Call and Response Symposium Interviews the Blues on Malco Theater stage — Two FREE Sessions Oct. 7th at 10:45am and noon
(Helena, AK) – The public is invited to an event that has become a colorful high point of the King Biscuit Blues Festival. The symposium on Saturday, October 7 at the historic Malco Theatre on Cherry Street (three blocks from the main stage) features two hour-long panels of artists steeped in the rich Delta blues traditions that have made King Biscuit the pride of the south.
Blues documentarian Roger Stolle hosts the first hour from 10:45am to 11:45am, while veteran blues journalist Don Wilcock hosts the second hour from 12:00pm-1:00pm.
10:45am-11:45am: Here’s who you’ll get to welcome home in the first part of the symposium:
Robert “Bilbo” Walker:At 80 years old, Clarksdale bluesman Robert “Bilbo” Walker might be tempted to rest on his laurels. Instead, the recording artist and star of documentaries like M for Mississippi continues to tour the world (including Brazil, The Netherlands and Israel in the last three years) and play juke joints throughout the Delta, wearing his signature wig and colorful suits. Most recently, he opened his own rural Mississippi juke joint – Wonder Light City – covered by CNN and NPR earlier this year. Jimmy “Duck” Holmes:Owner of Mississippi’s oldest juke joint (Blue Front Café in Bentonia), 70-year-old Jimmy “Duck” Holmes plays a mix of traditional, haunting “Bentonia blues” and his own take on the Delta blues he also heard growing up.
Libby Rae Watson: Her friends and mentors included Big Joe Williams, Sam Chatmon, and other early icons of the genre. Her mix of classics learned first-hand and new original songs won her a spot in the International Blues Challenge where she made the semi-finals and a new generation of blues friends. Lucious Spiller:Born in Missouri and raised in Arkansas, 50-something Lucious Spiller moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi, last year. A regular at Clarksdale venues like Red’s Lounge and Ground Zero Blues Club, he often merges with the “fruits” of the genre – including rock, funk, soul and gospel influences. Roger Stolle (moderator):Roger Stolle owns Cat Head aka “Mississippi’s Blues Store” (www.cathead.biz) in Clarksdale, which recently celebrated 15 years. He is a Blues Music Magazine columnist, Juke Joint Festival co-founder, Hidden History of Mississippi Blues author, and co-producer of documentary projects like M for Mississippi and Moonshine & Mojo Hands. He is a recipient of “Keeping The Blues Alive” and “Blues Music” awards. He’ll hold his annual Cat Head Mini Blues Fest III on Sunday, Oct. 8th.
12:00pm-1:00pm: Help celebrate the homecoming of Anson and his friends:
Anson Funderburgh:The only artist to have appeared at all 32 years of The Biscuit, this Texas jump blues guitarist is this year’s honoree at The Biscuit’s Warm-up Wednesday. He will perform with his own band, The Rockets, on Friday and with Andy T. on Saturday night. Guitar Player Magazine says: “None of the younger crop of blues guitarists come as close as Anson does to achieving the classic Stratocaster tone defined by Otis Rush in the ’50s and Magic Sam in the ’60s.” Funderburgh refers to his annual visits to King Biscuit as “old home week” with long ties to The Biscuit and the region’s rich blues heritage.
Larry McCray:He was born in Arkansas, put grits in his guitar in Detroit and recorded The Gibson Sessions in 2015 with guests Derek Trucks, Dickey Betts, David Hidalgo, and Jimmy Herring. This winner of the Sunshine Sonny Payne Award for Blues Excellence has jammed with virtually every other headliner on Saturday’s main stage lineup. Veronika Jackson:This folk blues artist from Atlanta performs classic songs by Odetta, Nina Simone, and Elizabeth Cotton with a reverent velvety voice. Accompanying herself on acoustic Piedmont style guitar, she also does original material rich in its references to the joys and struggles of contemporary life as a blues woman. Sterling Billingsley: A veteran blues guitarist who fronts his own band while also booking the talent at the festival in his capacity as Music Chairman of the King Biscuit Blues Festival. If you want to know how the magic happens, Sterling is your guy. Don Wilcock (moderator): Don Wilcock has been actively involved with the King Biscuit Blues Festival since 1995, first as a writer and managing editor of King Biscuit Time Magazine until its demise in 2004. A seasoned journalist, he began his career in 1969 writing the weekly “Sounds from the World” music column in the largest official Army newspaper in the world, The Army Reporter. He is the author of Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, the authorized biography of six-time Grammy-winning blues artist Buddy Guy. He is also a recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping The Blues Alive in Print Journalism” award and is one of the most prolific blues journalists in the world, currently writing for six music publications with a backlog of more than 5000 interviews.