ronnie 'Mack' McMullen (guitars), are the Workers, who are joined by guests David Maxwell on piano and Lee Roy Parnell who drops in to add slide guitar on Bubba's Blues. Don't miss these guys. And watch for them to play in your town...that's a show you definitely want to see."

- David Kidney
Greenman Review
August, 2008 

 
   

"Blues music is thinking man's music, but Watermelon Slim's blues… well, that's rocket-science, genius-level stuff, a cut above your average Grade-A filet in both sound and taste. You would think that it would be tough for Slim to follow up a Blues Music Award winning effort like last year's The Wheel Man, yet here he is again, with his superb houserockin' band The Workers – also Blues Music Award winners – delivering another phenomenal effort in No Paid Holidays.

"For the uninitiated, Slim's half-slurred, half-growled vocal patois (equal parts Carolina soul and Okie drawl) takes some getting used to hearing. But throw in Slim's haunting National Steel slide guitarplay, which hangs across these songs like vines dripping down from the limbs of a Cypress tree, combine it with his shotgun harp work, include a band that knows when to be quiet and when to be loud, and you have a lethal chemistry. Slim's whipsmart lyricism is backed up by real-life bumps-and-bruises… all a beautiful shade of blues… and enough skilled wordplay to entertain listeners for hours.

"
No Paid Holidays follows Slim's tried-and-true formula – a couple of gutbucket blues romps (Gearzy's Boogie, Blues For Howard), a romantic tearjerker (You're The One I Need), a mournful field holler with sparse instrumentation (This Traveling Life), and a couple of greasy juke-joint slides (Lee Roy Parnell drops by to add some bottleneck breaks to Bubba's Blues, while I've Got A Toothache is just downright scary). Slim displays his storytelling skills with the entertaining Max The Baseball Clown, while Archetypal Blues No. 2 covers a lot of historical ground with name checks of giants like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker delivered above a raging boogie beat. A cover of Laura Nyro's And When I Die is stripped down from its better-known Blood, Sweat & Tears arrangement, reduced to a raw, emotional country-blues stomp.

"The bottom line: the blues just don't get any better than
No Paid Holidays — making Watermelon Slim and the Workers a true musical force of nature.

"Standout Tracks:
I've Got A Toothache, Archetypal Blues No. 2"

- Rev. Keith A. Gordon
Blurt Magazine
August, 2008 

 
   

"Bill Homans’ (AKA Watermelon Slim’s) first record was a 1973 protest album. Recently back from a grunts-eye view of Vietnam, he used a tin can shard as a pick and his Zippo lighter as a slide, and laid down a series of bitter, acerbic ruminations on the horror and the folly of that memorable war. In the meantime he’s passed his days as a truck driver, forklift operator, sawmiller, firewood salesman, collection agent, funeral parlor director, small-time criminal, watermelon farmer, college graduate times three, and member of Mensa. And, oh yeah, one hell of a slide guitar player and blues singer.

"Never mind that Bill went thirty years between albums. The last five years have seen five new albums, and
No Paid Holidays continues the winning streak. There are original field hollers here, original laments that sound like they come directly from the Delta, original electric Chicago blues, and an oddly endearing blues cover of Laura Nyro’s And When I Die. On Archetypal Blues No. 2 Bill conjures the spirits of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf. 'Most of my heroes are dead,' he mumbles, and then burns through a solo that would raise the dead. The guy is good. Real good."

- Andy Whitman
Paste Magazine
July, 2008 

 
   

"Watermelon Slim and the Workers play the straight-up workingman's blues, for people who walk the hard road every day and are trying to make ends meet. Slim has been a soldier, truck driver and everything in between, and their latest album continues their mission moving from solo blues to full band accompaniment in the songs. Slim has a couple of political songs on the new record, Blues for Howard (Zinn?) and Bloody Burmese Blues show him taking a Woody Guthrie like journalistic approach to songwriting and then combining it with a solid blues beat. This narrative impulse carries into a couple of other songs, the melancholy Dad in the Distance and the nostalgic Max the Baseball Clown. Slim hasn't forgotten how to boogie as is aptly demonstrated by the blues standard Call My Job and the rockin' Bubba's Blues. He slows things back down for the confessional spoken word and harmonica of I Got a Toothache and And When I Die. Good stuff to be found here. Slim tries to come across as an Okie good ol' boy sometimes, but it is clear that a lot of thought and effort has gone into his music and that effort has paid off handsomely. Like Guthrie, Hank Williams and Willie Dixon, Slim's songs evoke the soul of America in a way that FOX news could only dream of."

-Tim Niland
Jazz & Blues Music Reviews
July, 2008 

 
   

"'Workingman's blues' is one of those silly terms that nonetheless conjures a specific image: no-nonsense, pounding, guitar-driven, tradition-sensitive music performed by a grizzled veteran with a gravelly voice.

"Bill Homans, the Oklahoma Everyman known as Watermelon Slim, has gone one better, as the man with the Blues Award for Album of the Year for 2007 with
The Wheel Man. That rock-heavy disc focused on work, including Truck Driving Mama and Newspaper Reporter. His followup effort, No Paid Holidays, covers more cerebral territory, with occasional comic relief (Call My Job, a raveup about being too hung over for work, and Max the Baseball Clown, a tribute to baseball's clown prince, Max Patkin, sung a cappella.

"The wider stylistic and thematic range of
No Paid Holidays reflects the artist's growth and a willingness to bare his soul. But it's a good bet that when the Workers hit the stage, they're intent on doing their primary job: entertaining the masses."

-Jeff Johnson
Chicago Sun-Times
July, 2008 

 
   

"For the uninitiated, William P Homans, also known under his blues nom de plume as Watermelon Slim, is a polymath.

"He has lived the life of a Vietnam veteran, small time criminal, Southern gentleman during the Jim Crowe days, farmer, father, husband, heart attack survivor, academic scholar - and day laborer.

"Homans has a wealth of knowledge, talent and experience to draw from, which makes him musically conversant in material written by Cat-Iron as he is in material by Laura Nyro. To say
No Paid Holidays, the third offering by Watermelon Slim & The Workers on The Northern Blues label, is more of the same does all involved a major disservice. Although the disc does cover from standard blues themes (the effects of excessive living, loss of a loved one) Watermelon Slim & The Workers just do things differently.

"And by differently, I mean better - much better.

"Slim is once again layering his fiery slide Dobro and harmonica work and weathered vocals over his road tested three-piece backing band. With Michael Newbury on drums and percussion, Cliff Belcher on bass, and Ronnie McMullen Jr. on six-string, about the only thing remotely negative about the disc is, by including four solo tracks, the Workers are underutilized.

"Again, I need to stress the solo tracks are not self-gratifying fillers. Having witnessed Slim quiet, and through a room full of contemporaries at a Handy Awards show, each of these solo tracks has the ability to repeat this feat. However, this should have been an 18-track disc instead of 14. Slim certainly has a vast catalog of experience to write and sing about.

"From the opening track
Blues from Howard, it is putting these four gifted musicians on the road for virtually the last two years that has got them synched into each others playing, and with Slim’s arrangements. Every note has meaning; every lead line is included only to propel the groove of the song or instrumental.

"
Archetypal Blues No.2 is another shuffle piece with a big enough groove to drive one of Slim’s old 18-wheelers through. Call My Job, has Slim’s weathered vocals, matter-of-fact delivery and dry wit propelling a song about having 'too much weekend.' Slim may be able to mingle with the single-malt-and-brandy crowd, but is most at home with those who prefer whiskey as their beverage of choice.

"On the track
Dad in The Distance, the tempo slows down as Slim examines his relationships with his father, and with his own child. It is a particularly gripping piece considering when not on the road, Slim calls Oklahoma home - and his child lives in Massachusetts.

"Other highlights on this disk include a cover version of
When I Die, written by Laura Nyro and made famous by Blood, Sweat & Tears. A solo track of just Slim’s vocals and harmonica complement this unique choice of cover tunes. Gearsy’s Boogie is an up-tempo instrumental written for an honest mechanic who helped Slim & The Workers on yet another cross-country trek.

"On
Max the Baseball Clown, Slim waxes nostalgic about a character he met during his childhood in North Carolina. On The Bloody Burmese Blues, Slim takes to task the U.S. media only supporting selected causes, and then reminds the listener that ordinary everyday people can make a change as long as they are interested in taking action.

"Having won two Blues Music Awards for their previous release
The Wheel Man, this album should certainly garner more recognition for Northern Blues and Watermelon Slim & The Workers. While out purchasing copies of No Paid Holidays, pick up an offering from Homans’ back catalog. Never one to go through the motions, the man, and his band, has many layers, and you will not be disappointed."

-Georgetown Fats
The Boston Blues Society
July, 2008 

 
   

"The latest Watermelon Slim CD has arrived, and guess what? ... He’s kept up the great standard that his fans have grown used to over the years. This is the man who first recorded an album as a Vietnam Vet during the war. He went on to play as sideman with a lot of big names before going out on his own, and has since received twelve Blues Music Award nominations.

"14 tracks on the new CD,
No Paid Holidays (NorthernBlues) and not a bad one amongst them – a mix of originals and covers, but the covers all have the Watermelon Slim stamp on them.

"The album opens with a Slim original
Blues For Howard, a good up-tempo rocking blues with some excellent slide dobro work and lovely acoustic piano from guest David Maxwell (who also plays on track 6, together with another guest, Lee Roy Parnell, on electric slide guitar). Things don’t slow down much on track two Archetypal Blues No.2, and the slide gets hotter! Slim’s distinctive voice shining through on the vocals.

"Track three is the first of the covers, a distinctive version of
Call My Job, (Detroit Junior & Al Perkins), and it’s a fabulous track, full of the flavour of the original, but different in a Watermelon Slim kind of way and with some distinctive harmonica playing by the slim man. Things slow down with track four, Dad In The Distance, a moody track with lots of atmosphere, and then pick up very slightly with You’re The One I Need with some more great harmonica.

"An unusual inclusion is a Laura Nyro track,
And When I Die, a little bit of country folk – I wondered at first why it’s on the CD, but I kept going back to it!

"I’ve got two favourite tracks on this CD, a Watermelon Slim original,
I’ve Got A Toothache (maybe written from experience?), and Fred McDowell’s Everybody’s Down On Me, as good a version of this track as I’ve ever heard.

"The CD is dedicated to Craig Lawler, who was a harmonica student of Slim’s."

-Terry Clear
Blues Bytes
July, 2008 

 
   

"In recent years, Watermelon Slim has risen to the top of the blues genre; his last LP, The Wheel Man, helped him garner six nominations at the Blues Music Awards, a feat that has only been accomplished by legends like B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Slim’s got his own legend, and it starts back in Vietnam, where he learned how to play slide guitar backwards on a lap dobro with a jagged pick cut from a tin can and his standard-issue Zippo lighter subbing in as slide. Slim is credited as the first Vietnam veteran to release an album, 1973’s self-titled protest blues record Merry Airbrakes, which contains lines like, 'If I die in battle / Pick up my AK-47 and fight on.' Back then, he was known by his given name, Bill Homans, and described his album as 'anti-capitalistic, anti-imperialistic,' and containing 'incontrovertible underground credentials.'

"It was 30 years before Slim released another album. But he stayed busy working a handful of odd-jobs, and picked up his blues name while harvesting watermelons, as he recalled on 2003’s
They Call Me Watermelon Slim: 'I was standing in a great big old field full of watermelons down in southeast Oklahoma about 23 years ago. Had me a great big ol’ slice of red watermelon in one hand and a Hohner D harmonica in the other—not a woman within 20 miles. I was getting to be a lonely SOB. But I looked at the harmonica and I looked at that piece of watermelon and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I got me a blues name! I’m Watermelon Slim.’ And I been Watermelon Slim to this day.'

"No Paid Holidays is somewhat more introverted than the boogie-heavy Wheel Man. But Slim finds room for his full range of styles, from the field holler, through the Mississippi Delta blues, and on up ol’ muddy to the rockin’ Chicago blues..."

-David MacFadden-Elliott
Crawdaddy!
June, 2008 

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"Watermelon Slim has a fresh contemporary vision of country blues, a personal one that still allows listeners to feel right at home, and while he hasn't varied his approach too much over the course of his past couple of albums (No Paid Holidays is his third release for Northern Blues), what he does fits and works so well that that's undoubtedly a good thing. Here he hits his usual touchstones, pounding out a couple of full-tilt blues-rockers, shining on slide guitar, stripping things down on occasion for one of his unique 'hollers.' There aren't really any surprises, but again, that's fine. Well, actually, hearing Slim's stripped-down harmonica version of Laura Nyro's And When I Die is a bit of a surprise, and a delight at that. Also a delight is the slide guitar bonanza of Bubba's Blues, which features guest slide guitarist Lee Roy Parnell and Slim tearing the rafters down. Slim's sharp narrative sense emerges on Max the Baseball Clown, which conjures long-ago boyhood summers while the opener, Blues for Howard, contains the remarkable line 'You can't stay neutral on a moving train.' The blues is such a conservative genre in so many ways, depending on familiar progressions and purposely clichéd sentiment to convey universal emotions. Watermelon Slim manages to work within that framework and still somehow make it all seem hushed and personal, even intimate. It's not an easy line to walk, but he does it as well as anyone currently on the contemporary blues scene. No Paid Holidays may not cut into any new territory, but it doesn't really have to because what this guy does is wonderfully solid right where it is."

-Steve Leggett
All Music Guide
June, 2008 

 
   

"Fresh off his big wins at the 2008 Blues Award for Band of the Year and Album of the year (for 2007's The Wheel Man), Bill Homans, better-known as Watermelon Slim, is back with another solid set of blues for the working class from Northern Blues, entitled No Paid Holidays.

"For the uninitiated, Slim is quite the character, perhaps along the line of, say, a Tom Waits. His songwriting draws from personal experiences and people he's known thru his stints as a watermelon farmer, sawmiller, trucker, and Vietnam vet. He's a helluva slide player, too, teaching himself while in a Vietnam hospital bed, using his Zippo as a slide. And, every solo he fires off is full of the same passion that has been his forte' over the course of four albums in five years. It's those releases plus his constant touring schedule that has endeared Slim to the blues community. Thru his music, he's made the blues both down-home and city-slick at the same time. Check out his 'field holler' vocals on
This Traveling Life, contrasted by the funky tale of a man who's had way 'too much weekend,' Call My Job.

"Slim's backing band, The Workers, include Ronnie McMullen on guitars, Cliff Belcher on bass, and Michael Newberry on drums. This set also has two very special guests--David Maxwell on piano on the rockin' leadoff cut,
Blues For Howard, and again teaming with Lee Roy Parnell and his slide guitar on Bubba's Blues.

"Slim is a certifed member of Mensa, the society reserved for those with genius IQ's, and some of his songs reflect his vast knowledge. On
Archetypal Blues No. 2, Slim's searing slide drives his vocal, leading to a name-check of just about all of the masters who have influenced him. The set closes with an acoustic number, just Slim's vocal and his slide on a brilliant read of Mississippi Fred McDowell's Everybody's Down On Me.

"We had two favorites, too, both acoustic in nature. Slim and his harp give a whole new look to
And When I Die, popularized by Blood, Sweat, and Tears from the Sixties. And, with Max The Baseball Clown, Slim revisits the days of his youth, when a visit from Max Patkin, the Clown Prince of Baseball, was guaranteed to fill the seats of minor league ballparks everywhere!!

"Watermelon Slim as an honest, down-to-earth hero for Everyman, who sees things in a different light since a near-fatal heart attack in 2002. His passion for life shows thru in his blues, and we heartily recommend
No Paid Holidays!!"

-Don Crow
The Music City Blues Society, Nashville, Tennessee
June, 2008 

 
   

"...William P. Homans, better known as Watermelon Slim, front man of Watermelon Slim And The Workers, is a veteran of the Vietnam war who worked as everything from a journalist to a truck driver. He's not some pretty boy rock star, in fact you'd be generous to call him road weary and shop worn. His voice isn't what you'd call melodious, but it is the voice of a man who has experienced any number of ups and downs on the road that's carried him to his current destination, and the voice of a man you feel you can trust.

"From the first to the last song on
No Paid Holidays, released Tues. June 24th on the Northern Blues label, Watermelon Slim shows once again why his music is able to reach out and touch people hearts as well as their minds. It doesn't matter whether or not you are familiar with the topic or if he's singing about something you've experienced, he sings in such a manner that you can identify with it...

"...
No Paid Holidays proves once again that Watermelon Slim can sing a song in such a way that nearly anybody can identify with it. He and the Workers can rock the house and break your heart, and do it in a way that we can all understand..."

-Richard Marcus
Blogcritics
June, 2008 

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"Watermelon Slim received six Blues Music Awards nominations in 2008, winning Best Album and Best Band awards. Combining the six nominations this year with the six nominations he received in 2007 gives him an unprecedented twelve nominations total in consecutive years. Relentless touring and two excellent albums of his quirky hard-rocking blues over the past couple of years has resulted in the charismatic Oklahoma bluesman becoming one of the most popular artists in modern blues.

"Slim’s latest effort, with his band, the Workers, is probably his best yet.
No Paid Holidays (NorthernBlues Music) features his riveting brand of blues that takes the listener from the Mississippi Delta north to Chicago and back down through Oklahoma. Propelled by Slim’s scorching dobro (electric and acoustic) and his weathered vocals, along with outstanding support from the Workers (Cliff Belcher – bass, Michael Newberry – drums, Ronnie 'Mack' McMullen – guitars, along with Grammy winner Dave Maxwell on keyboards for a couple of tracks), No Paid Holidays is an exhilarating ride from start to finish.

"Standout tracks include the incendiary
Archetypal Blues No. 2, which features some magnificent guitar work from Slim, and a ramped-up version of Detroit Jr.’s Call My Job, driven hard by Slim’s harmonica. Lee Roy Parnell adds sizzling slide guitar to Bubba’s Blues. And When I Die, the Laura Nyro-penned classic made popular by Blood, Sweat & Tears over 30 years ago, sounds for all the world like an original composition in Slim’s hands.

"
Into the Sunset is a country-flavored romp, and Max The Baseball Clown is a fond remembrance of Max Patkin, the legendary barnstorming baseball clown who toured minor league stadiums for over fifty years. I’ve Got A Toothache proves that even the most mundane events can give someone the blues with imagery so vivid you can almost feel yourself getting one. Slim closes the disc with an atmospheric cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s Everybody’s Down On Me.

"Watermelon Slim continues to be one of the most original and vital voices currently working in the blues. Expect to hear more from him and
No Paid Holidays during the 2009 Blues Music Awards."

-Graham Clarke
Blues Bytes
June, 2008 

 
   

"This multiple Blues Music Award nominee and this year's recipient for the Album of the Year and Band of the Year, has released another honest and refreshing testament to the Blues. It is rare in today's market to find a performer that holds tradition so dear, and performs the music so well, that it comes across as something totally new and unique. The honesty is there in abundance and so is the joy of listening to a band and frontman that understands the Blues better than most contemporary artists today. If you want to hear some real Blues, performed the way it should be, look and listen no further."

-Barrelhouse Blues
June, 2008 

 
   

"Two albums ago, it seemed like this was some kind of joke that grew out of the minds that made Frank Zappa and Tom Waits possible, but it was for real. Real for real. Heading into album three with a ton of awards, nominations and recognition, guests like Lee Roy Parnell lend a hand and the proceedings take white boy blues to the next level of the game, a level that isn’t frequently attained. A blistering , heartfelt set that goes someplace totally unexpected, you can call it blues, but it’s now become Watermelon Slim music. A wild ride that you really have to take."

-Chris Spector
Midwest Record
June, 2008