Shades of the blues

No matter what kind of blues you’ve got, there’s a style of blues for it.
Six blues bands are gathering in West Point this weekend to share their unique take on the genre, as well as honor legendary bluesman Howlin’ Wolf.
From Canadian Grammy-nominated producer and musician Colin Linden to Mississippi native Big Joe Shelton to the one-man band of Bill Abel, Friday will be packed with different shades of the blues.

Get the blues
Each of the performers at this year’s festival will bring their own take of the blues to West Point.
Richard Ramsey, program director, said he’s especially excited to hear what Colin Linden brings to the stage at this year’s festival.
“He’s of the ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ fame,” Ramsey said. “He did some work on that soundtrack.”
Linden was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the album “A Tribute to Howlin’ Wolf,” and he’s also received seven Juno Awards, known to many as a Canadian version of the Grammys.
The festival is also in tribute to blues musician Willie King, who passed away earlier this year.
“They’ll be doing a lot of Wilie’s songs, and some of his favorite Wolf songs,” said Ramsey, who will also speak about his friend King. “He did Wolf like nobody else; that’s why he played the blues like nobody else.”
There’s more than music happening this weekend.
“It’s in conjunction with the Prairie Arts Festival this weekend, and we have the new blues marker up and the (Howlin’ Wolf) museum will be open, too,” Ramsey said.
The festival pulls in folks from across the nation to Northeast Mississippi, he said.
“We’ve got people coming in from Texas, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida,” he said. “We’re bringing in a lot of people out of state to the state which is the birthplace of American music.”
The festival is a must for blues fans, Ramsey said.
“To be able to hear an evening of blues acts, with hardly a gap between them,” Ramsey said, “it gets no better than this.”

Click here for more on the Howlin’ Wolf Festival.

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal