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Thursday, May 16, 2013

60th annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival this weekend in Meridian

On Friday and Saturday Meridian celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Jimmie Rodgers Festival, which acknowledges the great musical contributions made by the Meridian native and "blue yodeler." Although Rodgers is best known as the "father of country music," he played an important role in spreading the blues--not only did he record many blues songs, but he also recorded together with African American musicians including Louis Armstrong and and Clifford Hayes and the Louisville Jug Band.

The events start on Friday afternoon at 2pm, when there will be a panel at the Peavey Electronics headquarters featuring Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of country legend Hank Snow, who was there for the first Jimmie Rodgers Festival in 1953, and will be showing film from some of the early fests. Also on the panel is Barry Mazor, author of the recent book "Meeting Jimmie Rodgers," and myself, who will be talking about Rodgers' relationship to the blues.

See the link above for the full schedule of events, which include a concert by the Time Jumpers--a Nashville super group that includes Vince Gill, and which specializes in vintage country music and western swing--at the MSU Riley Center, followed by a juke joint event encompassing multiple venues in town. Here's the article I wrote for the Clarion Ledger. Hope to see you there!

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