Dear Friends

Welcome to the Alabama Blues Project's first new format, web-based newsletter - I hope you like it! There are four chapters, and you can go directly to them by clicking the links below. As usual, there is so much to report I don't know where to begin, so this newsletter is a sampling of the many acitivites and events we have been involved with over the past few months.

1. Recent Events
2. Alabama Arts Radio Series
3. For Your Diary
4. Vera Hall Memorial Fund

Please let us know what you think of the new format.

The Alabama Blues Project is funded by grants and donations from many individuals and organizations, and we are very thankful to each and every one who has helped us. We would especially like to thank the generous ongoing support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, and the National Endowment for the Arts. These organizations have given tremendous ongoing assistance to our after-school and summertime blues camp, "Blues in Schools" programs, and educational exhibitions. We very much appreciate the excellent work of these organizations in promoting the arts and art education in the state of Alabama.

With the help of these sponsors and many other generous individuals and organizations, we are expanding our after-school and summertime blues camp. This year we will be providing blues camp for two advanced bands, an intermdiate level and a beginners group. Recruiting for blues camp has already started, and we hope to have a total of around sixty students by the time we are fully up and running in February 2006. Many thanks to the Covenant Presbyterian Church on Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, who are again generously providing space for the blues camp.

With best wishes

Alabama State Council on the Arts
Children's Trust Fund of Alabama
National Endowment for the Arts

Debbie Bond, Director


Recent Events

The ABP events celebrating The Year of Alabama Blues Women are proving a huge success! Our traveling exhibition, Red Hot and Blue: A Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women, is traveling all over the state being seen by thousands, young and old! We are so thankful to the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Tuscaloosa Consortium on Higher Education for making this exhibition possible.

Here are some photos of recent events: 


Education Curator Stephanie Burak discusses the ABP traveling exhibition, Red Hot and Blue: a Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women, with a group of elementary students as part of the Auburn Parks and Recreation Sixth Annual "Adventures in Art."

This program ran from September 12 - 16, at the wonderful Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. Thousands of students from the Auburn City Schools enjoyed a week-long multi-disciplinary arts program that featured a wonderful range of music and visual arts programming.

Caroline Shines, performing with Debbie Bond and band at the Auburn City Parks and Recreation "Adventures in Art" program.

APB blues band leading an interactive blues workshop with elementary students at the Auburn City Park and Recreation " Adventures in Art" program.

Sylvette Shines, granddaughter of the late great Johnny Shines, hosting the ABP traveling tent exhibition: Red Hot and Blue: a Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women, September 4, at the Magic City Blues Society Blues Fest 2005 in Linn Park, Birmingham, Alabama.

Sweet Claudette and Debbie Bond get down at the Magic City Blues Society  Blues Fest 2005, in Linn Park, September 4, Birmingham.

Freedom Creek Blues Festival, May 28, 2005: (left) Blues women Sweet Claudette, Caroline Shines, Debbie Bond, and Elnora Spencer. (right) ABP President Steven Hobbs, Board Member Dolores Royal, and Director Debbie Bond at the ABP booth accompanying the traveling exhibition Red Hot and Blue: A Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women.



Alabama Arts Radio Series

On September 29, 2005, Alabama Public Radio broadcast an interview between Barbara Edwards, Deputy Director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and Debbie Bond, Executive Director of the Alabama Blues Project. The program is part of the excellent Alabama Radio Arts serices produced by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and was broadcast on September 29, 2005.

You can hear the program in high quality MP3 suitable for high speed internet connections, or lower quality WMA for slower internet connections.


For Your Diary!

Saturday, October 8 - West Wing Fling, Montgomery, Alabama
The Alabama Department of Archives and History will celebrate the opening of its new wing with activities for all ages. Among them will be The Antique Corner, an identification, evaluation, and preservation service and performances of traditional bluegrass, gospel, and blues music.

The Alabama Traditional Music tent will be filled with sound starting with the Sullivan Family at 9:30 and 11:45, the Birmingham Sunlights at 10:30, and Sacred Harp (shape note) singing at 12:45. Lil' Jimmy Reed will finish the day with down-home juke joint blues beginning at 2:00pm. The self-taught musician from Enterprise, Alabama, picked up guitar and harmonica from nightclubs near his home, emulating the style of Jimmy Reed. He has opened for Bobby Blue Bland and plays many festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Other events of the West Wing Fling include children’s activities, living history encampments, lectures and books by Alabama authors, and of course, tours of the new west wing. The Department of Archives and History was created in 1901, the first department of its kind in the country, and it served as a model for other states.

For more information please phone Sherrie Hamil at 334 353 4712 or email to


Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 - Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Selected for two years as one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast Tourism Society and presented with an Alabama Governor's Award, Kentuck annually hosts more than 30,000 visitors. It features an outstanding presentation of arts and crafts in a variety of artistic styles ranging from folk to contemporary arts, as well as traditional arts. Each of the 250+ artists participating in the Festival is either invited as a guest artist or is juried, based on the quality and originality of their work.The guest artists are nationally recognized folk and visionary artists whose powerful visual images continue to capture national and international acclaim. 

In addition, two stages offer continuous performances of legendary blues, bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, classical and alternative rock, while food vendors serve a variety of delectable fare including ribs, gyros, Cajun and vegetarian. This years blues lineup features Willie King and the Liberators and Debbie Davis!

For more information please call 205 758 1257.


Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 - Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival, Greenville, Alabama.
Live Blues and Family Entertainment all day and into the night, featuring local acts, an acoustic blues competition, outstanding bluesman Little Jimmy Reed and the great Willie King and the Liberators!

The City Of Greenville is holding the First Annual Sweet Gum Bottom Blues Festival in honor of the memory of blues great Ed Bell, a Greenville, Alabama, bluesman who made some of the best country blues recordings of the 1920s. The festival is also being held in honor of the memory of  blues great Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne, who was acknowledged by Hank Williams as the man who taught him to play the guitar.
The festival offers a full range of family and children's events, food, drink, and the unprecedented Silly Hat Parade! The gates open at 9:00am. Admission will be charged after 2:00pm - $7 for adults and $1 for children. Parking is free throughout the downtown.  It's an open air event behind the historic 1935 Ritz Theater in downtown
Greenville - so bring your chair. Do you play acoustic blues? You're invited to come and play in the streets for the people.

9am-2pm local acts
2pm til 7pm - A fantastic line-up of national acoustic blues competition finalists, playing for a Grand Prize of $1,000 and Second Prize of $750.  Why do you care?  These prizes will be awarded by a vote of the audience - that's you!  So . . .COME TO GREENVILLE, AND MAKE A BLUESMAN'S DAY! Blues artists from across the US and Canada have auditioned to play for you. These artists offer a full range of music that is both old style and contemporary, finger style and slide, for guitar and harp, with intricate melodies and driving rhythms. The final competition performances on the main stage between about 5:30and 7:00PM. The competing artists are:

Curley Cooke & Paul Green, Seattle, WA Cooke is a founding member of the Steve Miller Band, and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Junior Thomas, Stockton, AL Junior Thomas learned to play in the juke joints and honky tonks of LA - that's Lower Alabama.  He and Tony Smith formed the Blues Cruise, and Junior Thomas and the Automatics.
Rick Fines, Peterborough, Ontario Fines is two time Acoustic Act of the Year for the MapleBlues Awards.

Sam Pointer, Birmingham, AL Pointer was lead guitar for New Potato Caboose, and he won the Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest in 1998.
Jeff Norwood, Camden, SC Norwood writes most of the material for his 1932 National resonator guitar, though he has a "delta-ized" version of "Walk on the Wild Side" that rocks.
Jay Kirgis, Leland, MS Kirgis is a blues artist, and also an artist of the blues.  If you visit Leland, Mississippi, you’ll see his art among the murals that decorate the town.

7:30-8:30 Willie King and the Liberators
8:30-9:30 Little Jimmy Reed
9:30-10:30 Willie King and the Liberators

10:30-11:30 Little Jimmy Reed

Our special guest performers are among Alabama's greatest blues artists. We'll feature Little Jimmy Reed  from Enterprise, Alabama, who was presented with the 1995 Alabama Blues Treasure Award by the Alabama Blues Society.  And we'll feature the man who was recognized as the Best Blues Artist of the Year in 2003 by Living Blues magazine, with the Best Song of 2003, and Best Blues Artist of 2001, and Best Blues Album, and Best Contemporary Blues Album of 2000, also by Living Blues magazine - Willie King and the Liberators

Sunday October 16 features gospel choir music in Greenville's historic Ritz Theater.


Saturday, October 22 - Williams Station Day, Atmore, Alabama
Don't miss this great event with lots of good blues, including Little Jimmy Reed and Caroline Shines, as well as the ABP traveling exhibition Red Hot and Blue: a Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women. The wonderful annual festival includes lots of good music, a juried crafts and fine art show, a 5K run and much more.

For more information email


November in Mobile, Alabama


November 1 through November 30
The Mobile Arts Council will participate in the 2005 Year of the Alabama Blues Women celebrations by displaying the touring exhibition Red Hot and Blue: a Spotlight on Alabama Blues Women at their offices on Dauphin St. The Mobile Arts Council will add to this exhibition by including information on, and artifacts from, veteran Mobile blues artist Lil Greenwood.

Friday, November 4 - Arts Alive! on Cathedral Square, a bi-annual downtown arts festival
The Alabama Blues Project will present it's Introduction to the Blues interactive performance twice featuring the great blues diva Caroline Shines. The festival will feature additional blues programming, including performances by regional blues singers and musicians.

Saturday, November 12
At 7pm Lil Greenwood will be honored with a birthday party at the Mobile Arts Council offices where she will talk  about her life and career and answer questions from the audience.

For more information about any of these events please call 251 432 9796 or email


ABP Vera Hall Memorial Fund


The Alabama Blues Project has established a fund to honor the life and music of Vera Hall. Proceeds from this fund will be used to purchase a historical marker to be placed in Livingston near the cemetery where Vera Hall lies buried in an unmarked grave. The Vera Hall Memorial Fund is in collaboration with the Sumter County Historical Society in Livingston, Alabama, who will help with the design, placement and funding of this important project. The goal of this endeavor is to honor and help bring attention to the life and artistry of Vera Hall, and bring the rich music culture of the Alabama Black Belt region to a wider audience. So far we have raised about 65% of the amount needed.

The Alabama Blues Project is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and all contributions to this fund are tax deductible. If you would like to help, please send your contribution to:

The Vera Hall Memorial Fund
Alabama Blues Project
2620 2nd Street East
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404