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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dedication this Thursday in Moorhead for the "Where the Southern Cross' the Dog" Mississippi Blues Trail marker

In his autobiography W.C. Handy recalled that one of his early inspirations for becoming a blues composer took place in 1903 while he was waiting on a train in Tutwiler. At the station was a guitarist who used a knife for a slide and sang of “Goin’ where the Southern cross’ the Dog.” The line referred to a railway crossing in Moorhead, about forty miles to the South, where the east-west line of The Southern Railway in Mississippi intersected with the north-south line of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad; it had recently incorporated the Yazoo-Delta Railway, which was known to locals as the “Yellow Dog.”

In 1914 Handy published the song “Yellow Dog Rag,” which as “Yellow Dog Blues” was later recorded by artists including Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. The phrase about where the “Southern cross’ the dog” also appeared in numerous other blues songs, including Big Bill Broonzy’s “Southern Blues” and Charley Patton’s “Green River Blues,” while bluesman Sam Collins recorded a different song called “Yellow Dog Blues.” The railway crossing and the “Yellow Dog” train became iconic images of the Mississippi, and appear in art works including Eudora Welty’s novel “Delta Wedding,” August Wilson's play "The Piano Lesson," and Memphis painter Carroll Cloar's "Where the Southern Cross the Yellow Dog."

There's already a state historical marker at the crossing in Moorhead, and the new MBT marker will be placed next to the former depot for the Yazoo & Mississippi Delta Railroad.

For more information on the Mississippi Blues Trail go here.

Carroll Cloar, Where the Southern Cross the Dog, 1965.
Copyright estate of Carroll Cloar

Monday, September 29, 2014

Shows at Po' Monkey's Lounge during Bridging the Blues

Photo by Ken Murphy
On Thursday October 2nd Clarksdale bluesman Terry "Big T" Williams will play at the juke joint Po' Monkey's Lounge, and on Thursday October 9th Greenville blues-rock band GoodPaper of Reverend Robert Mortimer will play there. Both events are sponsored by the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring a number of other events during Bridging the Blues.

The juke is run by Willie "Po' Monkey" Seaberry, who lives in the back and farms the nearby fields. Now in his '70s, Seaberry has operated the downhome venue since 1963.

Here's a video portrait of Seaberry and the club that was made a couple years ago for the Oxford American magazine.

A map and a history of the juke joint are featured on the webpage for the Mississippi Blues Trail marker that stands outside.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bridging the Blues events today - Saturday, September 27


A Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Willie Mitchell, one of the most important figures in Memphis music history, will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 27 at the Ashland Town Square. Mitchell, born in Ashland in 1928, began performing actively in Memphis in the late '40s as a trumpeter, and led a popular band in the 1950s. He began his recording career in 1959, and scored multiple hits in the 1960s, including "Soul Serenade." He is best remembered, though, as the producer of many of Al Green's hits for Hi Records. For Hi Mitchell also produced hits for Otis Clay, Syl Johnson, and Ann Peebles, and also recorded artists including Denise LaSalle, Bobby Rush, Otis Rush, Pops Staples, and many more. He died in Memphis in 2010 at the age of 81.



Noon - Dave Sherman
12:30 - Eddie Cusic

1:00 - City of Hollandale Blues Revue
1:30 - Bobby Whalen
2:15 - Bronwynne Brent
3:00 - Doc Maclean
3:45 - Libby Rae Watson
4:30 - Jessie Robinson
5:15 - John Horton
6:00 - Nathaniel Kimble




Cat Head Stage 

- 11am - Stinkeye
- 1pm - The Blues Doctors w/Adam Gussow & Alan Gross
- 3pm - Zakk and Big Papa Binns

Rock & Blues Museum Stage 

- 11am - RL SUPERBAD
- 1pm - Made in Blues (ItalY)
- 3pm - La La



Canton, Mississippi- based Grady Champion is playing tonight at the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar -- The show is free, and is sponsored by the VicksburgBlues Society

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lineup for the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Celebration - October 12; same day as Cat Head Mini Blues Festival & the Second Street Blues Party

Every Sunday after the King Biscuit Festival the Pinetop Perkins Foundation stages the annual Pinetop Homecoming Celebration at the Hopson Plantation, located just west of Clarkdale on Highway 49. For many years Pinetop, who lived at Hopson during the 1940s, was in attendance. The pianist died in 2011 at age 97, but his memory lives on via this festival as well through Masterclass workshops that the Foundation sponsors at Hopson each June.

The music takes place on several stages at the Hopson Commissary as well as at the Shack Up Inn's Juke Joint Chapel - musicians include Bob Margolin, who played with Perkins in the Muddy Waters band. 

Hopson Commissary Stage

Bob Margolin* Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks *  Bob Stroger
Jonn Del Toro Richardson * Sweet Betty * Tom Holland
Jimmi Mayes *  Clay Swafford * Lee Williams * Heather Crosse

Youth Showcase With: 
Kingfish Ingram, Marcus Cartwright, Wyly Bigger and Carson Diersing

Juke Joint Stage

Kenny Brown * Cedric Burnside Project * Lightnin' Malcolm  

Hopson Commissary Acoustic Jam Stage

"Rip Lee" Pryor * Stephen "Blues Dude" Duncan

*  *  *  *  *

Saturday October 11
11 am Theo Boogieman
12 noon Jed Sparks
1pm Made in Blues (Italy)
2pm Stephen Duncan
3pm Blues jam

Sunday October 12
11 am Made in Blues 
12 noon Delta Coasters
1pm Selwyn Cooper
2 pm Dave Dunavent and Evol love
3pm Boogieman Blues Jam

Here's Selwyn Cooper playing outside of the Rock & Blues Museum

*  *  *  *  *

Three times a year -- on the Sundays after the Juke Joint Festival, the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival, and the King Biscuit Blues Festival - Roger Stolle of Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art puts on the Cat Head Mini Blues Fest in front of his store. The music usually gets going around 9 a.m., and most of the time Red Paden of Red's is there with his portable BBQ cooker. The festival is free, though you might want to bring your own folding chair!

Here's Big George Brock playing at a Cat Head Mini Blues Fest

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mighty Mississippi Music Festival schedule -- less than two weeks away!

The Mighty Mississippi Music Festival debuted in 2013 with a diverse lineup that includes artists from the fields of rock, country, soul and blues -- the festival's Highway 61 Blues Stage features one of the finest lineup of traditional blues artists of any event. Located next to the Mississippi River in Warfield Point Park, just south of Greenville, the festival incorporates the Highway 61 Blues Festival, which was  founded in Leland in 2010. Part of the proceeds of the festival goes toward the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland, which celebrates the blues traditions of the mid-Delta area.

The festival offers camping and on Saturday there'll be TVs set up so fans of SEC football won't have to miss their favorite teams.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bridging the Blues starts next weekend! Lineups for the Sam Chatmon Blues Festival & Delta Busking Festival

Bridging the Blues kicks off on Friday with the Delta Busking Festival in Clarksdale, which presents two stages of music with no charge during the afternoons of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Festival is intentionally structured to complement the live music in local clubs in the evenings.

The full schedule is below -- for a continually updated guide to clubs in Clarksdale visit the music calendar on the website of Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art, which is presenting the Delta Busking Festival together with Theo Dasbach's Rock & Blues Museum

This Saturday Hollandale, the longtime home of Mississippi Sheik Sam Chatmon, is celebrating the Sam Chatmon Blues Festival, which takes place downtown throughout the today, also with free admission.

Another BTB event this weekend is Indian Bayou Arts Festival in Indianola, home of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. The Festival takes place in front of the Museum from 9am to 4pm on Saturday.

Click here to read the Blues Trail marker text

Lineup for Sam Chatmon Blues Festival 2014

12:00 - Dave Sherman
12:30 - Eddie Cusic
1:00 - City of Hollandale Blues Revue
1:30 - Bobby Whalen
2:15 - Bronwynne Brent
3:00 - Doc Maclean
3:45 - Libby Rae Watson
4:30 - Jessie Robinson
5:15 - John Horton
6:00 - Nathaniel Kimble


FRIDAY, 9/26

Cat Head Stage (252 Delta Ave.)

- 11am - RL SUPERBAD
- 1pm - Libby Rae Watson
- 3pm - Orland Moses with BluesGate Jams

Rock & Blues Museum Stage (113 E. 2nd St.)
- 11am - TD Boogieman
- 3pm - Made In Blues


Cat Head Stage 

- 11am - Stinkeye
- 1pm - The Blues Doctors w/Adam Gussow & Alan Gross
- 3pm - Zakk and Big Papa Binns

Rock & Blues Museum Stage 

- 11am - RL SUPERBAD
- 1pm - Made in Blues (ItalY)
- 3pm - La La

SUNDAY, 9/28

Cat Head Stage 

- 11:30am - Preston Rumbaugh
- 1pm - Deak Harp

Rock & Blues Museum Stage 

- 11am - RL SUPERBAD
- 1pm - Made in Blues
- 3pm - Tony Mac and The Blues Connection

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Press release for Bridging the Blues


Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee join the Bridging the Blues experience

Third annual event to feature two+ weeks of live music and hundreds of musicians

Full schedule here: http://btb.do/KssERI

More than a hundred musical events, including 15 festivals, are scheduled for the third annual Bridging the Blues (BTB), a cooperative effort between Arkansas, Mississippi and Memphis that takes place from September 26 thru October 12. In addition to weekend festivals, there are special events including shows at vintage juke joints, Mississippi Blues Trail marker unveilings, public talks with blues artists, live radio programs, and blues competitions.

The first weekend of BTB includes three festivals: Clarksdale’s Delta Busking Festival (September 26-28), Gonerfest in Memphis (September 27), and, in Hollandale, the Sam Chatmon Blues and BBQ Festival (September 27), featuring leading artists of the Delta music scene.

After a successful debut last year the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival (October 3-5) in Greenville, Mississippi, returns this year with artists including Gov’t Mule and Dr. John on the Mighty Main Stage, and a full lineup of traditional artists on the Highway 61 Blues Stage. Camping, late night movies and sports access is part of the fun at beautiful Warfield Point Park on the Mississippi River.

One of the key events during BTB is the four-day King Biscuit Blues Festival (October 8-11) in Helena, Arkansas. Celebrating its 29th year, the “Biscuit” features a lineup including Roy Rogers & Sonny Landreth, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Vivino and the Black Italians (house band for Conan O’Brien’s late night TV show), and other festival favorites like Bobby Rush and James Cotton. Dozens of acts perform across multiple stages, and there’s plenty more music along historic Cherry Street.

On the Sunday following the “Biscuit” there are three festivals in Clarksdale—the 14th Annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming, the Cat Head Mini Blues Festival, and the Second Street Blues Party.

Clubs throughout the region have extra bookings throughout BTB, and special events include shows at the legendary Po’ Monkey’s juke joint (October 2 & 9) near Merigold, Mississippi, a performance by Big Tyme Rhythm and Blues Band at historic Club Ebony (October 3) in Indianola, and an appearance by Jimmy “Duck” Holmes at the Blue Front Cafe (October 2) in Bentonia, Mississippi, which his family has operated since the late ‘40s. Other special events include multiple shows at Memphis’s outdoor amphitheater, Levitt Shell, and a “Blues Tweet Up” (October 8) featuring Blind Mississippi Morris at the Gateway to the Blues Welcome Center in Tunica, Mississippi.

Monday through Friday at 12:15 p.m. you can watch veteran broadcaster Sonny “Sunshine” Payne host the legendary King Biscuit Time radio program over KFFA via a studio at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena. A special edition of Thacker Mountain Radio (October 11) in Como, Mississippi, will feature a group from blues legend Mississippi Fred McDowell’s home church, Hunter’s Chapel MBC, and Beale Street Caravan will be recording many of the BTB events for later broadcast on over 600 internationally-syndicated non-commercial radio stations worldwide.

In addition, there are special exhibits up at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland, the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, and the Delta Cultural Center in Helena.

Regional competitions for the International Blues Challenge will be held by the Memphis Blues Society at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street (October 8), while the Vicksburg Blues Society’s event will take place at Ameristar Casino’s Bottleneck Blues Bar (October 12).

The International Conference on the Blues (October 6-7) debuts this year at Delta State University, featuring an interview and performance by Grammy® award-winner Alvin Youngblood Hart. The 4th Annual Call and Response Blues Symposium (October 11) takes place in Helena during the King Biscuit Blues Festival and features several panels of musicians and blues journalists.

Unveilings for three Mississippi Blues Trail markers are scheduled to honor soul legend Willie Mitchell (Ashland, Mississippi, September 27), the location of the legendary railway intersection “Where the Southern ‘Crosses the Dog” (Moorhead, Mississippi, October 2), and harmonica great Sonny Boy Williamson II (Helena, October 9). There are over fifty Mississippi Blues Trail (www.msbluestrail.com) markers in the Delta region alone.

Bridging the Blues has attracted tens of thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the globe and was recently named an event to watch in ABA’s Top 100 Events in North America for 2015. Mississippi Tourism Association named BTB as the 2013 Tourism Achievement Winner and Acoustic Guitar Magazine also named Mighty Mississippi Music Festival as the “do not miss” fest in Mississippi.

This year, Mississippi Delta Tourism Association is asking you to upload your own photos from Bridging the Blues using the hashtag#BridgingtheBlues2014. A winner will be chosen to receive a Nikon Camera. To sign up, visit bridgingtheblues.visitthedelta.com.

To see our most recent promotional video for Bridging the Blues, seehttp://btb.do/YxNsRZ (vimeo. com/105914105).

For more information and a full schedule of events visitwww.bridgingtheblues.com.

You can also follow BTB on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BridgingTheBlues), Instagram (@bridgingtheblues) and Twitter (@BridgingBlues).

Bridging the Blues is a partnership between Mississippi Delta Tourism Association, Arkansas Delta Byways, Arkansas Parks & Tourism, the Mississippi Development Authority Division of Tourism, and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Contact: Megan Slaughter 662-453-7078 megan@hammons.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blues stage to be featured during Octoberfest in Cleveland, Mississippi (October 10-11)

One of the featured artists during Octoberfest is Mark "Muleman" Massey, who
learned to play the blues while playing in the Parchman Prison Band

This year the 32nd annual Octoberfest in downtown Cleveland, Mississippi is adding the "Airport Grocery Blues Stage," which will feature music on Friday night and during the day on Saturday. On Friday October 10 the psychedelic blues band Solar Porch will perform from 6 - 9 p.m., and on Saturday October 11 the Mark "Muleman" Massey Blues Band will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the Muddy Kings from Charleston, South Carolina, who will play from 2 - 4 p.m.

"The blues stage will add another element of music to the traditional acts at Octoberfest," says Judson Thigpen, Executive Director of the Cleveland Bolivar Chamber of Commerce. “Because of the role the blues has played in the delta, we thought it would be a good addition to Octoberfest.” 

The festival will also feature various other music, including country, bluegrass, rock'n'roll and and the Delta State University Tuba Players.

In addition to the musical lineup, Octoberfest  includes a Memphis Barbeque Network sanctioned barbeque contest. Competitors from all over the country come to compete for the one-of-a-kind Octoberfest pig trophy and the title of Mississippi Delta State Barbeque Champions. It will also feature a children’s area that includes face painting, a rock climbing wall, inflatables, train rides and more. Over 125 arts and crafts vendors will line the sidewalks on Saturday.

For more information about Octoberfest, call the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce at (662)843-2712 or email lisa@clevelandmschamber.com

* * * *

During Bridging the Blues Cleveland is also hosting the debut of the International Conference on the Blues, on October 6 & 7 at Delta State University. Events will include a concert by Grammy winner Alvin Youngblood Hart on the 6th. For more information see the schedule.

There will also be shows on October 2 & 9 at the legendary Po' Monkey's juke joint in Merigold, just north of Cleveland.