National spotlight comes to the Delta
By Robert Mcfarland, JR.
The Bolivar Bullet
This past Sunday night, the CBS program, 60 Minutes ran a segment on the blues music scene currently taking place in Clarksdale.
In the blues world, Clarksdale is known as the epicenter for this genre of music because so many of its creators came from there such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, and several others.
During the past 20 years, Clarksdale has worked hard to develop their blues brand and now the town has become known worldwide as the blues mecca. People come to see modern day blues musicians perform at several venues. While in Clarksdale they also soak-up the many blues sights and sounds offered that include the Delta Blues Museum, Ground Zero Blues Club, The Shack Up Inns, the unique blues and folk art retail story, Cat Head, Bluestown Music, Deak’s Harmonica store, Bad Apple Blues Club, Blueberry Cafe, Red’s blues club, the New Roxy and many other places.
The annual Juke Joint Festival held every April has also become a major attraction. In fact, The Juke Joint Festival is one of the most popular festivals not only in Clarksdale, but in the entire state of Mississippi. Each year over 100 stages and venues offer music during the three day event.
Recently, Ground Zero Blues Club, founded by Morgan Freeman, Howard Stovall, and the late Bill Luckett, has been voted the number one blues club in America which has also brought positive publicity to Clarksdale. A second Ground Zero location has opened in Biloxi and many blues acts will perform in Clarksdale one night and then perform the next night at Ground Zero Blues Club Biloxi.
Several musicians from Bolivar County also regularly perform in Clarksdale and some appeared in the 60 Minutes segment that included Chris Black from Shelby who is a graduate of the DMI program at Delta State. Black is also the drummer for current blues guitarist and Clarksdale resident, KingFish. Other Bolivar County musicians who appeared in the program included Barry Bays, Keith Johnson, and Joe Eagle.
To see the 60 Minutes segment, visit cbs.com.