Tag Archives: John Lee Hooker

Bridging the Blues Festival

photo by Voghtlanderr2, Flickr
photo by Voghtlanderr2, Flickr

If you are a blues lover, this is THE place to be for the annual Bridging the Blues Festival. Sponsored by three states– Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee–the series of events celebrates the rich music and culture of the region.

There are numerous blues-themed events–many free of charge–that take place at museums, juke joints, casinos, and town squares. Even the buskers are great! Beale Street clubs in Memphis are celebrating the blues, of course, but find time to leave the city for some downhome music from area artists. Destination highlights include the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, The Mighty Mississippi Music Festival in Greenville, Mississippi, and the popular Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at the Hopson Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Bridging the Blues Festival
http://www.bridgingtheblues.com/p/2014-schedule.html

The festival runs from September 27th to October 13th so there is plenty of time to see your favorite musicians from the Delta. Here’s a sample from one of this year’s many headliners, Robert ‘Bilbo’ Walker:

Take a Blues Road Trip!

If you have a car, especially a big old Buick, you can also make the ultimate blues pilgrimage: tracking down gravesites of blues legends (including Robert Johnson) and exploring the 175 historic markers along the Mississippi Blues Trail.

photo by Reed Turley, Flickr
photo by Reed Turley, Flickr

A stunning number of blues artists–past and present–have roots in the Delta. In fact, more blues singers have come from the state of Mississippi than anywhere else! There must be something in the soil that fostered talent like Albert King, Charley Patton, Bukka White, Denise LaSalle, Elmore James, Honeboy Edwards, Johnny Winter, Pinetop Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton, Jessie Mae Hemphill, John Lee Hooker, Memphis Minnie, and many more.

photo by Victoria, Flickr
photo by Amy and Turgay, Flickr

Mississippi Blues Trail – MDA Tourism
P.O. Box 849, Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: (601) 359-3449
http://msbluestrail.org/blues_marker_list


Along the Mississippi Blues Trail, the impressive B.B. King Museum in Indianola, MS is a shrine for blues lovers. The museum guides you through King’s remarkable career, from poor sharecropper, to WDIA disc jockey, to hard-working hitmaker and international star. Playing professionally since the 1940s, he still makes bending the notes on Lucille look so effortless.

B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center
400 Second Street, Indianola, MS 38751
http://www.bbkingmuseum.org/

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Little Kids Rock

Since 2001, B.B. King has been an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in 1,700 less-privileged U.S. public schools. Given the chance, many of these talented youngsters may rise to become the next King of the Blues.

It all started in 1996 when elementary teacher David Wish was frustrated with the lack of funding for music education at his New Jersey school so he created his own after-class program. Making sure kids still got a chance to explore music, David offered free guitar lessons to interested students. They were interested! The classes became very popular, and as more kids wanted to learn music, Wish and his volunteers saw the need to take the program to the next level. With support from music heavyweights like John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, and Carlos Santana, Little Kids Rock was born as a national program.

photo by Matthew Carasella
photo by Matthew Carasella

Since then, the organization’s Modern Band curriculum has inspired tens of thousands of students across the country.

Little Kids Rock
271 Grove Ave., Bldg E2
Verona, NJ 07044
Phone: (973) 746-8248
http://www.littlekidsrock.org/

In this Fox Memphis story, teachers take part in a two-day workshop on how to teach the program: