Roy Book Binder
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Roy Book Binder


Band Folk Americana


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The best kept secret in music


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Travelin' Man (1970)
The Tampa Sessions (1979)
Bookeroo (1988)
Hillbilly Blues Cats (1992)
Live Book.....Don't Start Me Talkin' (1994)
Polk City Ramble (1998)
Singer Songwriter Bluesman (2001)
Live at the Fur Peace Station(2005)
The Good Book (2013)



Roy Book Binder (born October 5, 1943) is an American blues guitarist. A student and friend of the Rev. Gary Davis, he is equally at home with blues and ragtime, he is known to shift from open tunings to slide arrangements to original compositions, with both traditional and self-styled licks. His storytelling emphasis is another characteristic that makes his style unique.

Binder was born in Queens, New York, United States. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Navy and undertook a tour of duty in Europe. He bought his first guitar at a military base in Italy. After his enlistment was up, he returned to New York where he met one of his lifelong friends, Dave Van Ronk. Impressed with his friend's playing, Binder sought out Davis who also lived in New York, and became first a student of Davis and later a chauffeur and tour companion. Much of Binder's original material was based on his time on the road with Davis.

By the mid-to-late 1960s Binder was recording for both Kicking Mule and Blue Goose Records. In 1969, he toured England with Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup and Homesick James.

After meeting another of his life's influences, the bluesman Pink Anderson, Binder released his first album, Travelin' Man, on Adelphi. The album was named after one of the songs that Binder learned from Anderson.

In 1973 he began a partnership with fiddler Fats Kaplin, and they recorded the Git Fiddle Shuffle in 1973. Binder and Kaplin performed together for three years, playing numerous concerts and recording a second album, Ragtime Millionaire in 1977. After this partnership dissolved, Binder began touring the country, living in a motor home, and concentrating on live performances.

From first first album in 1970 through 2013, Book Binder released twelve albums.

Binder has been described as a guitar pickin' hillbilly bluesman, storyteller and songwriter. He has performed at most major blues and folk festivals in the U.S. and Europe, including Merlefest. Notables that have shared the stage with Binder include Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, John Jackson, Sonny Terry, Doc Watson, Ray Charles, and Brownie McGhee. Binder has appeared regularly on Nashville Now, and has been included in Sheldon Harris' book, Blues Who's Who.

Binder is a veteran guitar instructor, and can often be found teaching at the Fur Peace Ranch with Jorma Kaukonen and others whose lives have been influenced by Davis. There he demonstrates songs, turnarounds, chord variations, right hand methods, and many of his own powerful adaptations and unique approaches to the blues.

Binder's album, Hillbilly Blues Cats (Rounder), was named as one of the ten most essential acoustic guitar albums of 1992. The 1992 category winners also included Eric Clapton's Unplugged, Lyle Lovett's Joshua Judges Ruth and Neil Young's Harvest Moon.

Today, Roy Bookbinder is one of the last of the “second generation” of the venerable musicians who started their career during the folk and blues revival of the 1960s. The modern-day retro songster keeps the Piedmont tradition going, a term which he disdainfully refers to as ” academic”. Bookbinder, as anyone who has seen his show will attest, is just plain fun. The consummate and enthralling entertainer is one of the few guys who actually deserves the title “living cultural treasure”.

Not only is Book Binder a terrific guitarist and an accomplished songwriter, he is a true songster with a giant repertoire; he is virtually a walking encyclopedia of folk music. He ventures across the spectrum of old-time folk with a seemingly endless song list. Book Binder is fundamentally a blues & Ragtime rooted troubadour and one of the last great characters in a land where the culture that he represents, a heritage that traces straight back to the turn of the 19th to 20th century minstrels, is almost lost.