Friday, June 20, 2014

Newly-Formed Blues Society presents first concert July 12

A group of  West Tennessee blues enthusiasts are making an effort to preserve the "West Tennessee Blues" with the recently formed West Tennessee Blues Society (WTBS). The group will present its first concert, July 12, at Twin Oaks Estate in Humboldt. The outdoor event, which begins at 7:30 p.m.,  will include a core group of member musicians performing as the West Tennessee Blues Jam Band followed by headliner Little Boys Blue.
"There are Blues societies in Memphis and Nashville," says WTBS president Elam McKnight, of Trenton, "but in between is a bit overlooked. We hope to bring awareness of the rich historical significance of blues in this area, as well as promote the bands and performers who are keeping the heritage alive."
The new group says this is an opportunity to pull together like-minded people from across the region and form a closer-knit community of supporters who love the music and want to help preserve its history. McKnight also stated that as the society grows, it plans to incorporate music history programs in the schools.
The society plans to reach out to each county, looking for meet and greet locations to host a jam session and other ways to help promote the Blues in that community. "We'll also be partnering with local folks to present concerts on occasion, such as what we'll be doing at Twin Oaks in Humboldt."

Well-known Jackson group, Little Boys Blue, will perform during this inaugural concert. The band just released a new CD that includes nine original songs. The event will also serve as a release party for the group in the Humboldt area. The band members are Jimmy D. Taylor (lead vocals and harmonica), Steve Patterson (lead and slide guitar), Dave Mallard (bass guitar), Alex Taylor (rhythm and lead guitar), Dave Thomas (keyboards) and Mark Brooks (drums).
Twin Oaks is an antebellum home built circa 1853 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's name comes from the 300+ year old White Oak trees on the property. Located at 2227 East Main Street in Humboldt, the large trees will serve as shade for the evening concert. Ticket cost is $10 per person. Concessions will be on site provided by Silla's Spoon Cafe. Concert goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

For more information about the concert or the WTBS, contact McKnight at 731-487-8623. Tickets are available at Silla's Spoon Cafe in Humboldt, Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville or any WTBS member.

Bell receives Emerging Leader Award

Pictured with Bell (center) is Evelyn C. Robertson Jr., of Hardeman County and a member of the WestStar class of 1997, and Carolyn Flagg, a resident of Haywood County, conference committee member and member of the WestStar class of 2008.

The African-American Leadership Conference, held April 22, 2014 in Jackson, presented its Emerging Leader Award to Gem Bell, a supervisor for the Tekor Apex Tennessee Company, Brownsville, and a 2013 WestStar graduate. 

Bell currently serves as chairman of the Boys and Girls Club of Brownsville. He also serves on the board of directors for the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, Haywood County Leadership, the library, the Boys and Girls Club of Jackson, First State Bank and Southwest Workforce Investment Act. Bell was also the recipient of the Jonathan Fain Award, which was given by Haywood Company for having the ability to cut costs in certain areas. 

The award criteria notes that the nominee has made a positive impact in his city/county during the past year, has a strong record of leadership during the past five years in West Tennessee, has been an active participant in the African-American leadership conferences and embraces the importance of and provides effective leadership to the concept and practice of regionalism in West Tennessee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Boys Blue releases newest CD "Bad Love"

Little Boys Blue will release their newest CD "Bad Love" at a special Release Party Saturday, June 28, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. Members of the band include (from left) Alex Taylor, Jimmy Taylor, Mark Brooks. Steve Patterson, Dave Thomas and Dave Mallard.
The Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn., will host a special CD Release Party in honor of West Tennessee Blues band Little Boys Blue and their latest CD entitled "Bad Love" Saturday, June 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Brownsville native Jimmy D. Taylor is the lead vocal and harmonica player for the band. The CD was recorded in Jackson at Jaxon Records.
The community is invited to attend, meet the members of the band and hear them perform an acoustic set of featured songs on the CD, including nine original songs. Band members include Taylor,  his son, Alex (rhythm and lead guitar), Steve Patterson (lead and slide guitar), Mark Brooks (drums), Dave Mallard (bass guitar) and Dave Thomas (keyboards).
Little Boys Blue was formed in 1993 by Taylor and Patterson. They have two previous CD releases on the SleepyVille Blues label. The group has entrenched themselves in a mixture of eclectic, acoustic country blues and Americana roots music; citing influences from Sleepy John Estes and R.L. Burnside to Muddy Waters and The Allman Brothers.
Little Boys Blue has toured the country over the years playing major blues festivals like King Biscuit in Helena, Ark., and  Sunflower Blues Festival in Clarksdale, Miss. Most recently they headlined the Exit 56 Blues Fest in Brownsville.
CDs will be available for purchase and signing.