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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

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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.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Art exhibits during Bridging the Blues

The show Backporch Blues, featuring the works of Mississippi Delta artists Bub Branton, Ellen Bidwell Dudley, Grace Buchanan, Cliff Speaks and Park Neff opens on September 12 the Greenville Arts Council's E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center in the Roger D. Malkin Gallery at 323 South Main St

There will also be a poster signing with Cristen Barnard, the winner of the contest for the poster for the Highway 61 Blues stage of the Mighty Mississippi Music FestivalThe opening and show are part of "Blues Week," leading up to the Mississippi Delta Blues & Heritage Festival on September 20. 

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Como, Mississippi-based sculptor Sharon McConnell-Dickinson's blues "lifecasts" are on display at Delta State University's  Ewing Hall on the DSU campus--its the first building to your left as you enter campus on Highway 8. Over the last two decades Dickinson has captured the faces of dozens of blues artists, including legends Koko Taylor, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Bobby "Blue" Bland. For more information visit her website.

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The Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas is hosting the show "Delta in Blues," a series of cyanotype photographs by Beverly Buys. Cyantotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. The exhibit will be up from August 14 - December 31. The DCC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am - 5pm.

The Center is also hosting the exhibits "Fine Tuned Strings: The Guitars of Delta Cultural Center,including guitars owned and used by blues artists CeDell Davis, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Nighthawk and Howlin’ Wolf, and "Songs from the Field," which tells the early story of Delta music including field songs and field hollers and the songs of the enslaved peoples of the Arkansas Delta. 

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Bobby Rush by H.C. Porter

The exhibit Blues @ Home by Vicksburg-based artist H.C. Porter is on display at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola through October 2. The show is based on photographs of 30 artists that Porter made and then transformed through painting. The portraits include a wide range of artists, ranging from B.B. King to lesser-known musicians such as T-Bone Pruitt of Laurel and YZ Ealey of Natchez. To read more about the project and to view many of the portraits, visit the Blues @ Home website.

International Blues Challenge regional competitions in Vicksburg and Memphis during Bridging the Blues

On October 12, during the third weekend of Bridging the Blues, is the Vicksburg Blues Challenge. It's a regional competition hosted by the Vicksburg Blues Society for the International Blues Challenge, which will take place in Memphis in 2013, arranged by the Blues Foundation.  The Challenge will be at the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar, with solo/duo acts competing at 2 p.m and bands at 5 p.m. For entry info contact shirley@vicksburgblues.net

The Memphis Blues Society has announced the call for Bands and Solo/Duo Acts to compete in the Memphis Blues Society "Road to the Challenge" Competition on October 8-9 from 7 pm on at Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at the Hopson Commissary and the Shack Up Inn's Juke Joint Chapel on October 12

On Sunday October 12--the day after the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena ends--the Pinetop Perkins Foundation is presenting the 14th annual Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Celebration on the Hopson Plantation just outside of Clarksdale, which features two venues: Hopson Commissary and the Shack Up Inn's Juke Joint Chapel, as well as other performances on the grounds.  Music is scheduled from 3 - 7:30 p.m. and there's a suggested donation of $15.

All proceeds go to scholarships for the Foundation's Pinetop Perkins Master Class Workshops, where are held at Hopson in June.  If you are unable to attend the Homecoming, you can still donate online via the Foundation's website.

Perkins (1913-2011), whose long career included stints with Robert Nighthawk, Earl Hooker and, most famously, Muddy Waters, participated the Homecoming for many years; the event began with the dedication of a Pinetop Perkins shack in 2001. Perkins lived on the plantation in the 1940s, working as a tractor driver, and during his time in the Clarksdale area served as a mentor to young pianist Ike Turner.

A Mississippi Blues Trail in front of the plantation titled "Cotton Pickin' Blues" addresses the farm's role in the mechanization of cotton production during the time Perkins lived here.

The festival takes place just after the King Biscuit Blues Festival, so there's many artists already in the area. Featured artists at this year's event include Bob Margolin, who was Muddy Waters' band with Perkins, Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks, Bob Stroger; Jonn Del Toro Richardson, Sweet Betty, Tom Holland, Jimmi Mayes, Clay Swafford, Lee Williams and Heather Crosse.

On the Juke Joint Stage are Kenny Brown, the Cedric Burnside Project, and Lightnin' Malcolm, and the Acoustic Jam Stage has Stephen "Blues Dude" Duncan; and "Rip Lee" Pryor. There will also be a special youth showcase with Kingfish Ingram, Marcus Cartwright. Wyly Bigger and Carson Diersing.