Charles Atkins has become one of the finest blues men that Florida has ever produced. His performances interpret blues at its best, from fast-paced shuffles to foot-stomping rockers to mournful, slow blues. His playing and singing evoke the healing power of the blues. Since becoming a driving force of the Daytona music scene in the 60's and 70's, Charles has worked throughout the Eastern U.S. and California. His performances at the Florida Folk Festival and at other Florida and Georgia festivals have been celebrated events. 

Charles Atkins cranks out the kind of big-voiced, jump shuffle blues generally associated with Big Joe Turner, Bobby Blue Bland and Little Milton. Atkins learned his craft at The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, just like Ray Charlesbefore him. "At the school for the blind, we had about 40 people in the dorm and one piano on the floor, so you had to wait your turn," Charles recalls. "I've been playing ever since then, in some way, shape, form or fashion." 

Charles Atkins was born in Daytona Beach Florida, 1944, October 23. While he was raised in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, he attended middleschool in New York City, at the New York Institute For The Blind. During this time he became a member of a seven piece band, The Camerons. Dion Di Mucci of Dion and the Belmonts fame frequented the band's sets. He did not graduate from highschool in New York City but, back in Florida, from the Florida School for The Deaf and Blind. Once back at the Florida School for The Deaf And Blind, he joined The D and B Romeos. The band was pretty famous around those parts of Florida. The Romeos got the chance to play on a bill with Sam and Dave. Sam and Dave liked The Romeos and, hired the Romeos at The King of Hearts in Miami. The King of Hearts job lasted for most of the Summer. The band played each night before Sam and Dave came on to perform. The owner of the King of Hearts tried to talk The Romeos in to not leaving the club and becoming a road band and signing a recording contract. We did not have a manager at the time from the school who would overrule my decision not to sign the contract and travel and record. The Romeos were back in school that September ready for classes as usual. 

In 1963, while playing in The Daytona area with The Lindsey Morris Band, Charles remembers two young local musicians,Greg and Duane Allman, sneaking in the club to come sit in with the band. Years later, while working on the Chitlin Circuit, an incident in a Daytona Beach nightclub changed Charles' life drastically. A stray bullet fired from the gun during a fight between two lovers hit Charles in the leg. It must have hit something else first, though, because it didn't have any force. "It just hit me in the leg and fell to the floor. That was a sign. After that I hadn't been in another group until I started working with The Blues Boys."Soon after his premature retirement from the stage, Charles attended Florida State University and earned a degree in Music Education. 

Soon thereafter he moved to Los Angeles to work as a songwriter and session musician. After several years he once more returned to Florida and began teaching at the Blues Lab at F.S.U. It was then that he met the Blues Boys. After a year's worth of successful gigging they recorded "Animal Called The Blues" and a year later "The Blues Says It All". Their public appearances included shows at the 1995 & 1996 Florida Folk Festival, openers for such blues greats as Duke Robillard, The Consolers, and headliners for PBS's award-winning Southern Jam! 

More Bio Info: 

Daytona Beach Community College, Daytona Beach, FL, Associate of Arts, 1978. 
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, Bachelor of Music Education 

. Currently a Broadcast Music Incorporated Affiliate (1989 - Present) 
. Board member of the Apalachee Blues Society 
. Founder & Director of the Blues Lab at Florida State University 
. Head of the "Sir Charles" blues lab, a non-profit organization 
. Inventor of "Cosmetic Music" 
. Board Member and Art Director for the Florida Arts and Community Enrichment Program 

. Recorded, submitted and had accepted the song "Don't let her die" by Senator Bob Graham for the purpose of saving the Everglades 
. Wrote the album " The Blues says it all" on Songbear Productions 
. Wrote the album "Animal called the Blues" on Blues Bear Productions 
. Recorded the album "Sweet Voice" on Kingsnake Records 
. Contributed to the book "101 Blues Licks", a publication by Mel Bay Books 
. Wrote "I can sing we can sing", which can be found in a published music production called: " A concise introduction to music learning": written by William O. Hughes. 
. Wrote the song "Let this love live", Produced and performed by Ben Tankard.Link to listen to Ben Tankard. He did it on his Album: The Keynote Speaker his first release on Atlantic International Records 
. Co-Officiated a Blues workshop with Bonnie Raitt at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles 
. Attended & directed the blues lab at Ray Charles' lifetime achievement party 
. Wrote & performed "The Original Florida Song" at various functions for four Florida Governors (Jeb Bush, Lawton Chiles, Bob Graham and Charlie Crist) 
. Directed the blues lab at Britney Spears' Performing Arts Camp 
. Recorded the award winning "Apalachicola Blues" 

. Florida Folk Heritage Award (2002) 
. American Foundation "keeping the blues alive" Award (2001) 
. Tallahassee Urban League Shining Star (2000) 
. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration community involvement Award (2000) 
. Outstanding Volunteer Service Certificate (1997) 
. Florida Folk Life Apprenticeship Award (1996) 
. Center for Music of the Americas Award (1994) 
. St. Peter Choir Appreciation Award (1993) 
. Franklin Music Services Appreciation Award 
. Knighted an Official Florida Treasure under the Jeb Bush Administration 

. Jonathon Dane Gillibrand, founder of the "Sir Charles" blues lab 
. William O. Hughes, teacher, mentor & advisor 
. Bob Smith, mentor for the Center for Music of the Americas 
. David Wingate, vocal teacher 
. Larry Gurber, vocal teacher 
. Barbara Ford, vocal teacher 
. Cliff Madson, music mentor & advisor 
. Janice Hashani, teacher of music pedagogy 
. A member of the Montgomery Express on Folkways Records Smithsonian Institute 
. An original member of the Camerons (See "Out of the Bronx-Doo-Wop" from Cousin's Vault) 

Dale Olsen Florida State Music 
Michael Bakan Florida State Music 
Marcus Roberts Florida State Music 
Margaret Van Every Tallahassee Symphony 
Rich Miller Florida State University Faculty 
Ellen Granger Florida State University Faculty 
Mary Thornton EverHeart Independent Artist Tallahassee 
Billy Riggsby Independent Artist Tallahassee 
Craig Spencer Daytona Beach Attorney 
Iris Melton Florida State University School Of Music Staff (Secretary Of Band and Orchestra) 
Gary Anton Club Owner (BradfordVille Blues Club) 
Adam Gaffney Band Member 
Deb Berlinger Band Member, Website Designer and Manager 

Performed in Shows With: 

Chicago Beau 
Sam and Dave 
Bobby Blue Bland 
Benny Latimore 
The Red Toppers 
Wild Man Steve 
Paul Montgomery 
Robert Cray 
Taj maHall 
Willie Nelson 
Billy Preston 
Diana Shore 
Ashford & Simpson 
Percy Sledge 
Floyd Miles 
Bill Wharton And The Ingredients 
Billy Branch 
Craig Reeder 
Delta Moon 
Dennis Dunn 
Perry Osborn 
E. C. Scot 
Eric Colberson 
Danny Butler 
Henry Gray 
Howard And The White Boys 
John Babbage 
Jiggs Walker 
Johnny Rawls 
Keb’ Mo’ 
Tony Young 
Lois Hinners 
Longineu Parsons, 
Pat Ramsey And The Blues Disciples 
Perry Nelson 
Phillip Walker 
Precious Bryant 
Smokin’ Joe Kubek 
T. J. Wheeler 
The Blind Boys Of Alabama 
Tori Sparks 
Velma Frye 
Bill And Eli 
Mark Hodgson 
Mark Rustle 
Johnny Marshall 
Jon Copps 
Sam Early 
Woody Green 
Clarence Bell 
Floyd Dixon 
Ace Moreland 
Alberta Adams 
Anita Franklin 
Anson Funderburgh And Sam Myers 
Bobby Rush 
Gary Premich 
Roger Williams 
Bob Greenly 
Carey Bell 
Pamela Laws 
Avis Berry 
Duke Gainers 
Little Willie John