Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pinetop Perkins

Pinetop Perkins: 94 years old and still pounding the piano (Citizen Times, North Carolina): "Pinetop Perkins has been playing the blues so long that when he started, radio was still a newfangled novelty. Maybe the senior star on the blues circuit, Perkins’ career dates to 1927, and yet the musician, who turns 95 in July, continues to tour....Born Joe Willie Perkins in Belzoni, Miss., Perkins started off playing both guitar and piano...Perkins told The New York Times that he played at chicken fights, where his pay was the dead chicken. His nickname came from the classic blues tune “Pinetop’s Boogie” by Pinetop Smith. He is best-known for a long hitch playing piano with the Muddy Waters Blues Band, 1969-80. Margolin also worked in that group. Perkins and others from the Waters band left to begin their own act." (Read The Full Story)

Milt Hinton

Playing The Changes -- New book about Milt Hinton: "The life story of Milt Hinton is rooted in hard times, rising from segregated backwater clubs to elegant concert halls, offering a perspective on the African American experience that is unique in its mix of humor and wisdom. The publication of Playing The Changes: Milt Hinton's Life in Stories and Photographs (Vanderbilt University Press, January 2008) not only tells Milt's compelling story, in his own inimitable style, but also exquisitely reproduces 260 of his incredible photographs. He began taking pictures in the 1920s and continued documenting the world that he knew, in and away from the spotlight, up to his death in 2000 at age 90....Included with the book is a CD of music and interviews with Milt Hinton, along with a discography and a filmography. This remarkable book reveals as well that Hinton possessed a gift of narrative. Blessed with a storyteller's facility, he leads the reader back to his first memories as a child in Vicksburg, Mississippi....Interweaving photos and prose, the book traces Milt's path from Mississippi to Chicago, where he polished his music through the famous Wendell Phillips High School program and earned money running errands for the Al Capone organization. Committing full time to music, Hinton crossed paths with people who seem cut from a mold that was broken long ago. Many have left vivid marks on history, from the legendary boxer Jack Johnson to the incomparable Cab Calloway, with whose band Hinton traveled for many years." (Read the Full Story)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blues Trail - Robert Johnson - Hazlehurst

On Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 4:00 PM, MDA Tourism Heritage Trails Program, the Mississippi Blues Commission and the City of Hazlehurst will honor blues legend, Robert Johnson at the historic train depot located at 138 N. Ragsdale Road in downtown Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Claud Johnson (son of Robert Johnson) and his family will be present to receive this honor.

"Robert Johnson's reputation as one of the most prominent Blues pioneers is exceeded only by the myths that surround the origins of his musical career," Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said. "We don't know if he made a deal with the devil, but one thing is certain: Robert Johnson's innovative sound and soulful Blues rhythm makes him a perfect recipient for this designation of a second Blues Trail Marker in his honor."

Clarion Ledger: "Hazlehurst to unveil Robert Johnson blues trail marker"

WLBT: "Robert Johnson Honored with Blues Trail Marker"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

News Update

Coke Kills Ike - Rock n' roll pioneer Ike Turner's death last month at age 76 was caused by a cocaine overdose. The medical examiner's office also listed hypertensive cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema as "significant and contributing factors" to the Clarksdale, Miss., native's death. (Read the Full Story Here)

Tickle Me Elmore - Elmore James, the king of the raw and loud slide guitar of '50s Chicago blues, left something down in his old stomping grounds in Mississippi before moving north -- little Earnest Johnson. In the mid '60s, Johnson took the stage name Elmore James Jr., and he hopes to show the State Theatre during his show Friday what his biological father taught him. James Jr. was born in 1939 in James' hometown of Richmond, Miss., to a woman who ran a restaurant. His mother's husband, who he thought of as his dad back then, tended to be mean, James Jr. said from his home in Chicago. (Read The Full Story Here)

Lantana in March - Caroline Herring confidently returns to the forefront of the American roots music scene with her new album Lantana, due March 4th, 2008 on Signature Sounds Records. The Mississippi-born singer/songwriter new albulm is intimate, powerful and honest, Lantana is a masterpiece of understated intensity and in many ways an artistic re-birth for Herring. After making a name for herself in Mississippi as band member and co-founder of the now renowned Thacker Mountain Radio music series, Herring moved to Austin, TX. Herring quickly took the town by storm, releasing the critically acclaimed debut album, Twilight. She won "Best New Artist" at both the 2002 SXSW Austin Music Awards and also from the Austin American Statesman. Herring soon after released an equally impressive follow-up, Wellspring. In many ways Lantana is Herring's re-imaging of the Gothic South, with a rich alto voice that soothes the listener even as she addresses difficult subjects. Herring has a journalist's eye for detail, a poet's sense of scale and language, and a life-long Southerner's understanding of the issues that shape the culture below the Mason Dixon line. Herring's commitment to uncovering the truth in her songs led fellow artist Dar Williams to call Herring 'the elusive real thing.' There is no artifice on Lantana. It's an album full of delights, lyrically and musically. And just like Caroline Herring, her new album is the real thing. (Read More Here)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

A special program of dulcimer music will be provided by the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association (video link here) from 10:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2008, at the Parkway visitor center located at milepost 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi. The North Mississippi Dulcimer Association strives to teach dulcimer history, tradition, craftsmanship, and music by sharing its knowledge and talents. The Appalachian mountain dulcimer is the first instrument developed in the United States. Dating back to the early 1800s, the dulcimer is an instrument whose very name means “sweet sound”. The National Park Service and the North Mississippi Dulcimer Association invite everyone to listen to the soft sweet sounds of the dulcimer and learn of its extensive history. This program is free. For additional information, call 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417. (For More Details)

Blues Music Awards - Tunica: May 8

For the first time in its history, the prestigious Blues Music Awards will be held in the birthplace of the blues - the Mississippi Delta. The awards ceremony will be held on May 8, 2008 at the 2,500 seat Event Center at the new Harrah's Casino Tunica and is sponsored by the Blues Foundation.

“I can think of no better location to host the Blues Music Awards than the undisputed birthplace of the Blues, right here in the Mississippi Delta,” Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said in this release. “One of the most significant aspects of our culture is the state’s vast music heritage, particularly in the blues genre. I’m delighted the Blues Foundation recognizes Mississippi’s important role in the history of the blues, and I welcome them, along with all lovers of the soulful, Delta blues, to our great state!”

“We know the Delta location will provide an excellent opportunity for the fans that come from around the globe to explore the birthplace of the Blues. The timing is particularly appropriate as more and more of the Mississippi Blues Trail markers are added," said Jay Sieleman, executive director of the Blues Foundation.

“Not only is Tunica the entrance to the Blues Highway 61, but it’s also the South’s Casino Capital, making it an entertaining destination for all visitors coming to this event,” said Webster Franklin, president and CEO of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The event brings together Blues performers, industry representatives and fans from all over the world to celebrate the best in Blues recordings and performances from the previous year. Each year, the Foundation presents The Blues Music Awards - the highest honor given to Blues artists - to recipients selected by its members.

The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Charter Member’s Dinner will be held the night before on Wednesday, May 7, at the Tunica Riverpark museum.

Tickets are available for purchase online where members are able to access the ballot to determine which of the nominees will be selected to receive the 25 Blues Music Awards.

The Presenting Sponsor for the Blues Awards 2008 is The GIBSON Foundation. The Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, Casey Family Programs, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

State recognizes Elvis’ blues roots

Tupelo Daily Journal: "More than 30 years after his death, Elvis Presley is still getting birthday presents. On Tuesday, what would have been Presley’s 73rd birthday, a Mississippi Blues Trail marker was unveiled at his birthplace in east Tupelo....The double-sided sign tells how Presley first heard the blues in Tupelo and then mixed the music genre with country, pop and gospel to come up with his signature sound. The marker includes pictures of Elvis with blues legends and copies of album covers....Last year, the birthplace had 70,000 paid visitors....The Mississippi Blues Trail was created by the Mississippi Blues Commission. The Elvis marker is the 28th on the trail and the one of the first in NeMiss." (Read the Full Story Here)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Birthplace of Elvis - Blues Trail Marker

On Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 1:00 PM, MDA Tourism Heritage Trails Program, the Mississippi Blues Commission, the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum will honor Rock & Roll legend, Elvis Presley with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The location is the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum (306 Elvis Presley Drive in Tupelo).

“By all accounts, Elvis Presley was the single greatest influence on modern day rock ‘n roll in America, and much of his musical inspiration drew on the Mississippi blues,” Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said. “As birthplace to Elvis, Tupelo is incredibly deserving of this very special Blues Trail marker which will honor the work, memory, and music legacy of the King himself.” (More Deails Here)

Governor's Art Award: Charley Pride

Clarion Ledger: "A 40-year country music career and record sales in the tens of millions earned Sledge native Charley Pride international renown. That and more have now earned him the state's top arts award, for lifetime achievement in the Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts....Pride tops a 2008 recipient class that also includes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Gulfport native Natasha Trethewey, visual artist Lallah Miles Perry of Jackson, Meridian arts patron Emma McCain and arts leader the Mississippi Museum of Art." (Read the Full Story Here)

Miss Musicians Hall of Fame

Associated Press: "Rhythm and blues legend Jimmy Reed is among the 2007 class of inductees into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Reed grew up in Leland and died in 1976 at the age of 51. He was at his creative peak between 1955 and 1961, when he wrote hits including 'Baby, What You Want Me to Do' and 'Bright Lights, Big City.' Other inductees include, by category: Freddie Waits of Jackson, jazz; Charlie Feathers of Holly Springs, country; the Rev. Cleophus Robinson of Canton, gospel; Blind Roosevelt Graves and the Mississippi Jook Band of Hattiesburg, rock; Tommy Johnson of Terry, blues." (Read the Full Story Here)

Super Chikan

Clarion Ledger: "Clarksdale bluesman James Johnson - better known as Super Chikan - has plenty to crow about. A fixture of his hometown's thriving blues scene, Johnson has toured the world, won five Living Blues Critics' Awards, was nominated for a 1998 W.C. Handy Award and was a recipient of a 2004 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. His down-home singing style, coupled with razor-sharp lyrical wit and unparalleled guitar playing (often on his own "chi-can-tars" he invented), have made him a favorite of blues fans from his backyard to France. Johnson will be the featured artist along with Jackson's Bobby Rush Revue at an after party for the Mississippi Blues Marathon at Hal & Mal's Saturday. Johnson recently spoke to the Clarion-Ledger [Read the Interview Here] while preparing for a big New Year's Eve party at Ground Zero in Clarksdale."

News Roundup

~~LA Times: Ike and Tina Turner are rollin', rollin' in retrospective set: The pop world has focused for so long on the remarkably sensual energy and excitement of Ike & Tina Turner's old live show that it is often easy to forget the duo also made some dynamic records. But even if you have wanted to go back and check up on the pair's records from the 1960s and 1970s, it was difficult to know which "best of" collection to buy because the Turners recorded for so many labels. Time Life has finally put together what it bills as Ike & Tina's "first-ever complete career retrospective." Released just weeks before Ike's death Dec. 12, at age 76, the three-disc boxed set includes tunes from each of the Turners' most noteworthy label affiliations. The results are mixed, but the highlights of "The Ike & Tina Turner Story 1960-1975," mostly taken from their early days on Sue Records, offer astonishingly raw slices of soul music; music often as frenetic as Tina's hip-shaking moves onstage. (Read the Full Story Here)

~~This is an update on Columbus area music in 2007.

~~JFP: The Crossroads 'Round Midnight: The Tommy Johnson Story - "One of my absolute favorite “Southern” movies, “O Brother Where Art Thou?,” portrays characters based on both Greek mythology and actual Southern personalities. When Everett, Pete and Delmar run into a bluesman who has just sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads, they invite him along for the ride. Many people speculate that the character is based on Robert Johnson, but his name is Tommy Johnson in the movie. What you might not know is that there actually was a Tommy Johnson, and he was the first one to sign on that dotted line." (Read the Full Story Here)