Brownsville will be celebrating the blues Saturday, July 19, when one of West Tennessee's most noted music historians and bluesman takes the stage at the Delta Heritage Center. Dr. David Evans, known as the "doctor of the Blues," will perform live on the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home.
Joining Evans will be Zeke Johnson and Brownsville's own Alina Woods during the summer music series "Concert on the Porch" beginning at 7 p.m.
Evans has been performing country blues since 1962, having learned directly from many of the old southern blues musicians. One of those musicians was Brownsville bluesman Hammie Nixon. Evans toured with Nixon for five years. He is currently Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Memphis and is a specialist in American folk music, particularly the blues. In 2003, Evans won a Grammy Award for "Best Album Notes." He performs in Europe and South America, and can also be seen performing across the Mid-south with the Last Chance Jug Band.
"We're excited to have Dr. Evans back on the porch," says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. "It's magical to listen to him sitting on Sleepy's porch and singing some of the same songs that Sleepy would have performed."
Zeke Johnson began his musical career in 1963. Soon after, he was fortunate to meet the legendary Furry Lewis. With Lewis, Fred McDowell and Booker White as mentors, Johnson began to develop his musical skills and style. Fifty years later, he still performs around West Tennessee and has performed at the Gaslight in New York. His original Guild D-40 guitar has been played by a variety of music greats including Sleepy John Estes and Jessie Mae Hemphill and Johnson still performs using that same guitar.
Joining the bluesmen is 17-year-old Alina Woods. Woods began singing in the fifth grade and most recently placed in the top three in the local Haywood's Got Talent competition. She has won awards for song leading and dance. She describes her music style as a cross between pop and country with Blues undertones. Woods has performed many times on the Porch, including Exit 56 Blues Fest and Tina Turner Heritage Days.
Bleacher seating is available or bring lawn chairs for the outdoor concert. Concessions will be available on site. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.