LINDEN, Texas — Linden’s music-loving community would like to see the return of the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest. For several years, that festival honored a native son, whose brilliant guitar skills helped shaped the electric blues sound.
To that end, T-Bone Walker Day on Saturday, Oct. 19, will feature the live blues tunes of Whitey Johnson at Music City Texas. The fundraiser will add to seed money meant to restart the festival in Linden, where it was held for eight years before moving elsewhere and then dissolving.
“This is the second year in a row for the T-Bone Walker Day,” said David Hulme, the MCT executive director, noting this event has the blessing of Walker’s daughter, Bernita.
The festival itself was staged in Linden from 2006 to 2013, offering a variety of blues acts both indoors and outdoors at MCT, including such musicians as Johnny Winter, Keb’ Mo’, Zac Harmon, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Emily Elbert, Delbert McClinton, Bobbie Oliver, Marcia Ball, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and many, many others.
“The purpose of the T-Bone Walker Day is to establish funds to go ahead and start doing the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival, which is a much bigger show than the Day,” Hulme said. Regional and national acts performed at the festival.
Whitey Johnson performed at the festival, too. Real name Gary Nicholson, he’s a Commerce-born, two-time Grammy-winning producer and a member of the Texas Heritage Songwriter’s Association Hall of Fame.
“He’s a fantastic songwriter as well as a picker and singer,” Hulme said, noting he’s one of the venue’s favorites for blues shows. “We always try to include him.”
Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker, who was born in Linden and then grew up in Dallas, where he began performing, inspired the likes of B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix. His most illustrious song is “Stormy Monday,” which has been covered by many a musician. He’s a member of both the Blues Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hulme says he anticipates Johnson will perform that “Stormy Monday” song at T-Bone Walker Day, calling it “one of the most iconic songs that T-Bone ever did.” Other blues standards should also be on the set list.
Hulme said prior to the concert, people can get a taste of Linden downtown. Taste of the Town will serve samples from Linden eateries between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on North Main Street.
“It’s going to be a fun-packed day with stuff to do around town and then come out to the theater and see the show,” Hulme said, noting Johnson puts on a good show and Walker is a blues musician that Linden likes to celebrate.
“We like to show people exactly what the old blues used to be because we’ve had some blues artists that are true blues artists,” Hulme said.
Tickets: $40 general admission. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Call ahead for a table if there’s six or more to a party. More info and tickets: Call 903-756-9934 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit Music City Texas.