Until now, Holt has been best known for his blazing guitar, but he’s more than a six-string powerhouse. Kudzu trumpets his arrival as a penetrating and soulful storyteller whose songs touch the heart of modern life, yet possess a timeless appeal driven by a blend of honesty and pure musical expression.

Holt made his first step toward musical apprenticeship when his father took him to Chicago to hear bluesman Buddy Guy. “I had never been in a club before or heard a really great guitar player like Buddy live,” Holt recounts. After a backstage meeting, the young student and venerable master stayed in touch. Over the next year or so Holt was invited on stage to jam with Guy, and then one day Guy called to invite Holt into his band. “I’d never even been in a band before,” Holt says. “I tried to get bands together in my parents’ basement in Tennessee, but it never worked out. So all of a sudden at 18 I was leaving home for Chicago with my guitar, my amp, a suitcase and my passport.”

Holt played at Guy’s side for a decade. “Buddy taught me everything, from how to order at a restaurant to how to run a band and win over a crowd. He is my hero and one of my best friends. To this day, what he can do never ceases to amaze me.” And Guy remains an enthusiastic supporter of Holt. “He heard Kudzu and told me, ‘Man, I’m really proud of you. You gotta move it around!’ ”