Legal name: John Smith Hurt
John Smith Hurt, better known as Mississippi John Hurt (March 8, 1892 – November 2, 1966) was an American country blues singer and guitarist.
Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine. He worked as a sharecropper and began playing at dances and parties, singing to a melodious fingerpicked accompaniment. His first recordings, made for Okeh Records in 1928, were commercial failures, and he continued to work as a farmer. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, located Hurt in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C., where he was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This helped further the American folk music revival, which had led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt's era. Hurt performed on the university and coffeehouse concert circuit with other Delta blues musicians brought out of retirement. He also recorded several albums for Vanguard Records.
Hurt died in Grenada, Mississippi. Material recorded by him has been re-released by many record labels, and his songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia, Beck, Doc Watson, John McCutcheon, Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, David Johansen, Bill Morrissey, Gillian Welch, Josh Ritter, Guthrie Thomas, Parsonsfield, and Rory Block.