Born Precious Bussey in Talbot County, GA, on January 4, 1942, Precious Bryant has performed rural acoustic blues throughout her native state for over 30 years in a variety of settings, from the Baptist church to folk festivals to clubs and concert halls. As a female practitioner of a rapidly fading folk style, Bryant has a unique musical voice, if only by virtue of survival.
Growing up in a close-knit Georgia family, Bryant was surrounded by myriad musical forms from a very young age, her mother a piano player and her father a traditional blues musician. Her uncle, George Henry Bussey, instructed her on guitar and began to teach her the rudiments of what became an extensive blues repertoire. By the age of nine, Bryant was playing regularly in the church, accompanying her seven sisters on guitar. The church appearances naturally led to appearances at other local events.
Though her material was largely traditional, taken from the fertile breeding ground of the lower Chattahoochee River Valley, she also absorbed contemporary influences, including Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and Elmore James. In the late '60s, Bryant came to the attention of folklorist George Mitchell, who recorded her and encouraged her to make increasingly public performances. Eventually, she agreed to perform at the Chattahoochee Folk Festival and was a smashing success, laying the groundwork for numerous tours in the United States and abroad, including notable appearances at the Blues to Bop Festival in Switzerland and the Alabama Folk Festival in Montgomery. With an engaging stage presence, Bryant helped pass along stories of the music's origins as well as the songs themselves.
In 2001, she recorded her debut record for Atlanta's Terminus Records at the home of old friends Cathy and Fred Fussell, in a living room draped with thick carpets, quilts, and curtains. The vibe of the album is familial and instantly warm. She continued to perform for friends while making an occasional appearance at a local club or festival. ~ Jesse Jarnow