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Shrimp City Slim

Songwriter/musician Shrimp City Slim (Gary Erwin) is the creator of the "Lowcountry Blues", a spicy mix of post-modern blues with various musical flavors of the Carolina coast. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Shrimp City Slim and his band are making provocative original music that is earning them a reputation worldwide.


Born into a large Italian/Polish family in Chicago in 1953, Shrimp City Slim has been involved in music all his life. His first instrument was drums, but, as a teenager, he taught himself piano so he could put his poetry to music. Of course, growing up in Chicago, the blues was never far away. Renowned blues acts routinely gave Sunday concerts in the city's parks. And his older brothers smuggled him into clubs to hear bluesmen such as Otis Rush, Howlin' Wolf, Mighty Joe Young, and others.

Sonny Boy Williamson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Memphis Slim, A.C. Jobim, and the Beatles were all early musical inspirations. And, lyrically, never one to be pigeonholed, he cites Chekhov, Borges, D.H. Lawrence, and Henry Miller as literary idols. He wrote his first bonafide song at the age of thirteen and never looked back.

From high school on, Shrimp City Slim played in a succession of blues and avant-garde rock bands with improbable names like The Men, Little Frodo Blues Explosion, Boris, and Ancestor Worship (first release: 1982). In between bands (and day jobs), he travelled relentlessly and lived for awhile in New England, Mexico, and the West Coast of South America during the '70s. He speaks Spanish and cites Latin music as his passion second only to the blues. And he still looks for any and every chance to travel.


Drawn by the heat and an easier pace, Shrimp City Slim moved to Charleston, SC in 1983, fulfilling a lifetime ambition to live in the South and pursue music full-time. He has released five albums since 1989 (see "Catalog"), packed with his original songs. He and his band log in nearly two-hundred dates a year, playing gigs regionally and in such far-flung locales as Colombia, the U.K., and much of Europe.

When not working with his own band, Shrimp City Slim also tour manages and accompanies such Southeastern down-home blues legends as Big Boy Henry, Beverly Guitar Watkins, Big Daddy Pattman, John Lee Zeigler, and Drink Small. His label, Erwin Music, contains productions of some of these artists and more. Erwin Artists is his booking entity for Southern roots music acts. On the side, he can even be found playing virtuoso washboard with Cajun legend Paul Dudley Kershaw & the Bayou Ramblers.

As if all that weren't enough, since 1984, he has been a popular Public Radio personality in Charleston with four diverse weekly programs (blues, Latin, Louisiana, and world music shows; WSCI) and a blues jock on several commercial stations. He also organizes and programs three annual blues festivals and one annual Cajun event. He is a free-lance journalist and a consultant for arts happenings throughout the Southeast.

"But mainly I want people to know me by my songs," says Shrimp City Slim. His publishing company, Blue Chasqui Music, is a BMI affiliate. "The most moving experience is to have someone take one of my songs to heart. When that happens, I feel like every bit of hard work was worth it."

We invite you to experience for yourself the unique original music of Shrimp City Slim.



Charleston Strut

I Don't Wanna Be in Town (When Your Payback Comes Around)

The Grass Is Greener





Audio Samples