If you don’t happen to be
attending the IBC’s in Memphis, famed music historian, writer, educator and
blues sleuth Gayle Dean Wardlow will be in Meridian, Mississippi Saturday
Feb 1, 2pm at the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience as part of
their Black History Month celebration …
(MERIDIAN, MS) – Music historian, educator and “blues
detective” Gayle Dean Wardlow is returning to Meridian this week to
talk about how his childhood hobby turned into a career of passion.
Wardlow is a renowned
authority on Mississippi blues music with more than 1,000 records in his
personal collection. Since 1960, Wardlow has been busy collecting records
and investigating blues musicians to bring their lives and music to the
“He will present a
lecture on pre-war Blues and other forms of Mississippi music. His presentation
highlights African American musicians and includes a demonstration of some of
the recordings in his collection. Wardlow and Scott Stone will also perform a
short concert on guitar and Dobro,” said Jerome Trahan, director of
marketing for the MAX. “The Church Gallery exhibit is reminiscent of
an old country church, which is just one of the communities that have
influenced many Mississippians and their musical impact on the world.”
“Exploring the roots of
this form of music and helping to preserve it, he knew early on that it was
important to document this art form and was a true visionary. Wardlow made it
his life’s mission to preserve the blues,” Trahan added.
During the Civil Rights era,
Wardlow would go door-to-door, recording oral histories, anecdotes, songs and
remembrances about blues musicians.
“I considered myself a
blues detective. I spent a year-and-a-half just knocking on doors in black
neighborhoods in Meridian,” Wardlow recalled. “I thought the music should
be documented and I was one of the first to write about blues musicians.”
“I was just trying to
save blues music and information about these guys,” said Wardlow.
Wardlow was able to produce
dozens of articles and books, such as Chasin’ That Devil Music:
Searching for the Blues, which was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
On Saturday, Wardlow will
perform with his longtime friend, Scott Stone.
Stone says he is looking
forward to the performance, and perhaps even more so, for the community to
learn more about Wardlow and what he’s accomplished.
“He’s probably one of
the world’s foremost authorities on the blues. Anyone interested in the history
of music in Mississippi should be there to hear,” Stone said.