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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bentonia Blues Festival coming up on June 15

Bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, proprietor of Bentonia's Blue Front Cafe, started the Bentonia Blues Festival in the early '70s. Over the last decade the festival has grown into a large event, and has now moved from the (asphalt) area in front of the Blue Front to Holmes' nearby property.

Tiny Bentonia, located in the hills just south of Yazoo City, is known for its distinctive "eerie" blues sound, best epitomized by locals Nehemiah "Skip" James and his contemporary Jack Owens. Holmes, whose parents started the Blue Front in the late '40s, was a student of Holmes, and is dedicated to keeping the local sound alive. Here's Jack Owens and Bud Spires performing Hard Time Killin' Floor, which was recorded by Skip James for the Paramount label in 1931. This footage was shot in 1978 by a team led by Alan Lomax.

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