Bobby BlackHat Walters: A Blues Story

by Danny Epperson

Bobby "BlackHat" Walters knows the blues, and as he says, not all blues is sad news. BlackHat says "blues tells the story of life."

Bobby BlackHat is an award-winning recording artist, harmonica player, vocalist and songwriter who lives in Newport News. He's played the "harp" as the harmonica is sometimes called, for more than 40 years. After retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard, Bobby BlackHat began a musical journey that would eventually lead to his own band and several awards, both nationally and internationally, for his blues music.

Bobby BlackHat takes us in a tour of his music to show us what inspires him to write songs and perform for audiences in Hampton Roads and beyond. He says blues is more than music and that it's storytelling about everyday life.  We find out the inspirations behind his hits like "HRBT Blues," "Put On Your Ree Shoes" and more.

"I bought my first harp in 1972 after hearing Lee Oskar play with WAR. The sound is mesmerizing, it's just so soulful. Everyone loves the blues, they just don't know it yet."


In 2016, the Bobby BlackHat Band advanced to the FINALS of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  Bobby has won two Blewzzy Awards for "Song of the Year"  (I Hear Mama's Voice, 2012 and Please Mr. BlackHat, 2015).  He was also awarded two 2016 VEER Music Awards for "Best Blues" and "Song of the Year" (HRBT Blues).