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Country Blues Festival

Join us for the Country Blues Festival!

Line Up: 

Blue Mother Tupelo

Rising up from the dusty Delta lowlands and muddy bayou banks of Indianola, Mississippi through the bluffs of Memphis to the mountains of east Tennessee, comes the unique Southern Soul sound of Blue Mother Tupelo. Paste Magazine wrote, "Blue Mother Tupelo is quite possibly the best husband and wife duo you've never heard of. Micol and Ricky Davis play swampy, gospel-tinged southern soul-blues. Micol displays the full-bodied vocal fire of Janis Joplin, while she rattles and slaps her tambourine with the ecstasy and know-how of a black gospel choir member. Ricky plays muscular, stabbing figures on acoustic guitar and dobro, and the two join in close, soul-searing harmonies like only intimate kin can; a heady blend of otherworldly longing and thisworldly passion, bodies swaying and tambourines shaken emphatically." BMT's dreamy rendition of the Paul Anka classic, "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" was included on the big screen in the closing scene of the movie, "Daltry Calhoun" (Miramax Films). Their critically and fan acclaimed album of original songs, "Heaven & Earth" made waves across Americana radio worldwide, debuting at #2 behind Kris Kristofferson on the EuroAmericana Chart and hitting the Top 40 on Americana radio in the USA, and remained in the Top 40 of Roots Music Report's "Roots Rock" Chart for a year. Ricky, Micol & Katie Armiger co-wrote the song, "Playin' With Fire" recorded by Katie Armiger, that reached the Top 50 on the U.S. Country Airplay Chart and remained there for weeks. Blue Mother Tupelo's newest album "Only Sunshine" released in 2014, featuring 10 original songs including co-writes with the award-winning and highly-regarded Kim Richey, Will Kimbrough & Ryan Tyndell; was announced by Something Else Reviews "Best of 2014 (Non-Jazz)" (alongside new albums by Lucinda Williams, Jack White, Seth Walker, Mingo Fishtrap, Me-Shell Ndegeocello and the Drive-By Truckers). BMT has shared the studio, shows and the stage with many well-known, well-respected, wonderfully-gifted recording and touring artists. BMT's new-upcoming album will be released Spring 2017. Ricky & Micol have an insatiable ingrained heartfelt passion for traversing the purest depths and heights of music and BMT is just getting started! Blue Mother Tupelo is American music that will pull you in, to stomp and sway all night long.

Reverend John Wilkins

Though born in Memphis, Tennessee, Reverend John Wilkins is a child of the North Mississippi Hill Country. His mother was born in Holly Springs and his father was from Hernando. While Wilkins grew up in the city, family parties and neighborhood picnics featuring country blues, and fife & drum bands were never farther than a short drive over the Mississippi state line.

John Wilkins' father, the venerated blues and gospel singer Robert Wilkins, was the principal influence on his young son's development as a musician. Wilkins' father had made a series of recordings in the 1930s that included the original "Prodigal Son" (initially recorded as a secular song called "That's No Way To Get Along"), which was later recorded by the Rolling Stones. The elder Wilkins developed a gospel style that was based on his earlier country blues style - a style that developed into the rock 'n' roll sound that Memphis, and then the world, would later claim as it's own.When the young John Wilkins was learning to play guitar, he picked up his father's gospel and country blues styles.

He also absorbed the citified soulful sounds that were being pioneered by local musicians and recorded by legendary Memphis labels like Sun, Stax and Hi. As he approached adulthood in the 1960s, John Wilkins could be found playing in church, at parties, and at clubs. Like his father before him, Wilkins walked a similar musical line between the sacred and secular. He played guitar on O.V. Wright's famous 1965 single "You're Gonna Make Me Cry" and later in the early 1970s recorded as a member of the M & N Gospel Singers for Style Wooten's Designer Records.

In the early 1980's, Wilkins life came full circle when he followed his father's call to ministry. He became pastor of Hunter's Chapel Church and ever since, Wilkins has led a congregation that includes generations of Tate county locals, as well as the late fife players Othar Turner and Napolian Strickland and their families, and numerous other regional parishioners and North Mississippi musicians.

In earlier times, legendary Hill Country bluesman Fred McDowell and his wife Annie Mae were members of Hunter's Chapel congregation. It was they who, in the mid 1960s first introduced the Hunter's Chapel Singers to the world on the outstanding album called Amazing Grace for Testament Records. "You Can't Hurry God" is Reverend John Wilkins' debut full-length album. In it he showcases an individual sound that is regional and universal. This recording is a culmination of a lifetime spent learning from, and ministering to some of the luminaries of North Mississippi and Memphis. And, this sound can have only been made by a child of the North Mississippi Hill Country.

Earlier Event: September 15
Jonathan Blanchard
Later Event: September 17
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