CLEVELAND, MS – Blues movers-and-shakers from around the world were in Memphis the first week in May for the Blues Music Awards and the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. At the conclusion the BFG decided to end the week with a visit to the new Grammy Museum in Cleveland, MS. On Saturday, May 7, The Blues Festival Guide organized a private tour that not only included the BFG staff but also musicians, promoters and various industry people. The attendees included: Legendary Bluesman Bobby Rush; Mizz Lowe, Bobby Rush’s dancer; Al and Lydia White, Grassroots Blues Festival; Bluesman Little Willie Farmer; Amanda Gresham, Delta Music Experience; Harty Wiedemann, Blues Pro Talent; Markey Blue and Ric Latina from the Markey Blue Band; Jonnye Weber, President of the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania; Lisa Mann, 2016 BMA winner for “Instrumentalist-Bass” and Allen Markel, Lisa’s husband and guitar player; Teeny Tucker, Blues Singer and Educator; Robert Hughes, Teeny’s lead guitarist, Manager, Producer and Photographer and Elaine Hughes, Photographer; Shirley Waring, President, Vicksburg Blues Society and Regina Jenkins who works with Shirley; Terry Duffie, President of Scenic Productions; Tommy McCoy, Bluesman; Peggy Brown, Hit The Road Entertainment; Sophelia Farve, Memphis Blues Society; and the BFG Staff: Kaati Gaffney, Cheryl O’Grady-Yearnshaw and Tom Andrews.
It is the first GRAMMY Museum to be built outside of Los Angeles. The 27,000-square-foot facility which has design elements of a southern home: big front lawn and lobby that is made to feel like a screened front porch, is housed on the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute — Mississippi’s sole accredited music industry studies program.
Blues Festival Guide Sales/Marketing Manager, Cheryl O’Grady-Yearnshaw had contacted Vickie Jackson, the Marketing Director of the museum about the possibility of the tour and she was thrilled to have us so that we would all spread the word to other blues music enthusiasts.
We were greeted by Emily Havens, the Executive Director of the museum in Cleveland, and then treated to a tour led by a museum docent. Blues musician (and official Blues Festival Guide Ambassador), Bobby Rush, gave historical, and often humorous, personal insight and shared his first-hand stories about what it was like to be a musician touring the Chitlin circuit in the South during segregation.
Check out the Blues Festival Guide Facebook page for videos shared from the tour. We encourage everyone to put this tour on their must-do list when visiting Mississippi, and don’t forget to like their Facebook page.
Similar to its sister museum — the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE — GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric display that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape. BFG publisher, Kaati, posed for a photo with Bob Santelli, executive director of the L.A. Grammy Museum who was visiting MS.
Afterwards, we headed over to the Senator’s Place for some southern cooking. Bobby Rush had called his friend, Senator Simmons, down the road at The Senator’s Place, and 21 of us sat down to delicious Southern cuisine including fried catfish and black-eyed peas.