Published on March 30th, 2015 | by TLV News


Blues Today Symposium – April 9 on University of Mississippi campus

Date: 4/9/2015

Time: All-day event

Location: Ole Miss Campus

Open to the Public


The theme of the Blues Today Symoposium is “North Mississippi Hill Country Blues,” focusing on the region’s distinctive blues sound.

Since 2003, Living Blues magazine has sponsored the Blues Today Symposium each spring on the University of Mississippi campus. The Symposium has featured such keynote speakers as Paul Oliver, Samuel Charters, and Bill Ferris as well as intimate musical performances by Honeyboy Edwards, Little Milton, and B.B. King.

The 2015 Blues Today Symposium will be Thursday, April 9, 2015 at the University of Mississippi. The program’s theme, “North Mississippi Hill Country Blues,” will focus on the region’s distinctive blues sound and culture.

David Evans, director of the ethnomusicology/regional studies doctoral program of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, will deliver the keynote address. Evans is a specialist in American folk and popular music, particularly blues, spirituals, gospel, and African American folk music. He is the author of Tommy Johnson (1971), Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in the Folk Blues (1982) and The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to the Blues (2005). Evans has also produced more than 30 albums and CDs of field and studio recordings of music for the University of Memphis’s High Water Records. In 2003 he won a Grammy Award for “Best Album Notes.”

George W. K. Dor, holder of the McDonnell-Barksdale Chair of Ethnomusicology and associate professor of music at the University of Mississippi, will lead a discussion on drums in the North Mississippi region. The University Press of Mississippi published Dor’s most recent book, West African Drumming and Dance in North American Universities: An Ethnomusicological Perspective, in 2014.

Additionally, filmmakers Joe York and Scott Barretta will preview portions of their upcoming documentary feature film on Como, Mississippi’s legendary blues artist Fred McDowell. The duo will also discuss the process of documentary filmmaking. Earlier, Greg Johnson, curator for the Blues Archive in the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi, will highlight holdings in the archive, featuring numerous North Mississippi blues musicians.

The symposium coincides with Clarksdale, Mississippi’s annual Juke Joint Festival (April 10­–12) providing attendees an opportunity to see and hear dozens of musicians from the region.

Sponsored by: Living Blues Magazine and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

All presentations except for Thacker Mountain Radio will occur in the Faulkner Room of the Department of Archives and Special Collections on the third floor of the J. D. Williams Library.

For more information, visit


9 am – “Archiving the North Mississippi Blues” (Greg Johnson)

10 am – Study the South paper presentation: “The Lynching Blues: Robert Johnson’s ‘Hellhound on My Trail’ as Anti-Lynching Performance” (Karlos K. Hill)

11 am – “Exploring Africanisms in Otha Tuner’s Fife and Band Music as Recorded by Alan Lomax” (George W. K. Dor)

12 pm – Lunch on your own

1 pm – Keynote Lecture (David Evans)

2:15 pm – A Conversation with Malaco Recording Artist Sam Mosely

3 pm – “Documenting the Life of Mississippi Fred McDowell” – Discussion and Preview with Filmmakers (Joe York and Scott Barretta) 

4 pm – “Contemporary Hill Country Blues Culture” (Alice Pierotti

6 pm – Thacker Mountain Radio program The Local Voice Ligature

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑