The Blues Is Heart And Soul

I had to go to Mississippi to find some answers to my questions about our history and culture. The things they don’t teach us in American history classes. What are the stories behind the music?

I first travelled to Mississippi in 1997. I heard RL Burnside, Honey Boy Edwards and Bobby Rush. I met Otha Turner and his family. I joined in the celebration at the annual Otha Turner fife and drum picnic. I spent time with Annie Eggerson. Howlin’ Wolf and Hubert Sumlin stayed in Annie’s home when they came down from Chicago to visit and play. I felt so lucky, and I’ve been returning to Mississippi every since.

As I became friendly with many of the musicians I listened to their stories. I learned about their childhood, education and churches. I learned about segregation, discrimination, hardship, pride and determination. I learned about each individual’s experiences as a musician and their early influences, the joy that music brought to these musicians and their community.

Each story was compelling and I became committed to recording as many stories as I could. With these photographs and oral histories, I hope to tell the story of the people who made, and continue to make, the blues. 


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