Papa Mali – Blues Center Interview #20

At long last! BCI is back with a new episode. Shot in January – March of 2020, Blues Center Interview # 20 offers a portrait of the artist, Malcolm Wellbourne. Better known as Papa Mali, herein you can find out just how. A lucky trip to Jamaica began a lengthy reggae run for the bluesy, swampy, surf-guitar happy camper.

Along the way a keystone highlight is the collaboration with two of the Grateful Dead, drummer Bill Kreutzmann and songwriter Robert Hunter. Together theydrove the 7 Walkers forward for an album and several memorable years of touring.

Some peak concert moments from the last few years propel the soundtrack – from Chickie Wah Wah, Maple Leaf and PineCohn with interviewer Ric Stewart. Catch the whole series including #10 with Joe Krown, #18 with Alvin Youngblood Hart both playing along with Mali here and at our YouTube Channel.

Brother Robert

Robert Johnson’s step-sister Annye Anderson recounts the blues guitar legend with a new book (and photo seen here). At 94, she recollects some of the details and comings and goings of Robert Johnson. This sheds light into the very murky history of 1930’s Memphis and Delta black culture this posthumously famous bluesman. A must read for fans of Robert’s playing who want to get a non-mythologized take on the man.

100 Years of Blues

The new release from Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite 100 Years of Blues combines the guitar and harp prowess of two blues stalwarts. Roughly a century of the music officially known as blues has gone down. Now a couple performers with over a hundred years of playing pen some new tracks to summarize their findings. Among them the track “What the Hell?” above:

As JD Nash puts it:

This entire 12-track release is just two good-old-blues-boys sitting together and jamming. It’s absolutely brilliant. Most of the songs on 100 Years of Blues were written by either Bishop or Musselwhite, and they teamed up to write the title track. Along the way they also pay homage to Roosevelt Sykes with “West Helena Blues,” an appropriate song given the amount of times each artist has played at the King Biscuit Blues Festival. The duo also cover Leroy Carr’s “Midnight Hour Blues,” and Willie Dixon’s “Help Me.”

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite Kick Out ‘100 Years of Blues’

2019 King Biscuit Blues Festival

On the Delta Blues Trail…crumbs from the Biscuit

The 2019 King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas showcased dozens of great blues artists on 6 stages. Top moments shown below include the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band with BCI #10’s Joe Krown on the keys. Kenny Wayne and vocalist Noah Hunt have been a stage-fronting combo for over 20 years!

Minds were blown all weekend long with Larry McCray providing the hard edge guitar work, and Andy T laying it all on the line with Alabama Mike, Anson Funderburg and guests. The quaint historic town of Helena sprang to life once again this year.

Kudos to Bubba Sullivan and the crew for an excellent fest and the Southern hospitality extended to the Blues Center. And another shout out to Jontavious Willis (of BCI #1), killing it live with the audience in the palm of his hand. Awesome bluesy shows across the board!

All shots by Ric Stewart © 2019 Ace Productions

New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Fest 2018

The latest Blues Center video offers a cigar box guitar primer. It covers the 2018 New Orleans Cigar Box Festival with an interview of founder Collins Kirby and live clips from Samantha Fish, Little Freddie King, Steve Arvey, April Mae & The June Bugs and Ivor Simpson Kennedy. Find out more about Bo Diddley, the premiere cigar box player of all time. Little Freddie and Bo Diddley are both from McComb, MS.

New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Fest 2018

The latest Blues Center video offers a cigar box guitar primer. It covers the 2018 New Orleans Cigar Box Festival with an interview of founder Collins Kirby and live clips from Samantha Fish, Little Freddie King, Steve Arvey, April Mae & The June Bugs and Ivor Simpson Kennedy. Find out more about Bo Diddley, the premiere cigar box player of all time. Little Freddie and Bo Diddley both hail from McComb, MS.

Mason Ruffner – Blues Center Interview #6

Mason drops by Pinecohn Studios to talk Bob Dylan, Daniel Lanois, Buddy Holly, Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana. He lays down some of his signature tremolo-stained blues riffs. Live footage from French Quarter Fest highlights an amazing biography of huge accomplishments. Mason discusses his band’s role on Dylan’s “Series of Dreams” and his ongoing collaboration with Carlos Santana. He tries to recollect shooting a music video on top of The World Trade Center in 1987.

This video made possible in part by a Community Partnership grant from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Little Freddie King – Blues Center Interview #3

Little Freddie King sits down with Ric Stewart to discuss his brand of New Orleans blues. The native of McComb, MS is a cousin of Lightning Hopkins who migrated to the crescent city at age 14. After working dockside to pay the bills, LFK cut some highly prized blues recordings over 40 years ago and has continued with a healthy slate of shows and albums over the last decade.