Petticoat Junkies to open for Mountain Goats by The Printz Local country-rock group The Petticoat Junkies will be opening for indie rock band The Mountain Goats. The group will open on the Austin, Dallas, and New Orleans dates of The Mountain Goats' "The...
The Blues are Alive and Well by The Delta Democrat Times By ELEANOR BARKHORN email@example.com
LELAND - At first glance, Saturday's Highway 61 Blues Festival looks like a funeral for the blues. This year's festival is dedicated to David "Honeyboy" Edwards, a Delta native who won a Grammy for an album called "The Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas." This title seems to declare the demise of the Delta's signature sound.
But on closer inspection, the list of musicians sharing the stage with Edwards at the festival proves that the blues is alive and well.
We have 24 acts on two stages from three generations of Delta blues artists," said Billy Johnson, organizer of the festival, which is now in its ninth year.
Despite Edwards' suggestion that blues is on its last legs, Johnson believes that circumstances in modern-day America make now the perfect time to be a young blues musician.
First, today's fledgling bluesmen and women can use computers and the Internet to quickly and easily record and distribute their music. In contrast, musicians like Edwards, who came of age in the 1930's, were at the mercy of financially unstable record companies.
Back in their day, during the Depression, all the record companies went broke," said Johnson. "They had to wait seven or eight years before they could record music."
Furthermore, today's generic chain stores and shallow pop music have left Americans craving authenticity like never before, according to Johnson. Blues musicians can fulfill this craving, said Johnson, because "they are the real deal."
He pointed to the success of blues-heavy movie soundtracks like O Brother Where Art Thou and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood as proof that Americans still love the blues.
Stephen Scott, 23, a member of the Petticoat Junkies, one of the "third-generation" bands on schedule to play on Saturday, agreed with Johnson's assessment of the blues' enduring appeal.
The best blues singers sing realistically about what they know," said Scott.
He added that for the blues to survive long after artists like Edwards have hung up their guitars, "We need to get back to that realism."
The Delta is the ideal place to celebrate the authenticity of the blues, according to Johnson.
We're not a generic place," said Johnson. "That's why people come to the Delta: for the realness of it."
Last year, visitors from 27 states and 13 countries flocked to Leland for the Highway 61 Festival. Johnson expects a similar crowd to celebrate the Delta and its quintessential art form at this year's event.
Petticoat Junkies to open for Mountain Goats by The Printz Local country-rock group The Petticoat Junkies will be opening for indie rock band The Mountain Goats.
The group will open on the Austin, Dallas, and New Orleans dates of The Mountain Goats' "The Last Happy Night Of Your Life" tour with solo guitarist Kaki King. It was through the concert marketplace section on music networking site www.ourstage.com that the band got the opening spot. "Our guitarist [Stephen Scott] applied for this high-profile gig opening for The Mountain Goats and Kaki King," said Petticoat Junkies singer/guitarist Brian Nobles. "Somehow in the way he does, he got somebody's number and made phone calls and sent e-mails and we landed it."
Since forming nine months ago, Petticoat Junkies have become a fixture of the Hattiesburg music scene. The idea of forming a country group was conceived by Nobles while living in Austin, Texas, two years ago. When he moved to Hattiesburg, he began working at Clan of the Red Claw tattoo parlor and put his musical aspirations on hold. After running into Stephen Scott, the guitarist expressed interest in playing in a country group. Bassist Cody Ruth and drummer Davis Townsend signed on shortly after.
Existing originally as an outlet for the home recordings of songwriter John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats have since evolved into a full-fledged band. While Darnielle remains the group's only constant member, the group's music has changed considerably since switching from boombox recordings to professional studio recordings in 2002. This year's Heretic Pride is the band's ninth full-length album, in addition to dozens of EPs, cassettes, and singles
The trio of shows with The Mountain Goats will be one of The Petticoat Junkies' many high-profile opening gigs this year. Through bassist Ruth's connections, the group scored a show opening for blues legend B.B. King in Greenville. "It was a totally different crowd, but I think we stood our own," said Nobles. "It's been really cool, because older and younger people really like us.
Blues people like us, country people like us, rock 'n' roll kids like us, and that's what I wanted when I started this thing."
Fans of The Petticoat Junkies can expect a full-length album around the beginning of next year. The band has been testing out new material live, including a song unveiled at their show in Mobile last Friday. For next summer, the group plans to embark on a west coast tour. If they can establish some industry buzz and contacts, an east coast tour will follow later in the year.
The Petticoat Junkies will play at The Republic in New Orleans with The Mountain Goats and Kaki King on November 3rd. Tickets are on sale now and cost $16. The band will play a special Halloween show with Dark Knights of Camelot at The Thirsty Hippo this Friday.
King Returns to Indiana by The Delta Democrat Times By ELEANOR BARKHORN firstname.lastname@example.org
Mickey Rogers had plans to play a blues festival in California this weekend. Then his old friend B.B. King asked if he wanted to share the stage at Friday's B.B. King Homecoming Festival in Indianola. Rogers cancelled the trip to California.
I'm really happy to be doing it," said Rogers, a 63-year-old blues veteran who has already performed with King more than 10 times.
Though Rogers may be the sole performer at this year's festival with a personal relationship with King, he is not the only one who jumped at the chance to be on the bill with the blues legend. The rest of Friday's lineup includes younger musicians eager to play at the same event as one of their idols.
I was really excited, and as soon as I told everyone else in the band, they were really excited," said Greenville native Cody Ruth, 22, bassist for the Petticoat Junkies, a blues-inspired alternative rock band that will open Friday's concert.
The festival's organizers invited Ruth and his band, which is made up of three University of Southern Mississippi students and a tatoo artist, because King wanted to include more young acts in the Homecoming.
We consider ourselves really, really fortunate to be playing with [King] when he's still playing," said Stephen Scott, 23, the band's lead guitarist, who has seen King live five times.
There's not a whole lot of those guys left who are still really playing," added Scott.
But the iconic King is not the only act drawing Scott to Friday's festival. Scott is also anxious to see a group that may take the blues into its next generation: Homemade Jamz'. This award-winning, Tupelo-based band is composed of three siblings, all under the age of seventeen.
I'm really looking forward to seeing a group like that grow up and make the blues their own," said Scott.
The members of Homemade Jamz' share in the excitement expressed by the festival's other performers.
We are happy to play on the same stage as B.B. King. We're hoping to talk to him, take some pictures with him," said Ryan Perry, the band's sixteen-year-old lead guitarist and vocalist.
Homemade Jamz' had planned to play last year's festival with King, but were unable to reschedule after the Homecoming date was postponed by a week.
And King himself, who played his first homecoming concert in 1978 in the middle of a cotton field, is also looking forward to this year's celebration of the past and future of blues music.
It's always special to come home to the Delta and see all my family and friends. I look forward to this all year long," King said through his manager on Wednesday.