Stoneking was born in Katherine to Californian hippie parents who had met at a music festival. His parents separated, and he was brought up by his father, a teacher in the Aboriginal community of Papunya. His interest in the blues was sparked while a student at Sydney’s Balmain High School. He stumbled across some of his father’s blues tapes. At this time one of his classmates was Alex Lloyd, also a blues fan, and they sometimes jammed together.
His influences include the blues legends Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, Leroy Carr, and Memphis Minnie. He now describes his style as “Hokum Blues”, a musical brew influenced by prewar blues, ragtime, vaudevillian novelty tunes, old hillbilly songs, jazz, and calypso.
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