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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!