Although COVID-19 took a bite from the Sunflower River Blues Festival’s usual m–house crowd attending its Thanksgiving Eve fundraiser at Ground Zero Blues Club, its extraordinary lineup of talented musicians attracted an amazing international audience.
With Lucious Spiller opening the stage, the music just got better and better.
Actually PRESS REGISTER editor Floyd Ingram was coerced into opening the stage since Sunflower chiefs Melvita Tillis Presley and John Sherman were running late.
And a bit later he was joined his wife, Sarah from West Point.
Afterward rich accolades were pronounced for the late Ground Zero founder Bill Luckett, a master of the most ebullient Southern welcomes ever delivered from that stage.
With informal prizes being showered on visitors, the hands down winners for traveling the longest distance were a couple from Russia and their delightful two-year-old daughter who shared on-stage antics with Lucious Spiller.
Here’s a stab at their identities transposed on my note pad: Ekaterina and Mekhail Dranga and their daughter, Michelle.
Runners up were three visitors from Milan, Italy.
With Mule Man Massey taking the stage singing “Don’t Put Plastic Flowers on my Grave,” and memories of the Parchman Prison Band, he was followed by Mississippi Marshall, his 16-year-old grandson on bass and drummer extraordinaire Lee Williams, who accompanied multiple musicians.
Although James “Super Chikan” Johnson and “LaLa” are veteran hometown favorites, they continually diversify their shows, with new antics, and new instruments – the latest being a “rooster” flashing” multiple lights off and on and new lyrics featuring cotton field memories.
All seven of the musicians performing in the Thanksgiving Eve concert including Big A Sherrod and Big T Williams will be featured on the main stage of the 34th annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival scheduled August 12-14, 2022. The event is free and open to the public.
Winners of guests who traveled the greatest distance: Ekaterina Smykalova and her 2-year-old daughter Michelle, from Russia performing antics on stage with Lucious Spiller
Mississippi Marshall performing with his 16-year-old grandson on bass
Keyboard artist LaLa performing with Super Chikan Johnson.
Lucious Spiller (in his signature red bandana)
Muleman Massey outlawing “plastic flowers on his grave,”
The Tillis sisters: Melvita (at right) Sunflower chairman; and Laura, her festival announcer sister.