by Christopher Annino
Born in Boston, Hugh Holms, otherwise known as Professor Harp, began his music career as a rock and roll drummer at an early age. “I got introduced to the Blues when I was a young man. During that time I was in search of my roots and having blues being the root of rock and roll I was automatically turned on to its deep soul tradition,” said Professor Harp. His inspiration was harmonica legend George Allen “Harmonica” Smith who lured him away from drums to the blues harp.
Professor Harp was young and eager to learn so in the spring of 1975, he got a chance to see one of the founding fathers of the Blues – Muddy Waters – perform in Boston. In the middle of one of the sets, Muddy was in need of a harmonica player. Out of desperation, Muddy asked the audience if there was anyone who knew how to play the harmonica. Without thinking Professor Harp jumped onto the stage, reached into a bag of harmonicas, miraculously grabbing the one in the correct key and began to jam with Muddy.
From that day on, Professor Harp enjoyed an open invitation to perform with the Blues legend. “As a pupil of the Muddy Waters School of the Blues, it was a real privilege how he mentored me and helped me polish my craft,” said Harp.
Since then, Professor Harp toured the world, performed with members of “Roomful of Blues” Solomon Burke and Pete Best and played live on NBC’s Today Show. Professor Harp tours throughout the Rhode Island and Connecticut area, often and recently, performed locally in Downtown Mystic at the Ancient Mariner. Professor Harp is also working on a new solo-CD. For more information visit www.professorharp.com.