Sonny Boy Terry


Tangled up in the blues

Eagle Staff Write

The harmonica doesn’t seem that much more difficult to master than a kazoo – just close your mouth and blow, right?

Sonny Boy Terry, widely considered to be Houston‚s top blues harmonica player and one of the dozen performers at this weekend‚s annual Navasota Blues Festival, says that while picking up a mouth organ and learning to play simple songs can be done almost instantly, perfecting the unique wind instrument takes time.

“To play blues, it’s hard,” said Terry, born Terry Jarome. “But to learn folk songs I get everyone on it.”

As a side venture to his professional career as a musician, Terry teaches harmonica hopefuls spanning all ages and motivations. Everyone from housewives who want to learn to play “Happy Birthday” for their husbands and retirees looking for a new hobby to high schoolers hoping to become the next John Popper or Bob Dylan have sat down with Sonny Boy Terry to hum a few bars.


More Reviews:

Feeling blue, class looks to build talent

By Ted Streuli
Copyright © 2003 Galveston County Daily News

A dozen middle-aged men sit in a sterile room where the most intriguing feature is the rows of folding tables that match the French vanilla walls. The bright lights and unstained speckled carpet make the room the antithesis of the dark, smoke-filled nightclubs where James Cotton and Kim Wilson give life and desperation to the blues. But each man has a four-and-a-half inch piece of musical magic tucked inside a pocket, a 10-holed blues harp in the key of C. Sonny Boy Terry will teach them to play.

Terry totes a silver case with about a dozen harmonicas of his own. Biceps billow from his white short-sleeve shirt, a hint of the power he channels through the tiny wind instruments.

“It’s easy to play campfire music, but to play blues it takes a lot of your soul and a lot of your body,” said Terry.


Houston’s Mix Of Blues

by Michael Flynn
for Blueswax

From the first note you know that you are in for a barrelful of roadhouse Blues from “Sonny Boy” Terry Jerome and his Houston cohorts. This is the band that you want to find when finally stopping at a roadhouse after driving across central Texas to reach the Gulf Coast. They present a well-chosen mix of classic covers and originals that keep a strong beat and the drinks flowing. The opener is Weldon “Juke Boy” Bonner’s “Where The Action Is.” After the rockin’ opener Sonny Boy rolls into his own “I’ll Be Your Fool,” with some sizzling guitar runs from Bill Allison and great bass from Benny Brasket.

It should be noted here that the central point of these and the rest of this album is the hot harp and whiskey vocals of Sonny Boy Terry. His harp playing, along with some lightening rockabilly guitar licks from Adam Burchfield, is featured on the third track, a rockin’ instrumental called “Pressure Cookin’.”


“August 2004 Cd Reviews”

Reviews by Steve”Big Daddy BluzHarp”Harvell
(Bluz/Boogie Woogie Harmonica Supreme!) “Sonny Boy” Terry “Breakfast Dance”

“SonnyBoy”Terry for those of you that have not heard of him, happens to be one of the Top 20 harmonica players alive today. I never had the pleasure of hearing “Sonny Boy” until I got some email from a fella down in Texas that insisted I needed to do a review on him. Well, to make a long story short,I got 2 cds in the mail and the rest is history. I did a review on his latest release,”Live At Miss Ann’s Playpen” ,in my June 2004 CD Reviews section. “SonnyBoy”Terry is an absolute wildman playing that amplified harp of his. He gets my coveted “Nasty Harp Award” for that big/fat/greasy toned harmonica that gives ya chill bumps all over your body and makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck with every note that he bends. “Sonny Boy” impressed me so much that he ended up in my “BluzHarp’s Favorite Cds of 2004″section when I reviewed his last cd and the same is going to happen for this one as well.