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Thursday, May 21, 2015

B.B. King Homecoming this weekend in Indianola; three festivals on Saturday and Sunday

(INDIANOLA, MS - May 18, 2015) The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi, will be the site of the 35th annual B.B. King Homecoming Festival on Sunday May 24th. On Saturday the Museum will host the first B.B.'s Bikes, Blues & BBQ Blowout, and on Saturday afternoon the Blue Biscuit, located across the street from the Museum, will host the fourth annual Blue Biscuit Festival.

This is a free event, and activities will begin at noon with food and art vendors on site; the musical entertainment begins at 2 p.m. Three-time GRAMMY®-nominated North MS Allstars are headlining the event, and other acts include the B.B. King Children’s Choir; Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, with his brand of Bentonia Blues; David Dunavent and Evol Love; Delta native Eden Brent; the Allstar Tribute Band featuring Alphonso Sanders; the Marquise Knox Band; and Lil Ray Neal Band.

The theme for this year’s festival, which was chosen months ago, is “A Tribute to the King.” At that time it was intended to honor Mr. King, but since his passing it will now become a memorial celebration. “This is our first Homecoming without B.B. so it’s a tough time for all of us, but we are left with priceless memories,” said Bill McPherson, chairman of the Museum board. “We are forever grateful for the many years he took time away from his schedule to perform for free and visit with anyone and everyone who wanted to greet him, especially the children he enjoyed welcoming up on the stage with him,” McPherson added. Dion Brown, executive director of the Museum, said, “Our thoughts and prayers remain with Mr. King’s family and legions of fans as they mourn his loss. We certainly will miss his infectious smile and warmth this year, but we have no doubt he would want us to carry on with this tradition.”

Immediately following the festival, at approximately 10 p.m., an intimate show with Nashville’s Pat McLaughlin and his son Jamie will take place at historic Club Ebony. They are returning by popular demand after a standing ovation at the end of last year’s performance. Tickets are needed for this performance and can be purchased at the B.B. King Museum.

A new addition to the weekend will be BB’s Bikes, Blues & BBQ Blowout, held on Saturday May 23rd,  from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Museum and hosted by the United Ryders motorcycle club. Visitors are invited to gather behind the Museum with their grills, tents and coolers and listen to music by Jake and the Pearl Street Jumpers and The Big Tyme Blues Band. Juke joint music will be provided by DJ triple X. Gates open at noon and show time is from 2 - 6 p.m. There is a $5 admission fee and a $3 bike contest fee, with a trophy awarded in four categories.

Also on Saturday, May 23rd is the Fourth Annual Blue Biscuit Festival, which takes place across the street from the Museum at 501 Second Street. Free live music will begin at 11 a.m. and continue until dark. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, but coolers are not allowed. Acts will include Zach Day, Jack McWilliams, Alanna Mosely, On the Run, Gary Vincent, Christopher Polk, Sweet Tea Jubilee, R.L. Boyce, Candice Moore, David Dunavent, Delta Crossin, Alan Jones, Ralph Sandidge, Libby Rae Watson and Wes Lee. After dark, there is a cover charge inside the Blue Biscuit to hear Mississippi Delta Blues Challenge Winner Libby Rae Watson with Wes Lee and The Beat Daddys. Located at 400 Second Street, the B.B. King Museum and Delta Cultural Center incorporates a restored 1920s brick cotton gin where King worked as a young man to tell the story of not only a great man and musican, but the history of the place that helped shape him.

 For more information: Contact: Robert Terrell, Director of Operations 662-887-9539 ext. 222 rterrell@bbkingmuseum.org

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rosanne Cash and Eddie Cotton, Jr. – Live at Dockery

Grammy-winning artist Rosanne Cash will perform a benefit concert at Dockery Farms on June 6, 2015. Cash won both Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for “A Feather’s Not A Bird” and Best Americana Album for The River & The Thread at the 2015 Grammy Awards ceremony. She explained her connection to Dockery and this album saying, “So much of the inspiration for The River & The Thread comes from right here on this stretch of highway from Greenwood to the Mississippi River, and the very center of the creative spark is Dockery Farms. It’s a huge thrill and the completion of a circle to finally perform these songs in this historic place.”

The opening act for the concert will be Eddie Cotton, Jr., who is the winner of the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Whether he's punctuating old favorites with his own inflections or crooning a Cotton original with stunning energy, audiences are sure to take notice of this blues artist who demonstrates deep respect and appreciation for his craft. Gates will open to visitors at 5 p.m. The opening act will begin at 6:30 with blues artists Cadillac John, Bill Abel, and Jake and Pearl Street Jumpers performing at different locations on the Dockery grounds, followed by Ms. Cash’s performance at 7:30.

The music heritage of Dockery–located just east of Cleveland, Mississippi, on Highway 8–is rich, as rich as the soil that drew Will Dockery in the late 1800s to clear thousands of acres of woods for farming. His expansive farm and self-sufficient community would become the sometimes home of peripatetic Charley Patton, who is regarded as the “father of the Delta blues.” Cash’s stage for this concert will be the cotton storage shed on the property that was built around 1925; it sits a little over a hundred feet from the commissary porch where Patton often played. Although the commissary burned in 1960, the concrete porch foundation remains. Patton himself learned from fellow Dockery resident Henry Sloan and influenced many other musicians who lived here, including Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, and Roebuck “Pops” Staples. Bill Lester, executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, said, “Two years ago, Rosanne and her husband John came to Dockery to talk about a ‘Save America’s Treasures’ grant they had been awarded to save her father’s home in Arkansas. I’m very pleased that they will return here to perform at the birthplace of the Blues.”

In an article for Esquire magazine, Cash offered a suggested playlist for a trip down nearby Highway 61; some of the songs included were Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” Johnny Cash’s “Big River,” the Staples Singers’ “This May Be the Last Time,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “The Natchez Burning,” and Al Green’s “Take Me to the River,” and all with a tie–whether by artist or theme–to this region.

The Dockery Farms Foundation is working to ensure that Dockery can once again be a center for music education, one that serves both the general public and the local community.  Over the last ten years the Foundation has restored many of the original buildings that made up the commercial center of Dockery Farms.  The Foundation has also partnered with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to bring music education programs into Delta schools.  The sign on the Dockery Seed House is recognized world wide as a symbol of American Blues music and the site routinely draws visitors from all over the world. The Dockery Farms Foundation is a tax-exempt entity operating under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A tax-deductible portion of each ticket sold will go to support the foundation’s preservation  and education programs.

Tickets to the concert are available by visiting dockeryfarms.org or calling 662-846-4626. Specially priced tickets are available for Delta State University students and Teach for America teachers, which must be purchased at the Bologna Performing Arts Center with Okra or TFA ID. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Proceeds from this concert benefit the Dockery Farms Foundation.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Buddy Guy in Meridian, MS, Thursday, November 6

Guy will be performing at the MSU-Riley Center, a wonderful hall in downtown Meridian. Tickets are $43 and $37 at the MSU Riley Center box office (9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday). Tickets can be purchased online at www.msurileycenter.com or by calling the box office at 601-696-2200.

More info here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mississippi Saxophone Harmonica Festival - November 8 in Clarksdale

The Mississippi Saxophone Harmonica Festival will be held Saturday, November 8th in Clarksdale at the Delta Blues Museum Stage to honor Greg "Fingers" Taylor, who has significant medical bills. Food and drink will be served at the nearby Pinkbar, and there will be a harmonica workshop on the preceding Friday at Deak's Harp Emporium. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ongoing events calendar up now!

Bridging the Blues is over for the year, but we'll continue to use this space to announce regional events. Click on the "Ongoing Events Calendar" link to the left to access information about festivals and other special events. For detailed information on music in the Clarksdale area go to the Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art music calendar; for Memphis try the Memphis Flyer music calendar, and for the Jackson area visit the Jackson Free Press' music listings.