Friday, May 30, 2008

Blues and Barbershop

Scott Barretta writes about the new home o fht Highway 61 Blues Museum in the Clarion Ledger:

The Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland celebrates its move to a new home with live performances by local musicians T-Model Ford, Eddie Cusic, Eden Brent, Duff Durrough and Pat Thomas. Artist Cristen Barnard will be on hand to sign her poster for the ninth annual Highway 61 Blues Festival, which takes place on June 7 and will feature 92-year-old Honeyboy Edwards.

The museum, founded in 2002, celebrates the blues artists native to the mid-Delta region including Little Milton, Tyrone Davis, Jimmy Reed and dozens more. Its new location is the former Montgomery Hotel building at 307 North Broad St.

The new, larger space also allows for temporary exhibitions, and the first is a series of photographs of Delta artists by Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based Bill Steber. Since 1992, when he shot a session with Leland's James "Son" Thomas, Steber has returned more than 100 times to document the places and people of Mississippi blues.

Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi hosts the Barbershop Harmony Society this weekend.

Dressed in matching red vests and bow ties, their voices carry on an American music tradition that emerged in the 19th century. The Jackson barbershop group Magnolia Chorus will perform, as well as two guest barbershop quartets - the Colorado group Redline and Tennessee's Lunch Break, whose members will compete during the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Convention in Nashville later in June.

Derrick said the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America was organized in the late 1930s, and by the 1960s, the organization claimed 48,000 Americans members. Derrick said Mississippi has chapters in Columbus and Biloxi, too. As one of the oldest American chapters, the Jackson group has around 35 members, and many will perform with the Magnolia Chorus at Belhaven.

"It's definitely a unique sound," he said. "It's traditional American music, and we'd like to get a lot of young folks involved."

Read the full story here: Barbershop group brings harmony to the stage

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