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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Schedule posted for North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, June 28-29

This is the seventh staging of the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, which was founded by North Mississippi blues artist Kenny Brown and his wife Sara Davis-Brown and run as a non-profit enterprise. Brown has been playing North Mississippi blues for most of his life; as a child in Nesbit his neighbor was pre-war recording artist Mississippi Joe Callicott, he later played with local harmonica great Johnny Woods, and, most famously, spent years playing together with R.L. Burnside. He's recorded a number of fine solo albums, the most recent being a double CD including a live set from the Picnic and an acoustic session at his house.

Kenny travels around the world to play music, but also performs a lot locally -- for the last several months he's played an early evening gig on Wednesdays at the Lamar Lounge in Oxford.

This year the Picnic is once again located at Ponderosa Ranch, which is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highways 7 and 310 in southern Marshall County, near the Lafayette County line. The owners of the ranch also run nearby Betty Davis Barbecue, where Oxford residents have frequented for years to get cold beer on Sundays.

To buy tickets or camping passes and to register for the guitar workshop on Friday morning go here.

Here's the Picnic's official description:

In the mid-‘90s the world discovered the power and distinctive sounds of North Mississippi blues via the recordings of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Otha Turner. These elder statesmen have all since passed, but their music lives on through their contemporaries, family members, and disciples. The goal of the organization is to enhance appreciation and educate the general public about the native art form of North Mississippi Hill Country blues music through performance, preservation, and interpretation. 
The festival features artists with close ties to North Mississippi Hill Country blues. The festival lineup includes all of the major contemporary artists with direct ties to R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Otha Turner. The festival takes place in Marshall County on a 128 acre site in the rolling hills of Waterford, MS. The two day festival runs until midnight both days. Local vendors offer typical North Mississippi cuisine including barbeque, catfish, and watermelon. 
In addition to the festival, there will also be a five hour workshop early in the day on June 28th which will feature hands on instruction by Festival artists.

Friday 6/28/13

3:30-4:00          Lil Hambones
4:00-4:45         Workshop Jam
5:00- 5:45 Tate Moore
6:00-6:45   Blue Mother Tupelo
7:00-7:45         Rocket 88
8:00-8:45  Eric Deaton Trio
9:00-9:45  Bobby Rush
10:00-10:45     David Kimbrough Band
11:00-11:45     Duwayne Burnside w/Band
11:45-12:15     Friday Night Jam

Sat 6/29/13

10:30-11:00     Adam Gussow
11:15-11:45     Solar Porch
12:00-12:30     Joe Ayers
12:45-1:15       Robert Belfour
1:30-2:15         Rev. John Wilkins
2:30-3:15         George McConnell and The Non Chalants
3:30- 4:00 T-Model Ford Tribute w Bill Abel and Friends
4:10-4:40         Ian Siegal
4:45-5:30         Garry Burnside Band
5:45-6:30         Blue Mountain
6:45-7:30         Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory
7:45-8:15         Rising Star Fife and Drum Band
8:15-9:00         Kenny Brown Band
9:15-10:00       Jimbo Mathus & TheTri-State Coalition
10:15-11:00     North MS Allstars
11:00-12:00     Hill Country Kings

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Live music at Po' Monkey's juke joint on Friday with Big T

Po' Monkey's is located just outside of Merigold, Mississippi, and is operated by Willie "Po Monkey" Seaberry, who also farms the surrounding land. The club usually is only open on Thursdays, when they feature a deejay who plays soul-blues, but it occasionally hosts live music events.

Terry "Big T" Williams plays old-school blues and is from Clarksdale, where he was a protégé of the late Big Jack Johnson.

Soul Blues legends Willie Clayton and Peggy Scott Adams in Greenwood this Friday

Peggy Scott-Adams, who lives on the West Coast and doesn't visit the South too often, recorded many wonderful duos (as Peggy Scott) together with Jo Jo Benson in late '60s ("Pickin' Wild Strawberries," "Lover's Holiday."). More recently she's had hits on the soul blues scene with songs including "Bill."

A native of Indianola, Willie Clayton began his recording career in the early '70s, when he recorded for Memphis' Hi Records. He achieved success in the '80s on Jackson's Ace label with songs including "Equal Oppurtunity," and more recently has landed songs on the Top 25 Urban Adult Contemporary Airplay Billboard singles charts

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blue Biscuit Fest this Saturday in Indianola!

The Blue Biscuit is a restaurant/bar located in Indianola, Mississippi, right across the street from the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. Owner Trish Berry, a native of Vicksburg, is a great cook, and worked at Morgan Freeman's fine dining restaurant Madidi in Clarksdale (unfortunately now closed) before starting up the Blues Biscuit.

The Biscuit frequently features live music, and on Saturday, June 1 they're hosting a free outdoor festival from "noon till dark" featuring eleven bands -- these include Rob Mortimer & GoodPaper, Dave Dunavent & the Evol Love Band, Dr. Alphonso Sanders, Libby Rae Watson, Kern Pratt & the Accused, Alan Jones, The Firm, Casey Roberts, The Bailey Brothers, and On the Run. Feel free to  bring kids and lawn chairs, but no coolers...

When the sun sets music continues inside, with a $10 cover going to pay for the bands.  They will also be unveiling the Blue Biscuit "Indianola Harmony" guitar, by Indianola artists Josh & Cat Vincent, and tee-shirts will also be available.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Taj Mahal in Jackson next Wednesday

Taj Mahal and his Trio will be playing on Wednesday, May 29 at Jackson's Duling Hall. Tickets are $40 in advance, and available here. You can read the article pictured above here

Indianola honors "Queen of the Jukes," Mary Shepard this Saturday -- B.B. King Homecoming Festival July 3

On Saturday the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center will host an event at the Club Ebony honoring Mary Shepard, who ran the club from the early '70s until just several years ago, when it was purchased from her by B.B. King. He subsequently turned it over to the Museum.

Between 6-8 pm a street will be renamed in her honor, and various local musicians will perform. At 9pm Mickey Rogers and the Soul Blues Band will perform at the Club Ebony--there will be a $5 cover for that show.

This Friday the Museum's weekly free "Music on the lawn" series will feature Russell Baxter and the 21st Century Band, though this week it will be held inside at the Club Ebony.

B.B. King will make his annual homecoming back to Indianola this year on July 3, when the Museum will host a festival in his honor. He usually also performs a concert the evening of that event at the Club Ebony.

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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

North Mississippi Hill Country Blues from 1967 documented in a new book

Folklorist George Mitchell began making blues recordings and interviewing artists in the early '60s when he was still in high school -- reading Sam Charters' book The Country Blues led him and a friend to head up to Memphis from their home in Atlanta to look up blues veterans.

In 1967 Mitchell, then in graduate school, returned to the greater Memphis area to document local music, and among his great "discoveries" were R.L. Burnside and Jessie Mae Hemphill. The recordings of Burnside initially came out on the Arhoolie label, and Hemphill was one of the subjects of Mitchell's now very difficult to find book Blow My Blues Away.

Over the last decade Oxford's Fat Possum label reissued all of the recordings made by Mitchell in Memphis, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and elsewhere via CDs, LPs, and a boxed set available either on CD or 45rpm singles.

This fall the University Press of Mississippi will issue a new book by Mitchell titled Mississippi Hill Country Blues: 1967.  Last week they blogged about the book, and included nine wonderful photos contained in its pages as well as a video of R.L. Burnside.

Here's the blog post.

T-Model Ford yard party this Saturday in Greenville

Photo by Scott Barretta, Dec. 2006
T-Model Ford has been sick and unable to perform for some time, and over the past months there have been a number of fundraisers to help him and his wife Stella cover basic expenses. 

Here's the announcement from Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art in Clarksdale about the gathering this Saturday:

… Are you a musician? Please contact Mrs. T-Model Ford (Stella) at 662-931-1087 to volunteer your performance at this very special blues event… or just show up and plug in!. Miss Stella and T-Model are celebrating their wedding anniversary and an early T-Model birthday. (I think he'll be around 126 years old this time around…) Are you "just" a fan? Then, c'mon down, and have some fun from 2 pm to 7 pm. It's a FREE event, though donations to the Ladies' Man are appreciated. See y'all there!!ADDRESS: 216 North Delta Street Greenville MS 38703ADDRESS: 216 North Delta Street Greenville MS 38703

Monday, May 20, 2013

North Mississippi Allstars & Sons of Mudboy pay tribute to Jim Dickinson this Thursday in Memphis

Luther and Cody Dickinson

This Thursday Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars pay tribute to their late father, Jim Dickinson, with a show at the Levitt Shell advertised as the 50th anniversary of the "first Jim Dickinson Folk Festival at the Shell in 1963." The elder Dickinson was an important member of the Memphis folk community, a story that's well documented in Robert Gordon's book It Came From Memphis. There's a really good article about the 1963 show as well as Thursday's event by Bob Mehr in this week's Commercial Appeal 

Keyboardist/vocalist Dickinson later formed an electric blues-rock band called Mudboy and the Neutrons together with Jimmy Crosthwait (washboard), Lee Baker (guitar), and guitarist/vocalist Sid Selvidge, a native of Greenville who died last month. The "Sons of Mudboy," who will also perform Thursday include Crosthwait, Luther and Cody Dickinson, Sid Selvidge's son Steve, Lee Baker's son Ben, and Paul Taylor, who played together with Luther and Cody in DDT.

I spoke with Luther today, and he told me that he'll be performing a special show at the upcoming North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic together with Lightin' Malcolm (who has been playing bass with the Allstars regularly since Chris Chew left the group for health reasons), T-Model Ford's grandson "Stud" on drums, and Sharde Thomas--Cody will not be appearing. The Allstars' new CD, which will come out August on their own Songs of the South label, will feature Chew, Lightnin' Malcolm, Sharde Thomas, Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnside, and some vintage sounds from Otha Turner--Luther produced both of his solo CDs.

* * *

Thursday's show kicks off the Spring season of the concert series at the Levitt Shell, a wonderful outdoor venue in Memphis' Overton Park that sits right behind the Brooks Arts Museum. The non-profit organization puts on dozens of shows during their late Spring and Fall seasons, with groups booked every Thursday through Sunday night.  Fall events at the Levitt Shell will be included in the Bridging the Blues calendar.

For blues/roots music fans, highlights of this season include

June 1 - City Champs - classic soul instrumental group from Memphis
June 7 - Big Sam's Funky Nation - New Orleans funk
June 8 - The Slide Brothers - sacred steel super group incl. Robert Randolph and Chuck Campbell
June 9 - Eden Brent - pianist from Greenville, Mississippi
June 13 - George Porter & Runnin' Pardners - New Orleans funk
June 14 - Chubby Carrier - zydeco
June 22 - Cedric Burnside - North MS Hill Country blues
July 5 - Sonny Landreth - Louisiana blues

New novel chronicles the great 1927 Mississippi River flood

New York City-based author Bill Cheng's new novel Southern Cross the Dog takes place in Mississippi in 1927, just as the Mississippi River burst the levee down near Scott, Mississippi -- a Mississippi Blues Trail marker is there, and it also acknowledges Big Bill Broonzy, who said he was from Scott (though he was actually from Arkansas). 

Tonight (Mon. May 20) Cheng will be signing at Lemuria Books in Jackson, and on Tuesday at Square Books in Oxford. The book has already garnered a lot of critical attention even though Cheng has -- until today -- never set foot in Mississippi. Inn a recent article in the New York Times, Square Books owner Richard Howorth -- an authority on Southern literature -- said, “I was highly suspicious of this book when I first started it [but] I was won over.” 

The term "Southern Cross the Dog" is a reference to Moorhead, Mississippi, where the Southern  and the Yazoo and Mississippi Delta (aka "Yellow Dog") railway lines crossed. In his 1941 autobiography "Father of the Blues," W.C. Handy recalled that his first encounter with the blues was at the railway station in Tutwiler--about 40 miles north of Moorhead--where he heard a man playing a slide guitar and singing about this crossing.
“A lean, loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept. His clothes were rags; his feet peeped out of his shoes. His face had on it some of the sadness of the ages. As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of a guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars. The effect was unforgettable. His song, too, struck me instantly. ‘Goin’ where the Southern cross’ the Dog.’ The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I ever heard.” 
Below is an image of the unveiling of the W.C. Handy Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Tutwiler, which was attended by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. From left: Jerome Little (Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors), Tutwiler Mayor Genether Miller-Spurlock, Jim O'Neal of the Blues Trail, Robert Plant, former mayor Robert Grayson, and Mississippi State Senator David Jordan -- photo by Melanie Young.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Juke joints featured in the New York Times

The travel section of today's New York Times has a longish article about the contemporary state of juke joints in the Deep South, addressing not only those remaining in the Delta (notably, Red's and Po' Monkeys), but also Teddy's Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana (just north of Baton Rouge), and Gip's Place in Bessemer, Alabama, which was just officially shut down for zoning/noise violations after operating for decades. Apparently Gip decided to keep going, though....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vicksburg's Got the Blues - free blues every weekend

Over the last year or so the Vicksburg Blues Society has arranged a great series of free blues shows at the the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar -- it used to be one night a week, but they've now managed to get artists for both Friday and Saturday nights, making it convenient for both blues fans and artists.

This weekend it's the veteran bluesman King Edward--he's originally from south Louisiana (his birth name was Edward Antoine) but has been in Jackson since the late '70s, having moved there from Chicago together with the band of Jackson native McKinley Mitchell.

Here's the schedule for the next month and a half:

May 17-18
King Edward

May 24-25
Wes Lee and Blue Roux

May 31 and June 1
Mr. Sipp, “The Mississippi Blues Child”

June 7-8
The Rhythm and Blues Review, featuring Lady L

June 14-15
All Night Long Blues Band

June 21-22
Clay Swafford

June 28-29
Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots

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!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Share our stamp!

We encourage participating groups and organizations to include this official stamp on their websites, advertisements, etc.  Below is an example of how Washington County has incorporated it on their official website.

New online magazine Mississippi Folklife launched

The Mississippi Arts Commission just launched an online version of the magazine Mississippi Folklife, which was previously published in a print form. The new issue is full of great material, including stories on Delta bluesman Ben Wiley Payton (by editor Mary Margaret White) and drummer Craig  Pickering, who shares stories from his years on the road with bluesmen T-Model Ford and Paul "Wine" Jones. That story was written by folklorist and drummer Larry Morrisey, who you might have seen at the Juke Joint Festival or at Clarksdale's Red's Lounge playing behind Jackson's Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood.

It's not all blues; there's also a number of articles on foodways and visual artists across the state, a photo essays, and videos, including a portrait of the late musician and painter Duff Dorrough of Ruleville. And as you can see above, you're invited to contribute!

Here's the link: www.mississippifolklife.org

Monday, May 13, 2013

New book features illustrations of Delta blues legends

Illustrator William Stout's new book Legends of the Blues, which came out this week, profiles 100 artists, including Delta legends Muddy Waters (pictured on the cover), Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and B.B. King.

Apparently Stout didn't want to step on the toes of fellow illustrator and blues fan R. Crumb, so he made an effort not to avoid artists depicted by Crumb in his Heroes of the Blues series (though he says he couldn't resist including Skip James or Memphis Minnie!). His other criteria were that they be artists about whom he is passionate, and that they were born before 1930. The book also includes a 14-track CD, and has an introduction by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.

For a sneak preview go here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Travel segment on the Delta from the UK newspaper The Guardian

British travel writer Richard Grant, who currently lives in the Delta, has recently contributed some short video pieces for the British newspaper The Guardian, traveling south along the Mississippi from St. Louis. In this segment he visits Memphis' Peabody hotel, a church in Clarksdale, and a performance from the Delta duo of harmonica player Cadillac John Nolden and guitarist Bill Abel. Bill is also a master of the one string guitar, which he manufactures.

Story on blues' economic impact in Clarksdale in the Economist

The current issue of the British magazine The Economist ran a story on the last decade's blues boom in the Delta, and notably in Clarksdale. The article features Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art, while the uncredited image is of musician and artist Stan Street, a native of Rochester, New York who runs the Hambone Art Gallery in Clarksdale together with his wife and fellow musician Dixie. The Hambone Art Gallery features live music every Tuesday night, and puts on the Hambone Festival in late October.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Schedule Announced for in Clarksdale's Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival

This year's Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival will feature headliners Bobby Rush (Friday) and the North Mississippi Allstars (Saturday). As usual there will be many activities in local clubs in the days both before and after the festival. For more information visit their website. Here's the blues lineup; information about the gospel events on Sunday will be posted later.

Friday, August 9, 2013 

Main Stage (Melville Tillis Blues Stage)

4:30 – 5:00pm Delta Blues Museum Band
5:15 – 6:00pm All Night Long Blues Band
6:15 – 7:00pm The Sarah Metcalf Blues Band
7:15 – 8:00pm Otis "TCB" Taylor Blues Band
8:15 – 9:00pm Joshua "Razor Blade" Stewart
9:15 – 10:15pm James "Jimbo" Mathus
10:30 – 11:45pm Bobby Rush

Saturday, August 10, 2013 

Acoustic Stage #1 @ VIP Tent

9:00 – 9:30am Arthneice "Gas Man" Jones
9:45 – 10:15am Robert Belfour
10:30 – 11:00am Eddie Cusic
11:15 – 11:45am Pat Thomas
12 Noon – 12:30pm Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
12:45 – 1:15pm Lucious Spiller
1:30 – 2:00pm Sharde Turner & the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band

Acoustic Stage #2 Sunflower @ Third

2:00 – 2:30pm Richard "Dad Rich" Crisman
2:45 – 3:15pm Bill Abel & Cadillac John
3:30 – 4:00pm Anthony "Big A" Sherrod
4:15 – 4:45pm Kenny Brown
5:00 – 5:30pm Johnny Lowbow

Main Stage (Melville Tillis Stage)

2:30 – 3:00pm Dave Dunavent and the EVOL Love Band
3:15 – 3:45pm Heather Crosse: Heavy Sugar & The Sweet Tones
4:00 – 4:45pm Terry "Big T" Williams/w Rip Butler & Glady
5:00 – 5:45pm Bill "Howlin’ Madd" Perry
6:00 – 7:00pm James "Super Chikan" Johnson
7:15 – 8:15pm Pat Brown
8:15 – 8:30pm Awards
8:30 – 9:30pm Mel Waiters
9:45 – 11:00pm North Mississippi All Stars

New efforts to promote music tourism in the news

In today's Tennessean there's an interesting article on a new effort to bolster tourism across the four states that contain the "Americana Music Triangle," which includes Nashville, Muscle Shoals, Memphis, New Orleans and the Delta. It's also nice to see that they highlighted some sites in eastern Mississippi, focussing on the legacies of Elvis (Tupelo), Jimmie Rodgers (Meridian), and Howlin' Wolf (West Point).

Over in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, whose world famous studios are celebrated in a new documentary, a non-profit group has purchased the building at 3614 Jackson Highway that housed the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The studio was founded in 1969 by "the Swampers," a group of session musicians who has worked at the nearby Fame Studio -- Jimmy Johnson, David Hood, Roger Hawkins and the late Barry Beckett.

A month ago there was another story in Florence, Alabama's Times Daily about the potential for music tourism in the Muscle Shoals area. Interestingly, it pointed to the transformations that have taken place in Clarksdale as an example of what could develop.

Here's the trailer from the new documentary "Muscle Shoals."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Delta Blues Museum to receive award at the White House today

On Wednesday, May 8th Clarksdale's Delta Blues Museum will receive the National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Services at a ceremony at the White House presided over by First Lady Michelle Obama. Accepting the award is museum director Shelley Ritter. The Museum's press release is here.

The White House will stream the ceremony live at www.whitehouse.gov/live. The ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT. There will also be live tweeting during the ceremony from the IMLS Twitter account @US_IMLSwww.twitter.com/us_imls.

A celebration/fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum's Deep Roots campaign will take place between 5-8pm at the Rock & Roll Hotel (1353 H Street), featuring Travis Calvin, a 22-year-old slide guitar player who got his start at the Delta Blues Museum, and the leading DC area band The Nighthawks. Those who can't attend can make contributions at the following website. www.deltabluesmuseum.org/deeperroots.asp

UPDATE!  Here's a picture from the DBM's Twitter feed of Shelley Ritter and Travis Calvin accepting the Medal.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest & Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival this weekend

The 7th annual Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest will be held on Saturday, May 11 & Sunday May 12,  2013, in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. Musicians will be performing in front of Cathead, 252 Delta Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and outside the Rock & Blues Museum, 113 E. 2nd Street,  from 1 to 6 p.m. The events are free. Another edition of the Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest will take place during Bridging the Blues, on October 12 and 13.

The third annual Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival takes place this Friday and Saturday in Helena, Arkansas on the outdoor stage that serves as the main stage for the King Biscuit Blues Festival. Tickets are $30 for both days.

Friday May 10th 
3:00 PM - Brandon Cunning & The Stunning Cunning Band
4:30 PM - C. W. Ratlin
6:00 PM - Sleepy LaBeef
7:00 PM - The Cate Brothers - Tribute to Levon Helm
8:00 PM - Ben "Cooter" Jones and Cooter's Garage Band

Saturday May 11th
11:00 AM - D. J. Fontana & Stan Perkins
12:00 PM - Reba Russell Band
1:00 PM - W. S. Holland
2:00 PM - Ace Cannon
3:00 PM - Linda Gail Lewis
4:00 PM - Sonny Burgess & The Legendary Pacers, with special guest
Lance Lipinsky of the Million Dollar Quartet 
5:30 PM - Wanda Jackson
6:45 PM - Travis Wammack
8:00 PM - The Kentucky Headhunters

Lineup announced for King Biscuit Blues Festival

The lineup for the King Biscuit Festival was announced today. The headliners on the main stage are:

- Thursday, October 10:  Marcia Ball

- Friday, October 11:  Robert Cray

- Saturday, October 12:  Gregg Allman Band

Bridging the Blues Supports Blues in Schools - MBT Launches Blues Trail Curriculum

Mississippi Arts Commission Launches New Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum as a Free Online Resource

Jackson, MS--  The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) launched its new Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum online today. The 18-lesson Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum along with an interactive, multi-media resource page is available for free at www.msbluestrail.org/curriculum.  Three lessons were developed for each of the six core areas: Music, Meaning, Cotton, Transportation, Civil Rights and Media.

“As our state joins the nation in the journey down a new economic path we call Cultural Heritage Tourism, it is imperative that we share our state’s rich cultural history with the world, on the local level, and in classrooms across Mississippi,” stated Sallye Killebrew, Interim Executive Director of MAC. “This curriculum guide will establish a sense of place within our communities, a civic pride in our citizenry, and provide a much needed resource for educators.”  

Curriculum designer Dr. Mark Malone and historian Scott Barretta teamed up with the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Folk and Traditional Arts Program to develop lesson plans which explore Mississippi History through the lens of the Mississippi Blues Trail. The curriculum is designed specifically for 4th grade students studying Mississippi History.  However, teachers may modify the lessons to accommodate students through the 12th grade.

The lessons employ an interdisciplinary, arts-integrated approach, which seeks to increase depth of understanding, incorporates multiple intelligences and utilizes specific learning modalities. Each lesson is aligned with established national standards which help teachers share the skills needed for high student performance on standardized tests. These standards include the Mississippi Studies Framework for social studies and music, the National Standards for Music Education, and the new Common Core Standards for writing, language, speaking and listening. 

"Providing teachers with lesson plans that integrate the art of blues music with the newly revised Mississippi Social Studies Framework culture strand will bring our state's arts and culture alive in the classroom,” stated Limeul Eubanks, Education Specialist Senior, Visual and Performing Arts, Mississippi Department of Education.

In addition to providing the Curriculum online free of charge, the MAC is also hosting four regional workshops in Fall 2013 which will offer teachers .5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and instruct educators on how to best utilize the Curriculum in the classroom. 

Established in 2006, the Mississippi Blues Trail is an important new development in Mississippi’s efforts to develop cultural tourism, but it’s also a visual, historical, geographical and cultural exploration of the people, places and traditions in the state. The blues were likely born in the Delta, but the Mississippi Blues Trail covers the tradition throughout the state. The trail has stimulated increased awareness of blues culture in both the rural and urban parts of Mississippi.  For more information about the Blues Trail, visit www.msbluestrail.org

The MAC was granted a $20 thousand Folk Arts Infrastructure Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the development of the Curriculum. The project is directed by Mary Margaret White, MAC Folk and Traditional Arts Director. 

The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Riley Foundation, The Phil Hardin Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. MAC is the official grants-making and service agency for the arts in Mississippi. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Highway 61 Blues Festival to be incorporated into the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival; Crawfish Festival in Leland next weekend

From the website of the Highway 61 Blues Festival in Leland:

The Highway 61 Blues Festival is in transition this year at a new location and with the addition of some country roots music added to the lineup. The new location is at Warfield Point Park just south of Greenville, MS nestled right on the banks of the Mississippi River. The Mighty Mississippi River Music Festival will be a two day festival on October 5th and 6th. Both days will be at Warfield Point as the Holly Ridge location is no longer available for use. 

We hate to put the Holly Ridge Jam behind us, but during the fall of the year there is too much truck traffic with the farmer getting their cotton to the gin and their grain crop to the elevators. For the first time camping will be available on site at the festival with both tent and RV accomodations. We expect a much larger crowd this year! Come be a part of Bridging The Blues! Watch the website for updates in the near future concerning performers and tickets.

Next Saturday from 11am until 9pm the promoters of the Highway 61 Blues Festival are staging another festival, the 22nd Annual Leland Crawfish Festival, featuring Louisiana accordionist Dwayne Dopsie and his Zydeco Hellraisers. From their website:

Entertainment for the day will be The Thursday Night Lillo's Band, GoofyBoots, Jimmy Phillips and the Ruminators, The Jason Fratesi Band and the headliner Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. There will be a $5 cover charge at the door. We are also taking donations for the Leland Food Pantry and we ask that festival goers bring two canned items to support the pantry.

The festival is dedicated to our recently departed friend, Duff Dorrough. Ryan Moore and his crew from Cicero's will be cooking crawfish and BBQ for the event which starts at 11:00 AM and ends at 9:00 PM. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Announcing Bridging the Blues 2013


Since 2000 the Mississippi Delta region has enjoyed a blues renaissance, with the arrival of new festivals, venues, museums, and the Mississippi Blues Trail series of historic markers. In order to help maximize visitors’ experiences of the area’s blues riches, the “Bridging the Blues” project is bringing you America’s music by coordinating events stretching over three weekends, from Saturday, September 28 to Sunday, October 13. 

Established outdoor events anchor the three weekends--the Gateway to the Delta Festival in Charleston, Mississippi, the inaugural Mighty Mississippi Music Festival in Greenville, Mississippi, (incorporating the Highway 61 Blues Festival), which takes place October 4-5, and the world-famous King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, which runs from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, October 12, with a lineup featuring both local legends and leading artists of the blues.

Many juke joints, clubs, and casinos from Memphis down to Vicksburg will be presenting live music, and visitors are encouraged to take self-guided tours throughout the region to visit the holy sites of the blues. Clarksdale, the home of many blues clubs, is hosting several street parties, while other cities in the region will feature blues artists during downtown arts celebrations. 

Other events will take place at venues including the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, and, in Clarksdale, the Delta Blues Museum and the Hopson Plantation, which will host the annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming on Sunday, October 13. 


For general information about Bridging the Blues as well as guides to live venues and museums across the area go to the menu at top left.