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Friday, October 11, 2013

More music in Helena during the King Biscuit Blues Festival

The King Biscuit Blues Festival offers dozens of acts on its multiple stages, but there's also some nice shows going on over the next days at the Bad Apple Blues Lounge and the Delta Cultural Center. Also, tonight there'll be a blues jam that pays tribute to the late Michael Burks at the King Biscuit's main stage--the official festival starts tomorrow.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

King Biscuit Blues Festival Thursday through Saturday!

Here's a handy list of the "official" artists performing on the festival's six stages. Visit the website for more details.

Selywyn Birchwood in Vicksburg this weekend - free shows!

Here's a video from Selwyn Birchwood, who won the International Blues Challenge last year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Three festivals in Clarksdale on Sunday!

Club performances in Clarksdale over the weekend

Delta Blues Museum Band CD release party tonight 5-7pm, new photo exhibit at the Delta Blues Museum

Today at 5pm the Delta Blues Museum Band, consisting of students from the Delta Blues Museum's Arts and Education Program, will perform at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale to celebrate the release of their second CD, From Clarksdale to Kansas City, Volume 2, which features guest appearances from Kenny Brown and Bill Abel. The CD is just $10, with proceeds going to the Arts and Education Program,

The students in the program are taught to play the blues on various instruments, but perhaps more importantly are taught how to play together as an ensemble. The DBM's educational program, as well another program that was led by the late Johnnie Billington, has provided generations of blues musicians for Clarksdale's dynamic live music scene. 

In addition to their regular exhibits, including Muddy Waters' cabin, the DBM is now displaying photographs from George Mitchell, who has a new book, Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967, that collects images from a thirteen-day visit to the Como area. During that visit he met up with artists including Mississippi Fred McDowell and Jessie Mae Hemphill, and made the first recordings of R.L. Burnside. The exhibit was organized by the Mississippi Museum of Art. Go here for some more photos and information about the book.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Robert "Bilbo" Walker at the New Roxy in Clarksdale this Wednesday

The New Roxy is located at 363 Issaquena Ave. in the New World District, the one-time business and cultural center of Clarksdale's African American community. The building served for many years as the New Roxy Theater, and eventually went into decline. In 2008 Robin Colonas, a merchant marine from Seattle, began renovating the building, and converted it into a performance space. Notably, the structure lacks a roof, so it serves as an "open air" venue, although the walls are well over twenty feet high. A very special place to see a show.

Here's a video of Walker playing at Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mighty Mississippi Music Festival returns this morning!

Here's the schedules for the Main Stage and at the Highway 61 Blues Stage for the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival in Greenville

New poster for the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Celebration - Clarksdale, Sunday, October 13

The Pinteop Perkins Homecoming celebration is always on the Sunday after the King Biscuit Blues Festival, and features many performers who were performing at the fest. The Pinetop Perkins Foundation was established several years before Perkins death in 2011, and carries on his desire to help sustain the blues through working with younger musicians through projects including annual "Masterclasses" held at the Hopson Plantation.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Mighty Mississippi Music Festival has begun!

Here's today's schedule for the festival -- website here.

Main Stage

2pm - Eden Brent
3pm - Good Paper of Reverend Robert Mortimer
4pm - The Vettes
5pm - Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition
6pm - Cedric Burnside Project
7pm - Steve Azar with Deana Carter
8:45pm - North Mississippi Allstars

Highway 61 Blues Stage

11am - Terry "Harmonica" Bean
Noon - Pat Thomas
1pm - Jamie Isonhood
1:30pm - Cadillac John Nolden & Bill Abel
2:15pm - Eddie Cusic
3pm - Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
3:45pm - L.C. Ulmer
4:30pm - Jimmy Phillips and the Ruminators
5:30pm - John Horton Band
6:30pm - Jarekus Singleton Band

The Bad Apple Blues Lounge open next Wednesday through Sunday in Helena, Arkansas

Friday, October 4, 2013

Free music and admission this afternoon at the B.B. King Museum, noon show at the Blue Biscuit in Indianola

This afternoon the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola is presenting (together with Fresenius Medical Care)  "A Healthy Dose of Blues: The 2nd Annual B.B. King Open House and Health Fair. "The health fair is between 2 and 6pm, and celebrity Chef Aaron McCargo will be there from 2-4 p.m.

Here's the music lineup on the B.B. King Museum lawn:

12 - 2 p.m. Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry
4 - 6 p.m. Big Time Rhythm Band
6 - 8 p.m. Russell Baxter and the 21st Century Band

Later tonight there will be live music at the historic Club Ebony from 10pm to 12:30am with Greenville's Mickey Rogers and the Soul Blues Band

Today at noon the Blue Biscuit in Indianola is having a free show between noon and 1pm - here's the message they just sent out!  Otherwise it's a great place to eat, have a drink, and catch live music while in Indianola.
Noon today! Amanda Gresham's Delta Music Experience Back Porch Review (featuring Lady A, Dexter Allen, SUPER CHIKAN & possibly one more very Special guest!) will be performing from noon-1pm at the Biscuit! It is such an honor to have them here! Come join us for Lunch & music from some of the best performers anywhere, up close and personal!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Art Alfresco -- art and music tonight 5-8pm in downtown Greenwood, Mississippi

Tonight local merchants and retailers will keep their doors open late to host an artist’s work in their shops. Art enthusiasts can bid on a piece of work by each retailer’s featured artist at the 1st Alfresco Auction, which will be held in the Delta Room of the Alluvian Hotel, with proceeds going to Main Street Greenwood's downtown revitalization efforts.

Music in downtown Greenwood tonight includes the solo/duo portion of the 1st Annual 3 Rivers Songwriter Competition, with musicians featured at the corners of Howard and Market, Howard and Washington ,and Howard and Church Streets. The band portion of the competition will be held during the Mississippi Blues Fest in Greenwood on Saturday, October 5 from 5-7 p.m. Entry fees for solo-duo acts is $15.00 and $25.00 for bands.

Winners of the competition will receive a cash prize and an automatic entry into the MS Delta Blues Challenge in Indianola. From there, they will be eligible to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Solo-duo acts should contact Main Street Greenwood at 662-453-7625 for registration information. Band acts should contact Andrew McQueen, Chairman of the MS Blues Fest at 662-453-4065.

 Art Alfresco is a production of Main Street Greenwood, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes and celebrates downtown Greenwood through the preservation of its historic resources and through projects, events, and activities that make downtown a viable place to live, work, and visit.
For more information on Art Alfresco visit: www.mainstreetgreenwood.com

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mr. Sipp at the Bottleneck Blues Bar in Vicksburg next Friday and Saturday

Mr. Sipp, a native of McComb, Mississippi who has a strong background in gospel music, won the Vicksburg Blues Society's Blues Challenge in the band category last Sunday. Here's a video of his performance last year at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis -- he was representing Vicksburg.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cat Head Mini Blues Festival - Sunday, Oct. 13

Roger Stolle at Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art in Clarksdale stages the free Cat Head Mini Blues Fest three times a year on the Sundays following the Juke Joint Festival (April), the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (August), and the King Biscuit Blues Festival (October).

Clarksdale event schedule for next weekend

Shout out to Roger Stolle at Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art, who put this together. To keep up with all things Clarksdale be sure to visit his detailed music calendar.

2nd Street Blues Party in Clarksdale on the final weekend of Bridging the Blues

Theo Dasbach, a native of the Netherlands who was just recently granted American citizenship, has run his Rock & Blues Museum in Clarksdale for the last decade. It's filled with recordings and memorabilia from his massive collection, and is one of the institutions that helped make Clarksdale such as center for blues tourism. If you'd like to visit the Museum drop by or contact them via their webpage. Their official hours are 11am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

Monday, September 30, 2013

BluesLand, a current photo exhibit at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, receives grant

Aikie Pro's Records Shop in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Photo by Easton Selby

The Delta State University Archives & Museum has been awarded a Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC) grant in the amount of $1,500 to support the exhibit and programming for BluesLand by Easton Selby, showing now through Nov. 8. 
Go here to read a blog post on the opening of the show. The Archives & Museum is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m-5 p.m. and on weekends by appointment.
Selby will be on campus for his final presentation in association with his exhibit on Nov. 7 for the “First Tuesday” noon program hosted in the main gallery of the Capps Archives & Museum building. The event is free and open to the public.
Delta State Archivist Emily Jones said, “Their support for our exhibits, oral history programs and outreach programming is so encouraging. This is the ninth proposal I have submitted in my 10 years as the archivist at Delta State. I am thrilled to continue to work with the staff of MHC.”
This program is financially assisted by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council. 
For more information on Easton Selby and the parent show “Photographic Interpretations: The Culture & Geography of the Delta Blues” please visit: http://www.talboteastonselby.com/ and http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ973216.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Great shows at the Delta Cultural Center during the King Biscuit Blues Festival

The King Biscuit Blues Festival features multiple stages of music, but there's also a great lineup during the festival at the Delta Cultural Center. It consists of several buildings in downtown Helena, Arkansas, and at the location at 141 Cherry Street they have some really nice displays about Arkansas' musical heritage -- not just the blues, but also gospel (Sister Rosetta Tharpe), country (Johnny Cash), and rock'n'roll (ex. Levon Helm of the Band).

And from an open air studio at the Center from Monday to Friday at 12:15 - 12:45pm you can watch a live radio broadcast over KFFA of King Biscuit Time hosted by Sonny Payne, who began working with the station in 1941! That was the year Sonny Boy Williamson 2 started the program, one of, if not the first, live radio shows featuring blues. You can also tune in over the internet here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Music schedule for the Sam Chatmon Blues Festival in Hollandale, MS this Saturday

Sam Chatmon Blues Festival Musical Lineup: 
10:00am Gospel - Mt. Olive Church Choir 
11:30am Jazz - Jazz Persuasion special guest Delise Menotti 
12:30pm Blues - Eddie Cusic
1:30pm Blues - Jimmy "Duck" Holmes 
2:00pm Blues - Hollandale City Band
2:30pm Blues - Libby Rae Watson 
3:30pm Blues - Grady Champion
4:30pm Blues - Bobby Rush 
6:00pm Blues - John Horton Blues Band

For more information on the festival visit  www.facebook.com/SamChatmonBlues

Music schedule for the Charleston Gateway to the Delta festival, this Saturday

The festival features a wide variety of events -- in addition to the blues-rich music schedule, there's also a 5k race, a BBQ contest, "savory" and "sweet" cooking contests, and many art and food vendors. For more information visit http://charlestongatewayfestival.org

Detailed schedule of events in Clarksdale over the coming week

Monday, September 23, 2013

Delta Busking Festival -- a new event that kicks off the first BTB weekend

The Delta Busking Festival takes place on two stages in downtown Clarksdale during the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's free, but be sure to tip the performers! There'll be a full schedule of events throughout Clarksdale in the evenings.

For a full schedule of the Busking Festival go here.

BTB events at the Bottleneck Blues Bar in Vicksburg this Friday, Saturday and Sunday

For more information visit www.vicksburgheritage.com

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blues Reality show at a gas station juke joint during Bridging the Blues!

New BTB event announced! The blues reality show Moonshine & Mojo Hands will be filming at DJ Hype's combination gas station & juke joint at 1505 MLK Drive in Clarksdale, Mississippi on September 28. The featured artists will be Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood together with the band of Roosevelt Roberts, Jr., both from Jackson. 

For more about the show visit www.moonshineandmojohands.com

Monday, September 9, 2013

Live blues at Po' Monkey's juke joint during Bridging the Blues

Photo of Po' Monkey's by Ken Murphy
Po' Monkey's juke joint outside of Merigold (just north of Cleveland, MS, and just off of Highway 61), is celebrated as one of the last of the old time rural juke joints, and with its wild decor there's nothing else quite like it. It's been run for decades by proprietor Willie "Po' Monkey" Seaberry, who farms local land and is infamous for his colorful outfits, which he often changes multiple times across an evening.

Here's a link to the Mississippi Blues Trail marker that's located at Po' Monkey's. If you click on "local map" you'll find simple directions to it.

During Bridging the Blues the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University and Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art in Clarksdale have teamed up to present two special performances at Po' Monkeys on Thursday, Oct. 3 by Bill "Howlin' Madd" Perry, who also teaches in the blues education program at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, and on Tuesday, October 8 by the All Night Long Blues Band.

These are rare opportunities to see live blues at Po' Monkey's, a visit to which is an experience you'll never forget!

New Bridging the Blues promotional videos!

The two videos here were shot last year by the team of Robert Gordon and David Leonard, and highlight some of the unique venues that you'll find in the Mississippi Delta region as well as the many foreign visitors to the region.

Promo film 1 -- with performances by artists including Bobby Rush, live at the Club Ebony in Indianola

Promo clip 2 - featuring Terry "Harmonica" Bean at Po' Monkey's juke joint in Merigold

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"BluesLand" photography exhibit to run through Bridging the Blues at the Delta State University Archives and Museum

Club Ebony, Indianola, Mississippi, 2009 by Easton Selby

Last week the Delta State University Archives & Museum in Cleveland, Mississippi, opened its first exhibit of the fall, titled "BluesLand" and featuring the photographs of Delta State University alumna Easton Selby, who gave a talk about his work. The exhibit runs through Nov. 8 and is free and open to the public. The Archives & Museum is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m-5 p.m. and on weekends by appointment. For more information on the University Archives and Museum, contact archives@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4780. Selby will return to campus later in the semester to present a follow-up program and the public is invited to attend.

The selected images are a portion of a larger body of work entitled "Photographic Interpretations: The Culture & Geography of the Delta Blues," a collaborative documentary between Selby, photographers Armon Mean and Josh Vincent and historian Dr. John Strait of Sam Houston State University. This collaboration examines the forgotten aspects of the blues—the people and the landscape that inspired the music. Selby's website is here.

Over a span of three years, Selby visited not only the Mississippi Delta but also the deltas of Arkansas and Louisiana. Always seeking to know “why” and trying to answer that question through the images he shoots, Easton developed this exhibit to explore the land and the culture that is the Mississippi Delta and that which gave forth many of our Delta Blues artists. Questions he examined included: Why was the Mississippi Delta ground zero for so many artists? What role does the geography of this land play in history of blues music evolution? And, finally, why did it take this native Mississippian so long to see this aspect of our state’s history?

As Selby himself says, "If you know a name, if you know a song, then how can a person truly understand, at the core, something that's as gut wrenching as the Mississippi Delta blues without living the life of a person from the land of the blues?"

During the gallery talk, Selby interacted with the guests, answered questions and introduced Vincent, who works at Mississippi Delta Community College. A special addition to the evening's event was Strait and his class from Sam Houston State University. The students were eager to learn from Selby's experiences and share their own. Strait's teaching encourages his students to learn from the environment, which results in his classes making trips to the Delta.

Go here to learn more about John Strait’s work, which influenced Easton Selby’s photography.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bridging the Blues events in Vicksburg

Vicksburg, located on a bluff over the Mississippi River, marks the south end of the Mississippi Delta region.  In recent years the Vicksburg Heritage League and Vicksburg Blues Society have been very active in promoting weekly blues events, most notably full weekends of free and high quality blues at the Bottleneck Blues Bar at the Ameristar Casino. As you can see from the poster, they're putting their best face forward during Bridging the Blues with some of the artists who've represented the Blues Society successfully at the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Here's some links to the artists they're featuring during BTB

Thursday, September 5, 2013

13th Annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Celebration, Clarksdale, October 13

One of the final events of Bridging the Blues is the annual celebration of piano great Pinetop Perkins at the Hopson Plantation near Clarksdale, where Pinetop lived in the 1940s. For the first decade Pinetop was always present at the celebration, and fortunately the event has continued following his death several years ago. The event is run by the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, a non-profit whose activities include an annual masterclasses for young people at Hopson each summer.

Go here to see the Mississippi Blues Trail marker at Hopson, which details its important role in the mechanization of cotton.

The event takes place the day after the three-day King Biscuit Blues Festival over in Helena, so there's always lots of fans and musicians on hand. This year some of the musicians who've been announced include Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, Jimmi Mayes, Bob Stroger, Darryl Davis, Kenny Brown, Billy Gibson, Ernest and Carla Roy, and Clay Swafford.

It's just $15, which goes to a great cause.

Earlier that day don't forget to visit the Cat Head Mini Blues Festival and the Second Street Festival, both in downtown Clarksdale.

Introducing the Delta Busking Festival, Clarksdale, September 27-29

The debut Delta Busking Festival takes place in Clarksdale on the first weekend of Bridging the Blues, September 27 to 29. The idea of the event is to pay tribute to the age-old tradition of street musicians, something that you can often see during Clarksdale's two major blues festivals, the Juke Joint Festival (April) and the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival (August).

The festival is free, but as is the tradition for street musicians -- please tip! The musicians will  be gathered on two stages downtown. For the lineups visit go here.

Bridging the Blues events in Como

The folks in Como, located on the edge of the Hills and the Delta, have joined up with Bridging the Blues this year with a week full of events celebrating the unique musical heritage of their region.  Tiny Como already boasts two Mississippi Blues Trail markers -- for Mississippi Fred McDowell and fife and drum patriarch Otha Turner -- and on Saturday, October 12 they'll be unveiling a third, dedicated to fife player and multi-instrumentalist Napolian Strickland, pictured on the poster.

That picture was taken by folklorist George Mitchell and is featured in his new photo book called Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967. Mitchell will be on hand Friday, October 11 for a talk about his photos and the opening of an exhibition of his photos. 

Click on the photo to enlarge it and check out the schedule for all the events they have planned! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Financial Times video news segment about the Mississippi Blues Trail

The video, available at this link, features interviews with Malcolm White, then head of the Mississippi Arts Commission, and Scott Barretta of the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Vicksburg Blues Challenge, September 29

The Vicksburg Blues Society, an affiliate of the Blues Foundation, is accepting registration of Band and Solo/Duo Acts for the Vicksburg Blues Challenge, to be held at the Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar on September 29. The deadline to register to compete is September 15, 2013.

Please contact Shirley Waring.  shirleywaring@vicksburgheritage.com.

Winners will advance to represent the Vicksburg Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge 2014 in Memphis, January 21-25.

This is an official event of Bridging the Blues