Watching Bean perform is an unforgettable experience. The way he pops his guitar, fiercely plays the harmonica and taps his feet perfectly on beat. Soul stirring, rich vocals pour out of him, and his subtle smile reflects his passion for the Mississippi blues.
A deep-rooted passion that was evident at a young age. A lifelong resident of Pontotoc, Bean was born in January of 1961. He grew up with seventeen brothers, six sisters, five step-mothers and four step-fathers. A love for the blues runs deep in his blood. “I play the real deal blues,” he smiles. “It ain’t taught in no book. You gotta be born around this stuff. I learned from my father, my grandfather and my father’s friends.” Out of twenty-four children, he is the only one still playing the blues.
"This is how I got my start…I played on street corners for seven or eight years for absolutely nothing. I took my harmonica around in a paper bag back then,” remembers Bean. “Sometimes you have to do things for nothing in order to get something. I'm learning by listening. And now I'm sharing the blues with people around the world.”
Bean plays as a solo artist and also performs with the Terry Harmonica Bean Blues Band. He dazzles crowds in juke joints, at blues festivals across the country and venues around the globe. Bean is not only talented, but his sound is exceptionally unique.
“A lot of people want to give the Delta all the credit for the blues, simply because of the talent from the Delta. B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton. But honey, let me tell you, just as many bluesmen are from the Hill country,” Bean smiles. “None of these guys were professionals, but the blues were alive up there. The Delta had one sound and the northeast people had another. The Delta musicians played laid-back blues, but the Hill country guys had a chopping, energetic sound.”
Bean is determined to keep his beloved style of blues buzzing. “The blues will never die. There will always be someone playing the blues. That’s what’s amazing about it. The blues are so powerful and it always comes back to Mississippi,” he says. “My grandfather and so many other men could have been blues legends. I do this for them. I am always representing Mississippi.”