Earl Thomas had never picked up a microphone in his life until he was nearly killed after losing his footing at the edge of a 50-foot ravine and slid all the way down, landing unconscious on a pile of broken glass and debris. Luckily, the 22-year-old dental student was only bruised, but not knowing the extent of the damage upon regaining consciousness, he reflected on his disappointment at not having pursued his dream of becoming a singer, and resolved to do just that if he survived. Nine years later, he recorded1991's Blue...Not Blues, a record strongly influenced by his parents' love of blues and gospel music and his own affinity for '60s and '70s soul. His "I Sing the Blues" became a hit for Etta James, and he played European music festivals with such artists as Elvis Costello and B.B. King. His second album, Extra Soul, was released in 1994 on the Memphis International label, followed by a second for the imprint, Intersection, in 2005. His career has only grown and continued to bless ears since that time.