Tim Budig Band

I can remember the first time I saw magic Slim at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska. I grew up there and shortly after I turned twenty one, in nineteen ninety one, I hit the world famous home town hot spot. I still remember counting five double shots of Wild Turkey going down in the thirty to forty five minutes the band warmed up the crowd, while Slim sat at the bar. Hell, I bought him one, and shook his hand. (The one with the pinky missing, that's another blog story)

After ten shots, five doubles, enough to put most men under the table, he stood up, walked to the stage, picked up his guitar, turned it up, and proceeded to take us on a blues journey! Slim could build up that raw energy, and then lay it down so sweet! He had honed his craft under Magic Sam, the west side Chicago legend, and Slim played all over the world, something his mentor Sam would have done, had he not died relatively young, at age thirty two.

Right around 1995, when I started playing guitar, Slim (Morris Holt) moved him and his son Shawn, and his Brother Nick along with other family to Lincoln. That meant if you played blues guitar, and Slim was in town, he may show up at a jam and play for you, or even with you! Slim loved sharing the stage with blues loving musicians. He certainly gave us all some amazing memories along the way. He'd be just back from a European tour and hanging out with Sean Benjamin and the house band down at Duggans' Pub on a Monday night, or over at the Zoo Bar.

It certainly is something that fueled my desire to learn quickly, I knew Slim wasn't always around, and I knew there was a pecking order and I was at the bottom of that order. But, man, when you got to a jam and you saw that Magic Slim was in the house, even if you didn't play with him, you were going to play for him, so you had to bring the A game, which I didn't have yet. I was working on that, still am.

I did eventually get to back up Magic Slim on stage, but most of my time in the same room with him was spent watching other, more accomplished players back him up. My favorite memories are when his son, Shawn Holt (guitar) and his Brother Nick (Bass) would back him up. From two thousand through about two thousand and two, I played with Nick Holt, and even today, I still back up Shawn Holt from time to time. 

Magic was loved by so many, here in Lincoln and all over the world. He didn't use a green room, he drank at the bar with fans, usually not paying for any, and loved every minute of it. Slim loved people and mingling with his crowd was as much of his show as the music. Not every gig was like that, he couldn't do that at big concerts and festivals, but the Zoo was the right kind of club for that close social contact.

Today his son Shawn Holt fronts the Teardrops, and is every bit the player his Dad was. This May Magic Slim will be officially inducted into the blues hall of fame. I say officially because in lots of our minds and hearts, he and Nick are in the hall of fame already. I think Shawn is getting flown out to Memphis to accept on his Dad's behalf, which is pretty sweet.

As a blues guitarist, having the chance to learn directly from a world famous, Handy award winning , real live Mississippi blues man is something I still can't believe I got in on! Having a connection to his Son and the Zoo bar is something I don't take for granted. I've worked my ass off and had a little good luck along the way, too!

Keep the Blues Alive!




  • Leave a comment: