Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines 89.9 Chadbourn
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Legendary NC Blues Musician George Higgs Dies

George Higgs
Tim Duffy, Music Maker Relief Foundation

North Carolina blues musician George Higgs died on Tuesday. He was 82 years old.

Higgs was known for singing the piedmont-style blues with his guitar and harmonica throughout the state and was honored as an important part of North Carolina’s musical heritage. In 1992, he received the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Brown-Hudson Award, and he was presented with the North Carolina Heritage Award the following year. Higgs performed throughout the region both solo and with the North Carolina Black Folk Heritage Tour, and released his debut album, Tarboro Blues, in 2001 in collaboration with the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Higgs was born into a farming community 1930 in Speed, North Carolina. He picked up the harmonica as a child and grew up listening to his father play the instrument and sing spirituals. As a young man, he was inspired to purchase his first guitar after hearing a performance by Peg Leg Sam. He played at house parties and competed in guitar contest in Tarboro before singing and playing with the Friendly Five Gospel Quartet in the 1960s.

Higgs worked as a farmer, carpenter, and a father of six children with his wife Bettye in the town where he grew up.

“[For] as long as I’m alive, I think I’ll always have this urge for this old music,” he said. “I know I will. I’m going to try to carry it just as long as I’m able . . . because it’s like history to me.”

Learn more about George Higgs and his legacy here,and watch an interview with George Higgs by Grammy award-winning musician David Holt below.

Laura moved from Chattanooga to Chapel Hill in 2013 to join WUNC as a web producer. She graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2012 and has created radio and multimedia stories for a variety of outlets, including Marketplace, Prairie Public, and Maine Public Broadcasting. When she's not out hunting stories, you can usually find her playing the fiddle.
Related Stories
More Stories