Since the Memorial Hall was “discovered” as an ideal venue for folk, blues and country some years ago, one of the performers who has made the biggest impression is Eric Bibb.
Dipping into all three musical traditions, and adding a splash of gospel for good measure, the American has consistently delivered inspirational sets.
For some time, the question has been asked when is he coming back. The answer is next Tuesday when he will be part of a five-piece band.
He will no doubt playing songs from the new album, Deeper in the Well, whose sound is steeped in rural Louisiana, where it was recorded.
The message is one of spirit of hope and optimism in difficult times, which is what you would expect from the soulful singer and acoustic guitarist, whose father, Leon Bibb, was a prominent figure on the New York folk scene in the 1960s and whose godfather was actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson. Family friends included Odetta, Pete Seeger and Josh White.
Eric Bibb studied psychology and Russian at Columbia University before heading for Paris at the age of 19 where he picked up his interest in blues guitar.
A few years later he settled in Stockholm where he found a creative environment that reminded him of his teenage days in Greenwich Village.
After four decades, 35 albums and non-stop touring, he is hugely respected musical elder statesman with plenty still to offer.
Last time in Sheffield was to accompany 2010’s Booker’s Guitar album, a tribute to blues pioneer Bukka White. His reputation goes before him. Tuesday’s concert is sold out.