Musselwhite talks Southern roots, blues history in Clarksdale
CLARKSDALE - An account of Charlie Musselwhite's entry into the Chicago
blues scene while driving an exterminator truck is just one of the stories
this international superstar will be spinning during the Sunflower River
Blues and Gospel Festival's special educational program Sunday, Aug. 14.
Although crowds will be packing Blues Alley for the harmonica master and his
band as Saturday night's festival finale Aug. 13, he'll be featured also in
an informal round table, interview, discussion, and question and answer
session at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Delta Blues Museum.
"This is a huge bonus for our 18th free festival, and a chance for fans to
say hello, up close and personal," comments John Sherman, co-chairman.
"Charlie will be talking about his Southern roots that have grown beyond
boundaries to a global audience and recordings with the Blind Boys of
Alabama, Cuban and Norwegian musicians" he continues.
Sherman says he'll be talking about his close friendships with Clarksdale
natives Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, best man when he and Henrietta
were married in an Irish pub in San Francisco.
"It's a safe bet Southern soul food will be mentioned too," says Sherman
adding that Henrietta Musselwhite and Charlie's manager Charles Driebe also
will participate in the round table discussion.
The interview is free and open to the public thanks to grants to the
Sunflower by the Southern Arts Federation and National Endowment for the
Arts and a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission to the Blues Museum.
"We are honored that Charlie will be sharing his blues history with us. He
is a great friend and supporter of the Delta Blues Museum," said Shelley
The museum also is sponsoring one of the Sunflower's divas in a special
workshop: Geneva Red's Hohner's Harmonica Workshop at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug.
"Double Date: Divas and Musselwhite" is theme for Clarksdale's festival Aug.
Quintessential bluesmen David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Jelly Roll King drummer
Sam Carr followed by charismatic James "Super Chikan" Johnson will rule the
Saturday night stage following Farmer John and Kenny Brown.
Acoustic blues will resonate Saturday morning on the Othar Turner Acoustic
Stage inside Clarksdale Station, the historic passenger depot, with Pat
Thomas, Arthneice Jones, Robert Belfor, and others.
Fife princess Shardee Turner, who learned her craft from her granddaddy
Othar, will lead the Rising Star Fife and Drum Corps' procession into the
station and later to the electric Blues Alley main stage, and another
acoustic stage on Delta Ave.
Gospel greats will raise the roof of the air-conditioned City Auditorium
from 12:30 p.m. til 6 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
When the lights dim on the Blues Alley stage, live late night music
continues in Clarksdale's blues clubs and juke joints including the Blue
Room, Sarah's Kitchen, and Red's on Sunflower; C.W.'s on Tallahatchie;
Ground Zero and the Millennium on Delta Ave; Club 2000 on Yazoo, and others.
For a complete lineup click here
Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite, who is headlining Clarksdale's 18th
Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, is performing this week in Norway
at Clarksdale's sister city festival, the 18th International Notodden
Festival, with legendary fiddle player Knut Buen, who has played for popes
(photos by Knut Slettemo)
Pictured with Charlie and Knut also are two other Norwegian musicians,
Morten Omlid, and Rita Engedalen, who have performed at past Sunflower
Festivals in Clarksdale. Engedalen, has recorded her composition, "Sister
Cities," in a tribute to the two cities.
(photos by Knut Slettemo)