Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Weekend

44th Annual Medgar Evers B.B. King Homecoming - Jackson

9th Annual Elvis Presley Festival - Tupelo

Robin Thicke - Jackson

Highway 61 Blues Fest - Leland

Thursday News Roundup

Yesterday, the Mississippi Blues Commission dedicated a Blues Trail marker for the Summers Hotel and Subway Lounge in Jackson. The Subway was featured in the Last of the Mississippi Jukes and was a longtime blues staple of Jackson.
WLBT has video and the Clarion Ledger also has a report of the event.

Delta Southern Bank has pledged $200,000 toward the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola (full story).

Elvis Fest kicks off tonight in Tupelo (full story).

Tupelo Daily Journal: Country music star Marty Stuart will bring a host of artists to Oxford this weekend to celebrate American music. The stars will gather to perform for Oxford Sessions, a series of concerts to be videotaped live for a planned series of TV specials celebrating American Music. The two-night event will kick off Thursday at the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the University of Mississippi campus. The Williams Brothers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Hubert Sumlin will take the stage Thursday, while the Blind Boys of Alabama and Charlie Mussellwhite will perform Friday. Marty Stuart will host and perform both nights. Tickets for each show is $5. For more information about the shows, call (662) 915-2787 (More on this at the University of Mississippi newsdesk.)

The Delta Democrat Times has this great feature on Greenville native Frank Vick, bluesman and longtime drummer for Little Milton and later Howlin' Wolf. The eighth annual Highway 61 Blues Festival, to be held Saturday in Leland, is dedicated to Vick and to the late James “Son” Thomas (Full Story Here).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Marty Stuart & Brandy

Great article and review of Philadelphia, Mississippi native Marty Stuart's new album over at Monsters & Critics. An excerpt: For Stuart, it all comes from what he calls his "Mississippi heritage." "So much of America`s music sprang from there," says the Philadelphia, Miss., native, whose hometown is within 35 miles of Meridian, home of country music pioneer Jimmie Rodgers. Stuart points to such Mississippi music notables as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Tammy Wynette and Pop Staples among the state`s rich legacy of American music figureheads. "I realized early on that I come from there, and that any form of music that`s from there I could legitimately go to, and make a contribution," Stuart continues. "When I embraced that, I went beyond making music from one street, one town to the whole American roots system that`s bigger than anybody`s chart. I love that."

McComb, Mississippi native and R&B star Brandy is back in the news for her December 2006 car accident. Now she is suing another driver involved "accusing him of calusing the accident which left a mother-of-two dead." (Full story at

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monday News Roundup

From the Gwinnett County Georgia Daily Post: "Mississippi is a state that’s hard to spell. It’s a place that divides East and West and a state steeped in Southern culture. More than that, the Magnolia State is the birthplace of some of our nation’s most prominent people, from music scene heavy-hitters to literary prodigies. We surfed the Web to find the top five highlights of any Mississippi itinerary." The story highlights Mississippi as the "Birthplace of rock" and "Birthplace of the blues" and the birthplace of the Muppets and the "birthplace of Southern drama" and the "birthplace of American fiction." (Read the full story here) 5/29

The Chicago Sun Times discusses the new book and CD to honor the late Larry Brown of Oxford. (Read the story here) 5/27

The Subway Lounge Blues Trail Marker will be unveiled in Jackson on Wednesday. (Full story) 5/25

Friday, May 25, 2007

44th Annual Medgar Evers B.B. King Homecoming

44th Annual Medgar Evers B.B. King HomecomingMay 31st - June 2nd 2007 in Jackson, Mississippi

Saturday afternoon: The 44th Annual Blues Concert staring Sir Charles Atkins, Bobby Rush, Peggy Scott Adams, Nellie (Tiger) Travis, Tina Diamond, The Houserockers and many more. The concert will be held at the parking lot beside WMPR Radio Station at 1018 Pecan Park Circle behind E&E Blues Cafe' at 2605 Robinson Rd. Concert Admission will be $25.00 at the gate. Gates open at 2:00PM and show starts at 4:00PM. (Security Provided)

Friday News Roundup

Ground Zero Blues Club celebrates sixth anniversary this Saturday. Clarksdale’s James "Super Chikan" Johnson and Tupelo’s Homemade Jamz will perform. (Full Story Here) 5/25/2007 (North Carolina): At the LAUNDROLOUNGE This Saturday as part of WE Festival XI: "8:30 p.m. Jennifer Glass [Jackson] Mississippi-born/NYC-based singer [Decca Records] Jennifer Glass has chops and songwriting abilities to spare. A recent performance at The Living Room will soon be broadcast on XM Radio, while Glass will also cover Bonnaroo this year as a VJ for Concert TV, an on-demand music channel." 5/25/2007

McComb native and R&B artist Ray J continues his "salacious scandal" lifestyle as reported in great detail at the Black Voices Blog. 5/24/2007

Jackson Free Press: "Larry Brown loved music. The late Mississippi author was a constant presence around the music clubs in his hometown of Oxford, and a CD was always playing in his writing room (often the disc of a local musician). Many of the musicians from the Oxford area responded in kind, becoming dedicated followers of his sparse, direct novels and short stories. Brown's death in 2004 at the age of 53 was devastating, and many are still trying to come to terms with it, the music world in particular. To celebrate his life, a group of musicians from Mississippi (and some from other parts of the country) have come together and created a special compilation CD. “Just One More: A Musical Tribute to Larry Brown,” which will be released this week by Chicago-based label Bloodshot Records, features tracks from 18 of Brown’s favorite performers." (Full Story Here) 5/23/2007

Jackson Free Press: "Mckinney “WorkHorse” Williams Jr. has plenty to rap about. With an easy-going voice, the West Jackson native doesn’t give you 16 bars of nursery rhymes. Instead, he conveys stories of what he has witnessed in the capitol city. “I got so much music in me that I literally dream songs,” Workhorse writes on his MySpace blog. His mixtape “In the Future Volume II” is available at BeBop." (Full Interview Here) 05/16/2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Carey Bell and Jesse Robinson

Scott Barretta writes in today's Clarion Ledger: "The blues world suffered a major loss May 6 with the passing of harmonica great Carey Bell (Harrington), a native of Macon. His death came shortly after the release of a new dual CD and DVD release, Gettin' Up: Live (Delmark), which illustrates how his command of the harmonica and powerful vocals remained undiminished." (Full Story Here)

Carey Bell's son, Steve, a resident of Kosciusko, will participate in a "harmonica blowout" at blues guitarist Jesse Robinson's annual birthday celebration at Hal & Mal's, which begins at 7 p.m. tonight. Other guests include King Edward, Alphonso Sanders and Rhonda Richmond.

3 New Blues Trail Markers

The Mississippi Blues Trail has announced three upcoming marker dedications:

Jackson - Former Site of the Subway Lounge - May 30, 3pm: 619 West Pearl Street

Tunica - Son House - June 18, 10am

Canton - Elmore James - June 19

Highway 61 poster signing Thursday

Delta Democrat Times: "LELAND - The poster signing and reception for the eighth annual Highway 61 Blues Festival will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Highway 61 Blues Museum. There will be wine, hors d'oeuvres and music by local bluesmen at the public event. The poster contest was won this year by renown artist Cristen Barnard of Tutwiler. .This year's festival, which will be June 2, is dedicated to legendary Leland bluesman James “Son” Thomas and longtime Greenville drummer Frank Vick." (Full Story Here)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Willie King DVD

If you've been to the juke joint Betty's Place in Noxubee County, Mississippi, you know about Willie King who lives on the Alabama/Mississippi line. Visible World Films has just put together a DVD on King. The Columbus Dispatch reports (full story at link):

Ever wonder what it's like to be a modern bluesman, living in the woods of the Alabama Black Belt? A pair of Dutch filmmakers, Saskia Rietmeijer and Bart Drolenga of Visible World Films, found out. And now they've brought the experience to everyone.

Just in time for Willie King's upcoming Freedom Creek Festival, the filmmakers have released a DVD, “Willie King: Down in the Woods,” about the bluesman, a local favorite, who lives in Old Memphis, a rural community in Alabama....

"We have always been fascinated by the Old South, which is so rich in culture, music and literature," he continued. "We are big American roots music fans - blues, jazz, soul and Americana. We heard Willie sing and play on his porch and the decision was easily made to make the documentary on him."...

For the DVD, King also was filmed performing with other musicians, such as [Forest, MS native] T Model Ford, and while visiting his mentor, Mississippi bluesman Jesse Daniels....

King was inducted into the Howlin' Wolf Hall of Fame in 2005. He was recognized by Living Blues magazine in 2000, 2001 and 2003 and was nominated for the traditional blues male artist of the year in the 2006 Blues Music Awards. He also is a repeated nominee in the W.C. Handy Awards.

Freedom Creek Festival
May 25, begins at 4 p.m., and May 26, begins at 11 a.m.
Old Memphis, near Aliceville, Ala. (On King's property in Pickens County)
(For directions, contact the Alabama Blues Project at (205) 752-6263.)
Admission: Suggested donations - $5 Friday and $10 Saturday

Wednesday News Roundup

Bo Diddley Improving After Stroke: McComb native "Bo Diddley is moving from intensive care to a regular hospital room at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska...Publicist Susan Clary said Bo Diddley is awaiting word on when he may be transferred to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida, near his hometown of Archer, Florida." (Full Story Here) 5/23/07

From The Fermanagh Herald in the UK: "At Ardhowen Theatre, this heralds the arrival of the Annual Jazz and Blues Festival which takes place in the Theatre's Gallery Bar from Thursday 31st May to Saturday 2nd June, with a line up of artists from the United States, Norway and Sweden. The Festival kicks off on Thursday evening at 9.00pm with Boo Boo Davis, a blues singer and musician born in the heart of the Mississippi Delta [Drew, Mississippi]. An accomplished harmonica player from the age of 5 he has played with all the greats including John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Doc Terry and many others. A regular on the St Louis blues scene, Boo Boo Davis has toured to and recorded in many different countries and is a true legend of the Delta and a real treat for Ardhowen Blues enthusiasts." 05/23/2007

"Old Time" Jamoboree in Moss Point to feature Jacob Blue gospel rock group, Kappa Kappa Psi Steppers, Wallace Sisters gospel group, and Dance by Letisha (Details and Story Here) 05/23/2007

DDT: "The Stone Soul Picnic Music Festival will make its debut this weekend on the grounds of the Washington County Convention Center in Greenwood. The festival kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m., with the gates to the grounds opening at 1 p.m. The event will feature the musical talents of Bobby Blue Bland, Sir Charles Jones, Bobby Rush, Shirley Brown, J. Blackfoot, Billy Soul Bonds, Nathaniel Kimble, Betty Pageant and The Delta Blues Review. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring with them picnic baskets, lawn chairs and blankets. Ticket prices are $32 and may be purchased locally at Disco Den, Folk Enterprise, Walnut Street Blues Bar and 129 Blues Cafe in Greenville and the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland. For more information, contact representatives with Just in Time Music, Inc. at (205) 324-0609." (Full Story Here) 05/16/2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hank Williams Lost Highway

New Stage Theatre in Jackson will be presenting "Hank Williams Lost Highway" May 29-June 10.

"A spectacular musical biography, Hank Williams: Lost Highway depicts the rise and fall of the brash, forever young, always legendary singer-songwriter who stands among the greatest innovators of American popular music. Meet the people who influenced Hank Williams and follow his life from his humble beginings at the Louisiana Hayride to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry, in this highly entertaining jounrney, featuring over 20 hits songs."

More details: New Stage Theatre

Singer Songwriters in Meridian

Singer Songwriter Concert featuring Meridian Native & Nashville Songwriter, Don Poythress along with Barry Dean and Wynn Varble - Friday & Saturday, June 8 & 9 at 8 p.m. - $20 per person / general admission

Nashville singer-songwriter and Meridian native, Don Poythress returns home with two other Nashville singersongwriters, Barry Dean and Wynn Varble. The three accomplished songwriters have written numerous awardwinning and top 10 hits for the likes of Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, and more. The performance will be held in the MSU Riley Center’s intimate Studio Theatre.

Yung Joc in Greenwood

Yung Joc (hit single "It's Goin' Down," and featured on T-Pain's "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" #1 on the latest Billboard chart) will headline the funk festival at Greenwood's Whittington Park on June 9. Also appearing will be Zapp and Con Funk Shun, Denise LaSalle of Belzoni, and R&B singer Temmora.

Gates open at noon; music begins at 3pm. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Southern AIDS Commission, which is based in Greenville (full story in Greenwood Commonwealth).

News Roundup

"South Mississippi residents will be treated to a free symphony concert Thursday night at the Long Beach harbor. The American Wind Symphony Orchestra, based in Pennsylvania, will perform the "Waterfront Concert," a gift to the Coast from Beaufort, S.C. (full story). 5/22/07

NAACP rocks the vote in Laurel with Mississippi Fats, Young and Dumb, Burn Boy Entertainment and others (full story). 5/21/07

Natchez Festival of Music welcomes UK/NYC jazz violinist David Shenton (full story). 5/20/07

The Delta Democrat Times editorializes that the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival should be moved to downtown Greenville from rural Washington County (full editorial). 5/18/07

Carson Whitsett, a Jackson native and legendary Hammond B3 organ players, passed away in Nashville on May 8. "Whitsett was part of the rhythm section at Malaco that played on hits by Dorothy Moore (Misty Blue), Johnny Taylor and Bobby Bland. Whitsett moved to Nashville in the mid-1980s where he performed as a session musician and producer, working with such stars as Paul Simon, Tony Joe White, B.B. King and Little Milton. He worked for several years as [Kathy] Mattea's keyboard player (full story)". 05/16/2007

It was a good day in Columbus for music at the Market Street Festival 2007. "The MSF music committee worked hard for a varied mix - gospel, jazz, old-time, blues, Celtic and acoustic, as well as classic, Christian, southern and hard rock." Acts included Swing Shift, Johnny Coleman, Caleb Childs, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Ruby Jane Smith, Big Joe Shelton, AM/FM and CatDaddys, and Brice Miller (full story). 5/10/07

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jesse Robinson's Birthday Bash

Mississippi bluesman Jesse Robinson will be celebrating his birthday in the Red Room at Hal and Mals in Jackson on May 24. 7pm till midnight; $10 cover

News Round-up

Clarksdale native Ike Turner, a member of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, was jailed in Los Angeles for a 1989 narcotics warrant (full story). 05/17/2007

Pascagoula native Jimmy Buffett has teamed with Harrah's Entertainment to open the Margaritaville Casino and Resort, part of a $700 million expansion at Harrah's Grand Biloxi property (full story). 05/16/2007

Brookhaven Daily Leader: "Thirteen-year-old Cortland Collins, of Hazlehurst, got his first drum set at age 3...And by this point [age 13], the boy has followed the beat of his own drums to the Apollo in Harlem, New York, as well as the Trumpet Awards, which honor musicians from over 185 countries..."They're not sure, but we've been told he's probably the youngest musician to ever hit the stage at the Apollo" (full story). 05/15/2007

Blues harmonica player Carey Bell, a native of Macon, died in Chicago at the age of 70. Bell was a veteran of both Muddy Waters' and Willie Dixon's bands (full story). The AP and and the UK Times Online both have write ups about his life and work. 05/07/2007

The Mississippi Development Authority added a Jimmie Rodgers marker to the Mississippi Blues Trail at the Singing Brakemen Park in Meridian. Rodgers, considered the father of country music by blending blues with folk, is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame (full story). 05/03/2007

"A 28-year-old former Tupelo newspaper reporter wants the city of Starkville to posthumously pardon musician Johnny Cash for a public drunkenness arrest in 1965" (full story). The arrest led to Cash's famous tune "Starkville City Jail." 05/01/2007

Mississippi Blues in Washington DC

Last week, Congressman Chip Pickering cohosted the annual Congressional Blues Festival in Washington DC and promoted Mississippi as the birthplace of American music. "Blues on the Hill" is a project by the Music Maker Foundation.

DCist carries a story about the project.

Here are releases that Pickering put out in 2005 and 2006 about previous Congressional Blues Festivals.

Blues Trail: Robert Johnson

Last week, the Mississippi Blues Commission unveiled the latest marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Just north of Greenwood at Little Zion Baptist Church, they unveiled the marker for Robert Johnson (full story). Scholars have determined that this is the most likely location of Johnson's remains, due in part to eye witness accounts discussed in this 2001 piece by National Public Radio.

Jesse Robinson and Rev Steve Johnson (Robert Johnson's grandson) were musical guests at the dedication.

Here is a link to some great pictures the Mississippi Department of Tourism took of the event.

I took a few pictures while I was there, too...

The front of Robert Johnson's grave marker:

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The back of the marker:

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The sign for Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church:

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You can make contributions to the upkeep of the facilities:

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Steve Johnson (grandson of Robert Johnson) sings "Sweet Home Chicago" with Jimmie Robinson.

<Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

While I was in the area, I zipped over to Moorhead to see where the Southern crosses the Dog.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Bo Diddley Update

Three updates on McComb, Mississippi native and Rock N Roll Hall of Famer Bo Diddley...

Less than a week after suffering a stroke, blues legend Bo Diddley was out of his sick bed and walking around the intensive-care unit at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., reports AP. Though his speech is impaired, doctors told the 78-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist that he would be able to perform again in the near future. His manager, Margo Lewis, told AP she also believes he’ll be able to sing again, following work with a speech therapist. Singing a song is different than speaking. Even when there is a problem with speaking, or hesitancy, we've seen where people can sing perfectly," said Lewis. "We're going to get a guitar for him and put it in his lap and let him entertain people here. People think that would be good therapy for him." Full Story Here

He is still in the intensive-care unit but a spokeswoman said his condition is improving. Diddley's condition was upgraded from "guarded" to "cautiously optimistic" Friday by the neurology team that evaluated him. Diddley is still able to get up and walk around, but he is still having difficulty speaking and recognizing words due to the damage the stroke caused to the left side of his brain. Full Story Here

His scheduled concert at the House of Blues Atlantic City on July 6 has been canceled. "Fans are asked not to contact the hospital, but may send get-well wishes to" Full Story Here