Watermelon Slim and the Workers return for bluesy benefit 

Oklahoma natives Watermelon Slim and the Workers will perform at the Will Rogers Theatre 6 p.m. Saturday along with The Reverb Brothers, The Rexall Rangers and several other performers who will take the stage to benefit The Referral Center, a local nonprofit that helps drug addicts detox and find recovery.

William "Watermelon Slim" Homans was nominated with his band for six Blues Music Awards for the second year in a row. Slim and his band were given awards for best Album and Band of the Year May 8 in Tunica, Miss.

Slim's music career started in the Seventies when he taught himself to play slide guitar, using a cigarette lighter as a slide, while confined to a Veteran's Administration hospital bed, subsequent to his service in Vietnam. He went on to record a self-produced album of antiwar protest songs, earn several college degrees, work for 12 years as a long-distance trucker hauling hazardous waste, and yes, grow watermelons on a farm near Snow in southeastern Oklahoma.

Sandwiched between these endeavors, which were engaged in to pay off college loans, Slim found time to play with a variety of blues luminaries that included Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Champion Jack Dupree and John Lee Hooker.

A near-fatal heart attack in 2002 propelled Slim back to a renewed full-time commitment to music. Upon recovery, Slim recorded the 2002 CD "Big Shoes to Fill," which became a calling card as he drove coast-to-coast, playing at any venue where he could get booked. The next year, Slim released "Up Close & Personal," and his tireless roadwork paid off when he was nominated in 2005 as best New Artist Debut award by the voting members of The Blues Foundation. The same year, "Up Close & Personal" was named the No. 1 Southern Blues CD of the Year by Real Blues magazine. " C.G.Niebank

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