By Sheena Barnett
NEW ALBANY – The blues are in Sam Mosley’s blood.
It’s some of the first music he heard as a child. It’s what he listened to as a teenager. And it’s been the focus of his life since he started his first band in the late 1950s.
“I can’t complain,” Mosley said. “When you’ve been in the business as long as I’ve been in the business and people still want to hear you, it’s all good.”
Mosley’s father and his brothers had a minstrel band from the 1920s to 1940s, and that was his first exposure to music.
The New Albany native fell in love with acoustic blues players like John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed, as well as gospel music.
“I loved to hear the people singing in church, and I watched how certain ones could sing. People just started shouting and jumping around and enjoying it so much. I tried to figure out what they were doing. There was something in the way they sounded,” he said.
Then came electrified blues musicians like B.B. King.
“I was hooked. That’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “Me and my brother started playing. It went from the first band we put together in ’57, ’58. Since then I’ve had a band, one way or another, except for the time I was in the service.”
He worked with his longtime musical partner Bob Johnson, writing for blues artists like Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton and others. The Mosley Johnson Band is still named after Johnson, who died in 1998.
His career spans 50 years, but Mosley still finds audiences hungry for the blues.
He’ll perform at the Link Centre’s Monthly Music Mix concert this weekend.
In a few weeks, he’ll perform at “Beyond the Tracks,” at New Albany High School.
The students there did a documentary on him, and that will be presented at the show. Then Mosley will perform, with some help from the students.
“There’s still adults who want to hear me and hear our group, and then we get in a lot of younger people who are interested in the blues and the history of the blues,” he said. “Young folks, they’ll turn these records over and look at the credits. They know what’s happening with songwriters and musicians.”
Mosley is currently working on a new album, and he’ll tour to support it later in the spring.
“I love every aspect of it. I love getting ready to go to the gig, setting it up, getting everything right, performing and singing. I love all facets of it. I enjoy the crowd that comes out,” he said. “It’s been a fun ride so far, and I plan to keep doing it.”
Sam Mosley and The Mosley Johnson Band has two performances in Northeast Mississippi this week.
• What: Link Centre’s Monthly Music Mix
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Link Centre Reception Hall
• Cost: $10/adults, $5/students
• Info: (662) 690-4011
• What: “Beyond the Tracks: An Evening with Sam Mosley”
• When: 7 p.m. Feb. 27
• Where: New Albany High School Auditorium
• Cost: Free, but donations will be accepted for the new Albany High School project Operation Warm Heart
• Info: (662) 841-6528