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Another contemporary musician in the Piedmont blues tradition, John Dee Holeman has added his own flair to update the style. He was born in Orange County in 1929 and learned guitar from musicians who were students of the great blues musicians of the 1920s and 30s. Influenced by musicians like Blind Boy Fuller, Gary Davis and Brownie McGhee, Holeman keeps the roots of Piedmont blues but adds a touch of urban blues, jazz and rhythm-and-blues. In fact, he has performed "Step It Up and Go" for recordings and live audiences.
Although he has not made music his primary profession, he shows an exemplary musical style that has attracted audiences from throughout the country. His performances include the National Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall, in addition to Europe and Asia. He has received two awards, in 1988 the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1994 the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.