CRITICEd Bumgardner, Music critic for the Winston-Salem Journal, on guitarist John Tatum:

“For nearly 30 years, I have been a keen observer of the music made in North Carolina, first as a musician, and, since 1986, as the pop-music critic for the Winston-Salem Journal.

“During that time, I have had the opportunity to see John Tatum make music in various capacities. Within blues circles, he has earned a reputation as a guitarist’s guitarist–a player who mixes technical proficiency with the sort of unrestrained emotional investment common to all great blues musicians.

“It was no surprise that the late Clifton Chenier, a legendary bluesman and Zydeco musician from South Louisiana, saw fit to offer Mr. Tatum a job in the late ’80s–a job that ultimately did not pan out as Mr. Chenier passed away.

“What many casual fans may not know is that Mr. Tatum is also a skilled bluegrass musician–as a teenager, he was considered one of the most promising young bluegrass guitarists in the state.

“In my lifetime, I have seen and worked with many, many guitarists. In my informed capacity as a critic, I have been called upon to analyze and pass judgement upon the playing of literally thousands of guitarists…

“It is my learned opinion that John Tatum, for all his colorful behavior, has much to offer as a musician. He is a respected player, and is well-thought of as a music educator and an entertainer.”