b. John Grimaldi, 5 November 1952, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Growing up in Chicago, Grimaldi’s father played guitar and he heard live performances by several noted blues masters including Howlin’ Wolf, J.B. Hutto, Little Walter, Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson. He taught himself to play harmonica and guitar, building his style on these artists but swiftly developing a distinctive manner. In the 70s he formed a band and adopted his stage name in reference to a prized car he owned, a 1963 Studebaker Silver Hawk. Meanwhile, Grimaldi maintained employment on construction sites, playing the blues at night in Chicago’s clubs. Grimaldi recorded in the late 70s with Robert ‘Mojo’ Elem, Mojo Boogie (1978), and his own-name debut came in the mid-80s. However, the album was not released in the USA until the mid-90s. Meanwhile, Grimaldi had secured a recording contract with Blind Pig Records that soon brought his hard-edged no-nonsense playing to a wider audience. In 2004 he made his mainstream solo debut, releasing Between Life & Death on the Avanti label (an earlier acoustic release was only available from the artist’s own website).
Grimaldi’s slide guitar playing is powerful and exciting as is his harmonica work. His singing, while not as vital as his instrumental work is also interesting, especially when he performs his own compositions. These songs, while couched in traditional form are contemporary in content and attitude.