AUBURN – Studebaker John, a gifted harmonica player and slide guitar master, will perform at the Midnight Blues Club May 1, as part of the 2005 Sunday Night Blues Series.

He is touring the country to promote his new album, “Between Life and Death,” on Avanti Records.

Studebaker John Grimaldi was born in an Italian-American section of Chicago and started playing harmonica at age 7.

He began performing as Studebaker John and the Hawks in the 1970s. The band name was derived from the famed Studebaker Hawk, a car Grimaldi still owns today. The name is also meant as a tribute to his friend, J.B. Hutto, who’s band was also known as the Hawks.

Grimaldi began playing guitar after a life-changing experience of seeing Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers perform. “Hound Dog started playing, hitting notes that sent chills up and down my spine,” says Grimaldi. “He was versatile and powerful and would play rhythms as well as leads. I left there knowing what I wanted to do – I had to play slide guitar.”

Since that time, Grimaldi has developed his own unique approach to the blues. After playing at various Chicago clubs, he recorded his first album in 1978 on the Retread Records label. His second recording, “Rocking The Blues,” was released in 1985 on Avanti Records. He continued to play gigs in the Windy City and across the Midwest.

In 1988, Grimaldi released his third album in Europe, “Nothin But Fun,” on Belgium’s Double Trouble label. This was followed up with “Born To Win” and European tours. Grimaldi started to receive attention here in the United States in 1994, with the release of “Too Tough,” his debut on the Blind Pig label.

Studebaker John and the Hawks really hit their stride in the late 1990s, cutting four albums with Blind Pig, including “Outside Lookin’ In,” “Tremoluxe” and “Time Will Tell.” In 2001, Grimaldi moved to the Evidence label and released “Howl With The Wolf,” followed by “Between Life & Death” in 2004.

Tickets are $15 and offer $3 off any entree. Shows start promptly at 7 p.m. and conclude at 10 p.m. For more information, go online to

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