US bluesman Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton is looking forward to returning to Hawke's Bay in February as part of his six-show New Zealand tour.

And the acclaimed multi-instrumentalist may be doing a little more than wow the Black Barn crowd with his blues and jazz skills which have the ability to transport audiences back to the charged up blues eras of the 1920s and '30s.

He's looking to arrive in the country a few days before the tour gets under way.

"Do some fishing," he said.


And he was accordingly delighted to hear the fishing was pretty good in Hawke's Bay.

"It's always lovely down there," he said of the New Zealand landscape, and remembered a little of his time in the Bay back in March of 2016.

"It was all good fun," he said, before adding with a laugh that he didn't remember too much but then that was probably because he was having too much fun.

The 29-year-old has forged a great blues reputation as well as forays into jazz, ragtime, Cajun and country blues.

As a youngster growing up in California he would listen to the local blues radio station and would also take in the old Cajun and country blues songs his grandmother would sing.

He loved the sounds, loved the music and by 12 was playing the fiddle.

Two years later he picked up the banjo, and despite losing much of his eyesight by the age of 16 he had added piano, ukulele and guitar to his repertoire.

In 2007 he moved to New York to attend college, and while he had some doubts at that stage about where his music could take him that began to change.

"I started getting gigs."

And these days he gets plenty.

When asked how much of the year he's on the road he replied "about eight months — much too much".

But he loves it, although he also loves to get home, put his feet up and have a fine corned beef sandwich...or two.

His clear talents and skills with acoustic blues have earned him comparisons to artists like Taj Mahal, Keb' Mo' and Corey Harris.

He says his music is the best way to express himself and that blues was "part of my culture".

Jerron is a mix of part African American, part Native American, of Cajun descent, and also an Orthodox Jew, so the fuel is there for some inspiring sounds.

In a previous interview he said "it's not music of the past to our people, that's our people's music, and we still listen to it, so it was just natural that I fell into it".

While essentially a solo artist he said he had played with duos, trios, six-piece jazz bands and done session banjo work.

With a repertoire of some 3000 songs he is well equipped to deliver the musical goods.
"I love giving people a little piece of myself," he said.

"I like to make sure they have a good time."

Most of the songs he plays were recorded before 1940 and had been played for decades before that, and continue to be, because the blues is timeless.

Sound and people, was how Paxton put it.

"Blues will always survive."

He said he would arrive "with the strings" and do what he always does — play what the people come to hear.

And at Black Barn they will hear some extraordinary and heart-driven music.

* Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton, Black Barn, Havelock North, Saturday February 17.