Don’t miss this opportunity to join our award-winning After-School Blues Camp! If you would like to learn to play music from a standout cast of professional blues musicians, this camp is for you. Whether you are into blues, rock, jazz, hip-hop or contemporary music, the Blues is the musical root and a great foundation to help you grow as a musician. It is also a wonderful way to develop your ear and learn to improvise.

About After-School Blues Camp
The ABP Blues Camp after-school program is an award-winning innovative arts and education program founded in 1998 designed to give youth a positive way to express emotions through blues music. The program is a mixture of hands-on musical instruction taught by professional musicians combined with a life-skills curriculum and blues history. Students learn to play the blues on their choice of voice, guitar, drums or harmonica. By practicing and performing together, students learn teamwork, social skills, and discipline and improve their self-confidence. The life-skills curriculum is taught by a professional social worker and our music teachers are drawn from local professional blues musicians.

The Blues Camp is open to children from the age of 8 to 17. We have a diverse group of approximately 50 children from different ethnic and economic backgrounds, and all musical talent levels. Please email or call us at (205) 752-6263 to sign up today!

The Alabama Blues Project is celebrating its 10th Anniversary of After-School Blues Camp! We have big news because we are changing location! Due to scheduling challenges, we are unable to continue holding blues camp at Covenant Presbyterian Church, who have so generously been our host for many years. However, we are incredibly grateful to Tuscaloosa's First United Methodist Church for donating their wonderful space to us for this upcoming blues camp. This will be a new beginning for the Blues Camp at FUMC, and we are very excited to be able have classes in such a beautiful and state-of-the-art facility.



Upcoming ABP Events

Become a Friend of the Alabama Blues Project!

NEW - Business Sponsor Opportunities!

HONEYDRIPPER - John Sayles Film Release Event

Historic Marker Project

2007 Summertime Blues Camp

2007 Evening of Art and Blues

Sam Lay Blues Legend Award

Aliceville School Residency

ABP's Doobie 'Doghouse' Wilson New Album

ABP Supporter Bruce Iglauer wins KBA!

Our Generous Sponsors!

Dear Friends,

It has been another great year for the ABP and I want to thank all of you who continue to support our mission. As the year draws to and end, it is a great time to think about your love for the blues while making your end-of-year tax deductable charitable donations! We need your support and hope that you will join our new campaign by becoming an official Friend or Sponsor of the Alabama Blues Project. Your much needed support will help us continue our work and make 2008 another amazing year for Alabama blues.

This is our final newsletter for 2007 and it is amazing to look back at the year and see how we continue to grow. Besides our award-winning blues after-school programs, residencies and super cool Summertime Blues Camp, I am so pleased to see our preservation and archival work also continue to blossom!

We are so thankful for our program director Cara Smith, who joined us this spring and is already making a huge difference to our growing operation here . . . including giving this newsletter and our website a whole new look! Please visit our new website launching Monday, Dec. 10! We hope that with your help, it will become a true blues clearing house for all things Alabama blues - musicians, events, festivals, venues and much more. Please share with us any information that we might need to know about the blues in your part of the state.

Alabama blues is urgently in need of academic documentation and we are very thankful to be recieving increasing support from the University of Alabama through our intern partnership project. New College and the American Studies and History departments have all continued to send interns our way, and our archive is growing. We also placed our first historic marker in honor of songstress Vera Hall in Livingston Alabama, and now have launched a fund drive in order to create a marker for Dinah Washington here in Tuscaloosa. Our traveling blues women exhibition continues to tour, celebrating Alabama blues accross the state. There are also many other important Alabama blues musicians who we hope, over time, to recognize as part of our work to celebrate the rich blues culture of this state.

We have a lot of great happenings on the calendar for 2008! First, the Honeydripper film premiere is on Monday, Febrary 4th at Tuscaloosa's historic Bama Theatre and we have already started registering for our 2008 Spring After-School Blues Camp. The blues camp final performance will also be at the Bama Theatre on Friday May 23rd and will include performances by blues campers, Homemade Jamz, The Project, The Blues Instructors and Sam Lay!

Thank you all again for supporting the blues and we wish you all a happy and restful holiday season.

Best wishes,

Debbie Bond
Executive Director

THANK YOU
First United Methodist Chuch
- the 2008 Home of Blues Camp!

We are also thankful
to early 2008 Sponsors:









Magic City Blues Society
2007 Blues Ball

December 8th - 8pm
at the Quality Inn
1485 Montgomery Highway
Birmingham, AL 35216
Tickets: $15 single, $25 couple
Featuring Mikey Jr. and the Stone Cold
Blues Band with supporting band
Dan Turner and the Dusters

Blue Christmas Celebration
at Little Willie's
December 21st - 9 pm
Benefiting the Tuscaloosa
Emergency Services Corporation
Featuring The Blues Instructors:
J. K. Terrell, Jesse Suttle, Gary Edmonds,
Debbie Bond, Rick Asherson, Carroline Shines
Come out, support a good cause
and make Christmas a little less blue!
For more information, call (205) 366-0913

Honeydripper Film Debut
Monday, February 4
With a reception featuring
Alabama blues musicians
Henderson Huggins, Stephan Hundley
and Carroline Shines (ABP Benefit)
Director John Sayles and
Producer Maggie Renzi Q& A
Blue Monday at the Bama Theatre
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

2008 Spring After-School Blues Camp
February 26th - May 20th
Registration begins in December!

Every Tuesday from 4pm - 6:30pm
at Tuscaloosa's First United Methodist Church
To register call (205) 752-6263 or
email cara@alabamablues.org

Blues Camp Final Performance
Blue Extravaganza - Friday May 23rd
Bama Theater in Tuscaloosa
Featuring Blues Camp kids,
Sam Lay, Homemade Jamz,
The Project, The Blues Instructors,
Gary Edmonds, Carroline Shines,
Debbie Bond, Doobie 'Doghouse' Wilson
and more . . .

Willie King’s Annual Freedom
Creek Festival

Friday & Saturday, May 30th and 31st, 2008
Old Memphis, AL in Pickens County
Featuring Sam Lay, Willie King and
the Liberators
and many more!!!


Don't let it be a blue year for the Alabama Blues Project!

We would like to invite you to join in the Alabama Blues Project’s success! The ABP continues to excel in its mission to preserve Alabama’s rich blues heritage while passing it on to the next generation through our award-winning blues educational programs. We urgently need the support of friends like you to help us maintain and expand our work in the community.

Your financial support makes possible our year-round programs especially our After-School and Summertime Blues Camp targeted to at-risk children, which this year attracted the largest number of young students to date! Our other blues education programs include an annual Rural Schools Tour and Blues Artist in Residency Programs presented in this state and beyond. Earlier this year, our historic marker program teamed up with the Livingston Historical Commission to successfully unveil a historic marker for Alabama blues songstress Vera Hall. This upcoming year we will be launching a campaign for historic markers to honor Johnny Shines and Dinah Washington!

Please join us as a Friend of the Alabama Blues Project today! It’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Please review the following donation levels, then you can donate online - right here! By becoming a supporter of our programs you will be joining Nick and Terry Saban’s Nick’s Kids Fund, Alabama Credit Union, Bonnie Raitt, Alligator Records and many other prestigious and loyal contributors who continue through the years to believe in our mission.

Annual Giving Levels

Blues Student $20 (21 & Under)
Blues Fan $35

Whether you’re a student 21 or under or someone with the crawling blues - just getting up on your feet while getting down in the local juke joints - you might like to get started in the Alabama blues world at the Blues Student or Blues Fan levels. Welcome! With this giving level, you’ll not only be supporting a great cause with small change, but you’ll also receive an ABP removable window decal to display proudly on your vehicle and get up-to-date news on Alabama blues and our events through our e-newsletter and releases!

What You Get
• Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decal
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases

Blues Supporter $50

For a mere $15 more than Fan status, you can become an official Alabama Blues Supporter and receive all of the Student and Fan perks, as well as our “I Brake for the Blues!” bumper sticker. Take it to the next level! PLUS - here’s a priceless perk - you’ll get a taste of fame with your name posted on our “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” web page at our official web site www.alabamablues.org.

What You Get
• Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decal
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Sticker
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing

Blues Lover $100

Things are getting a little hotter at this level and for a Blues Lover, we will give a little more! You will get the ABP decal, e-news, web listing, AND a trendy, much-in- demand Alabama Blues Project t-shirt. As a Lover, show the love in style!

What You Get
• Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decal
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Sticker
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• Alabama Blues Project T-Shirt

Blues Provider $250

Sometimes love is not enough, and you feel the need to be a true Provider. We need you, and to show our appreciation here, we’re tacking on an extra t-shirt and giving you two tickets to our annual “Evening of Art & Blues” showcasing some the premier Alabama blues and one of the best art/fanfare auctions this side of the Mississippi! (Because, as you know by now, the Blues didn’t stop at the Mississippi-Alabama state line!)

What You Get
• Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decal
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Sticker
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 1 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirt
• 2 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008
“Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP

Blues Patron $500

Our friendship has now deepened to the next level with the distinguished title of Blues Patron. We know you truly believe in the ABP mission and are in the position to make a big difference to our cause. You’ll get another decal, bumper sticker and t-shirt as well as two complimentary tickets to the “Evening of Art & Blues.” Also, you get an extra musical treat with the rare German Taxim Records release Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD, which features 15 wonderful Alabama blues musicians. Featuring some greats such as Eddie Kirkland, “Wild Child” Butler, Elnora Spencer, Jerry “Boogie” McCain, Gary Edmonds, Microwave Dave, Willie King and much MUCH more, it’s sure to be a mainstay in your disc player!

What You Get
• 2 Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decals
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• 2 “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Stickers
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 2 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirts
• 2 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP
Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD

Premiums valued at $58

Blues VIP $1000

When you contribute at the VIP level, you’ll get nothing less than VIP treatment and we will be so thankful for the difference your generous contribution is going to make. In addition to all your other take-home goodies, like extra t-shirts and stickers, You’ll get four tickets to the “Evening of Art & Blues” AND a copy of the Visibile World Films DVD documentary on Willie King, Down in the Woods, autographed by Willie himself!

What You Get
• 4 Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decals
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• 4 “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Stickers
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 2 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirts
• 4 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP
Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD
Down in the Woods DVD signed by Willie King

Premiums valued at $122

Blues Master $2500

Joining Master status means that even more programs are being impacted by your generous gift and that more of our blues dreams can come true for Alabama. We’re bumping up your “Evening of Art & Blues” tickets to six, and you’ll get an incredible souvenir to take home from the event - a 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues” poster autographed by all performing musicians!

What You Get
• 4 Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decals
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• 4 “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Stickers
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 4 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirts
• 6 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP
Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD
Down in the Woods DVD signed by Willie King
• Autographed 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues” Poster by all performing musicians (available after event)

Premiums valued at $291


Blues Legend $5000

Your support of the Alabama Blues Project is now legendary! You can sleep well at night knowing that you are a making a huge difference helping the ABP to promote and preserve the blues of Alabama and reach out to the thousands of children we impact through our programs. At the Blues Master level you will also receive a limited 8 x 12” black and white collectable, custom, metallic print of the legendary Johnny Shines by photographer John Earl.

What You Get
• 4 Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decals
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• 4 “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Stickers
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 4 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirts
• 8 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP
Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD
Down in the Woods DVD signed by Willie King
• Autographed 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues” Poster by all performing musicians (available after event)
• Limited edition, high quality custom metallic photo print of Johnny Shines by photographer John Earl

Premiums valued at $371

Blues Icon $10,000

You are an exclusive, one-of-a-kind supporter of the Alabama Blues Project, and no matter what we could give you, it would never be enough! Our appreciation goes far beyond gifts, but we will still add 10 tickets to “Evening of Art & Blues” and an autographed poster to your goodie bag AND we’re throwing in an original Alabama blues work of folk art by the renowned “Miz Thang.” Plus, you’ll be our best friend (for what it’s worth)! You’re kindness is immeasurable.

What You Get
• 4 Alabama Blues Project Static Sticker Decals
• E-Newsletter & Press Releases
• 4 “I Brake for the Blues” Bumper Stickers
• “Friends of the Alabama Blues Project” Web Listing
• 4 Alabama Blues Project T-Shirts
• 10 Tickets to the Alabama Blues Project 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues,” with priority to upgrade to VIP
Blues from the Heart of Dixie CD
Down in the Woods DVD signed by Willie King
• Autographed 2008 “Evening of Art & Blues” Poster by all performing musicians (available after event)
• Limited edition, high quality custom metallic photo print of Johnny Shines by photographer John Earl
• Original Alabama Blues folk art by Miz Thang

Premiums valued at $501

You can now donate online!

Please be sure to include all
of your contact information,
indicate if you do not wish to
receive premiums and/or if you
wish to be anonymous.

Please Click Here to
make your tax-deductible
donation through PayPal:

 

We THANK YOU for your support!
We could not do all this without the generosity of people like you!
THANK YOU!

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As a Sponsor of the Alabama Blues Project, your business could proudly take credit for our After-School and Summertime Blues Camp targeted to at-risk children, which this year attracted the largest number of children to date! Our other blues education programs include an annual Rural Schools Tour and Blues Artist in Residency Programs presented in this state and beyond. In addition, your financial support makes possible our Artist Assistance Fund along with an Archive and Intern Research Initiative with the University of Alabama, ongoing Historic Marker Project and a critically acclaimed traveling exhibition on Alabama Blues Women.

Your tax-deductible contribution is a great way to put your advertising dollars towards a good cause while reaching thousands of potential customers! Please review the following sponsorship levels and the promotion that we will provide in return for your generous donation. Feel free to contact us at (205) 752-6263 or email cara@alabamablues.org for further information. Thank you in advance for your generous financial support.

Blues Patron $500-$999
• Text listing and link (if applicable) to your business web site, at the bottom of EVERY page on the Alabama Blues Project official web site which receives an average of 80,000 hits a month *
• 5 complimentary tickets to the annual “Evening of Art & Blues” with priority to upgrade to VIP

Blues VIP $1,000-$2,499
• Your logo (1”x1”) and link (if applicable) to your business web site, at the bottom of EVERY page on the Alabama Blues Project official web site which receives an average of 80,000 hits a month *
• 10 complimentary tickets to the annual “Evening of Art & Blues” with priority to upgrade to VIP
• Sponsorship Listing on all Alabama Blues Project printed materials

Blues Master $2,500-$4,999
• Your logo (2”x2”) and link (if applicable) to your business web site, located on the Side Bar of EVERY page on the ABP official web site which receives an average of 80,000 hits a month *
• 15 complimentary tickets to the annual “Evening of Art & Blues” with priority to upgrade to VIP
• Sponsorship Listing on all Alabama Blues Project printed materials, t-shirts, all event signage

Blues Legend $5,000-$9,999
• Your business advertisement (5.5”x1.5”) and link (if applicable) to your web site, located at the bottom of EVERY page on the ABP official site which receives an average of 80,000 hits a month *
• 20 complimentary tickets to the annual “Evening of Art & Blues” with priority to upgrade to VIP
• Sponsorship Listing on all Alabama Blues Project printed materials, t-shirts, all event signage
AND on all e-newsletters and press releases - with a logo and link (if applicable) to your
business web site - reaching 5,000+ people on our e-mail list several times throughout the year
• Sponsorship Listing on the ABP Performance Banner, hung on stage for all related performances

Blues Icon $10,000+
• Your business advertisement (11.5”x1.5”) and link (if applicable) to your web site, located at the bottom of EVERY page on the ABP site which receives an average of 80,000 hits a month *
• 25 complimentary tickets to the annual “Evening of Art & Blues” with priority to upgrade to VIP
• Sponsorship Listing on all Alabama Blues Project printed materials, t-shirts, all event signage
AND on all e-newsletters and press releases - with a logo and link (if applicable) to your
business web site - reaching 5,000+ people on our e-mail list several times throughout the year
• Sponsorship Listing on the ABP Performance Banner, hung on stage for all related performances
• Bi-Annual Advertisement in the Tuscaloosa News showing your support of the ABP

* CLICK HERE TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF 2008 WEB ADVERTISING PLACEMENT!

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Monday, February 4 - Honeydripper Film Debut and ABP Benefit
including a reception featuring Alabama blues musicians Henderson Huggins,
Stephan Hundley and Carroline Shines. It's Blue Monday at the Bama Theater!
Q & A with director John Sayles and producer Maggie Renzi

In 2006, the ABP was very excited to hear that director John Sayles (Lone Star, Eight Men Out, Matewan) and producer Maggie Renzi had chosen Alabama as the location of their new film, Honeydripper. The blues and the deep south are the themes of this thought-provoking movie, which includes lots of great music. Featured musicians include Keb' Mo', Dr. Mable John, Eddie Shaw and Jerry Portnoy among many others.


Dr. Mable John as Bertha Mae

Keb' Mo' as Possum

The ABP is thankful that more and more people are realizing that Alabama has a rich blues culture and now Honeydripper can only help to spread the word. The film was shot in the southern Alabama towns of Greenville, Georgiana, Anniston and Midway in the late summer and early fall of 2006. It is interesting to note that part of Greenville's blues history includes being the home of 1920/30s blues harmonica player and recording artist Ed Bell, who was also known as “Barefoot Bill.”

We were very happy to be asked to assist in finding possible musician extras for the film and Tuscaloosa-based veteran keyboard player Henderson Huggins and young Birmingham based drummer Stephan Hudley got parts!


Stephan Hundley Performs at the
ABP Summertime Blues Camp

Henderson Huggins
Photo by Dan Lopez / Tuscaloosa Magazine

As part of Black History Month celebrations, on Monday, February 4th, 2008, Tuscaloosa’s beautiful and historic Bama Theater will be hosting the Tuscaloosa Honeydripper premier and the proceeds of the evening will go to benefit the Alabama Blues Project! A reception will be held prior to the screening and a blues band will entertain, including Henderson Huggins, Stephan Hundley and Carroline Shines, plus guest spots by some of our best blues camp students! The very big attraction of the evening is that the film's director, the great John Sayles and the talented producer Maggie Renzi will be present for a panel Q and A session with the public!

Honeydripper takes us back to the genesis of rock 'n' roll - namely the '50s rural blues of the Deep South. The story depicts a second chance for an aging bluesman, a kickoff to a young guitar turk's career and the rise of rock 'n' roll itself.

The movie features an all-star cast including Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen, Yaya DeCosta and Sean Patrick Thomas. Featured musicians include Keb' Mo', Dr. Mable John, Eddie Shaw and Jerry Portnoy among many others. The music supervisor was Tim Bernett, with original music composed by Mason Daring.

The film's setting is the 1950 rural town of Harmony, Alabama, during cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis (Danny Glover). Deep in debt to the liquor man, the chicken man, and the landlord, Tyrone is desperate to lure the young cotton pickers and local Army base recruits into his juke joint and away from Touissant's, the rival joint across the way. After laying off his regular talent, blues singer Bertha Mae (Mable John), Tyrone announces to his sidekick Maceo that he has hired a famous electric guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a special one-night-only gig: pack 'em in and save the club.

On the day of the show, the train arrives and Guitar Sam is nowhere to be found. Tyrone is forced to take action. He makes a deal with Sheriff Pugh to release Sonny, a kid who hopped off a freight car in Harmony and turned up in the club claiming he could play the guitar as well as any Guitar Sam.

Tyrone cleans Sonny up and launches a scheme to pass off the young guitar picker as Guitar Sam just long enough to cut the lights and run off with the cash box. When Sonny takes the stage and launches into his first scalding electric licks, Tyrone will learn if it's lights out for the Honeydripper or if his luck has changed: he might just be another man saved by rock 'n' roll.

Honeydripper grew out of Sayles' fascination with the genesis of rock 'n' roll. "There was no single moment when R&B, blues, gospel, jazz and country all came together to create this thing called rock 'n' roll," he said, "but a big change came with the advent of the electric guitar. Before that, piano ruled. Suddenly a poor boy like Sonny (played by Gary Clark, Jr.) could travel around with a portable, cheap, high-volume electric guitar and peel the paint off the walls."

The Honeydripper All-Star Band, made up of musicians who took part in the film, has been touring major blues festivals since early summer. The band consists of Gary Clark Jr. on guitar, Stax Records veteran Dr. Mable John on vocals, Henderson Huggins on keyboard, Howlin' Wolf/Muddy Waters band alumnus Eddie Shaw on saxophone and Arthur Lee Williams on harmonica. The band will continue to tour in support of the movie through the rest of this year and into the spring.

The movie also contains music by legendary blues/R&B artists Memphis Slim, Lil Green, Hank Williams and Barrence Whitefield. The soundtrack recording will appear on a label to be announced shortly.

Honeydripper is John Sayles' 16th feature film and the 13th produced by longtime collaborator Maggie Renzi. It was shot in the southern Alabama towns of Greenville, Georgiana, Anniston and Midway in the late summer and early fall of 2006.

Press release
Source: conqueroo / Cary Baker

All Photos Above are Compliments of the Honeydripper Official Web Site

VIEW THE TRAILER BELOW!

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Early this year, the Alabama Blues Project, in partnership with the Livingston Historical commission, unveiled our first historic marker to celebrate the life of Livingston, Alabama, native Vera Hall. This historic marker was made possible through generous donations from Moby, the Sikes Family, Anna Lomax, and many other thoughtful individuals. We are officially now lauching the next stage of this ongoing program to create markers for Dinah Washington and Johnny Shines here in the city of Tuscaloosa.

As part of Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel 2007 “Year of the Arts” the unveling of the Vera Hall marker took place in Livingston at the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival in April. This great annual festival celebrates the culture of Alabama’s Blackbelt and is organized by the University of West Alabama and the City of Livingston. Alabama blues musicians Willie King, Carroline Shines and Debbie Bond peformed at the event which included a diverse musical line-up, storytelling, and some of Alabama’s best visual artists.

Though Vera Hall was largely unrecognized in her lifetime, her talent and artistry continue to touch and speak to millions of people around the world. Hall was born in rural Sumter County, near the town of Livingston, Alabama, around 1902. Immersed in the rich musical culture of West Alabama, she began singing gospel songs she learned from her mother and at her local Baptist church. Rich Amerson, a family friend, harmonica player and singer, taught Vera to sing the blues.

Vera was first recorded in 1937 by John and Ruby Lomax, who were then working with Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration recording American folk music at its source. The resulting recordings included Vera’s versions, steeped in the black folk traditions of West Alabama, of spirituals, children’s songs, and blues songs. These recordings are now part of a national collection stored at the Library of Congress and are prized by folklorists throughout the world.

Vera Hall died January 29, 1964, at Tuscaloosa’s Druid City Hospital and is buried in an unmarked grave at the Morning Star cemetery in Livingston, Alabama. Unfortunately, as was the case with many African Americans in this region, Vera Hall died in poverty, her grave was never marked, and the position of her burial site was not recorded.

Although Hall died in 1964, her work still garners attention. Indeed, in 1999, techno-artist Moby featured her voice singing “Trouble So Hard” in the song "Natural Blues" on his multi- platinum album Play, thus introducing Hall’s voice to a whole new generation of listeners around the world.

Her masterful renditions of blues and other traditional songs are a defining feature of the rich black culture that came out of the Alabama Black Belt region. We hope that through the ABP’s efforts to create this historical marker we will help to spotlight her life and legacy as part of the great African American contribution to American culture.

AFTER OUR SUCCESS WITH THE VERA HALL HISTORICAL MARKER
IN LIVINGSTON, THE ALABAMA BLUES PROJECT PROUDLY ANNOUNCES
OUR NEW CAMPAIGN TO HONOR DINAH WASHINGTON


Dinah Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones in 1924 in Tuscaloosa , Alabama . Moving with her family at a young age to Chicago , she went on to become one of the most distinctive singers of her time. With strong gospel roots, influenced by Bessie Smith and Billy Holiday, her music covered a wide range of musical styles from blues, R & B, blues, jazz and even pop ballads.

By 1947 Dinah had hits with “Postman Blues,” “Blow Top Blues” and “Evil Gal Blues.” However, her biggest professional triumph came later with blues tinged renditions of pop tunes like the 1959 Grammy-winning “What a Diff'rence a Day Makes" and she topped the charts again with “Baby, You’ve Got What it Takes” a sizzling duet with Brook Benton.

Heavily influenced by the musical talent of her mother, a gospel singer, she became a gospel star at the age of fifteen. She was discovered by the legendary Lionel Hampton at eighteen and performed with him from 1943-1946, before striking out on her own. The rest of her short life was spent largely on tour in clubs and theaters and in the studio --- making the music she loved.

Dinah had a silken soprano and heartfelt voice that was confident, intimate and conversational. She was a distinctive song stylist, crossing over from the "race" music category to the pop and jazz charts. Known in her day as Queen of the Blues and Queen of the Juke Boxes, Dinah was regarded as that rare "first take" artist, her studio recordings reflecting the same passion and energy she brought to every live performance. She was one of the few women of the period to run her own booking agency, Queen Productions.

She was known to make every song her own, having once said, “George Gershwin wouldn't know his own song when I'm through with it. I can't stay hidebound to any melody.”

Ms. Washington died in 1963 at the very young age of thirty-nine. She was in peak musical form at the time of her death, and one can only imagine what magic she would have recorded had she lived longer. Her legend continues through song and through her influence on other singers. She continues to be a huge influence on R & B, soul and blues singers who have come to prominence since the mid-1950s, including Ruth Brown, Etta James, Esther Phillips, Diana Ross, Dion Warwick and Nancy Wilson. Her voice, charm, humor and charisma remain as distinct today as when she recorded the songs that made her the Queen of the Blues.

The traditions of jazz have always been inextricably tied in with great exponents of the blues. Dinah was the “reigning Queen of the Blues, the Bessie Smith and the Ma Rainey of her time.” 0ct 5, 1952, San Francisco Chronicle, music critic Ralph Gleason.

 

Click Here to Donate to the Dinah Washington Historical Marker Fund!

 

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This July, the Alabama Blues Project had our coolest, biggest and best Summertime Blues Camp yet! Following a vision inspired by frequent blues camp student, 8-year-old Maya Samuels-Fair, we put the beginning campers into three bands: The B.B. Kings, The Freddie Kings and The Willie Kings. They were able to get to know one another as a small group and stuck together through the art and music workshops, as well as a life-skills curriculum. Summertime Blues Camp also offered master classes and advanced band instruction each day.

For the second year in a row, world-renowned folk artist Lonnie Holley returned to bring his blues themes to his amazing art projects with our students. In Lonnie's outdoor classroom, the campers made folk art with found objects, sand sculptures, and their very own group sculpture which now hangs in the Alabama Blues Project office but may yet be proudly displayed at ABP events! Lonnie pieced together a large guitar of chicken wire, and each student put their personal sculpture into it along with a note about themselves, packed away and never to be read but leaving part of them in the sculpture forever.

Tana Samuels-Fair, an artist of many talents and a veteran art educator, led the students in creating colorful shakers, t-shirts and concert posters for the final performance. The shakers were on full display at the open house "Blue Cafe" as well as their posters, which cleverly were modeled after real concert posters but featured each child and their blues nickname in their personal creation. Their t-shirts also had their blues nicknames on them, and they donned them for their final performance.

Blues folk artist Miz Thang's classroom was the home of some amazing backdrops for the Alabama Blues Project, something long overdue. Her wonderful creativity and love of bright colors inspired students who enjoyed painting freelance on the backdrops - but what they loved most was painting with their hands! Miz Thang intentionally creates her works of art without paintbrushes. She explains, "When my fingers are in the paint I feel connected to my pieces and feel I am passing along some of my special brand of Mojo to you."


Everyone was treated to a blues songwriting workshop by Doobie "Doghouse" Wilson. He gave a great PowerPoint presentation ( which you can download here) entertained and inspired all three bands to get together and create their own original songs. The B.B. Kings - the youngest of the three bands - wrote a heartfelt song about what it's like to have to stay indoors when it's raining and you want to go outside to play. The Freddie Kings put together "Dog Gone Blues" about a dog that can't seem to stay home and ends up in the "doggone pound;" and the Willie Kings wrote about what to do in a conflict situation at school and called the number "Bully Blues". As they tell it, If someone picks on you, it's best to just turn around and walk away. This was also one of the lessons learned in the Summertime Blues Camp's life skills sessions. You can download the lyrics to the songs here!

Of course, preparing for the main event of the "Blues Cafe" open house took much musical practice. Each student received instruction in every instrument offered so that they could choose the one they liked the best to play with their respective band. We had an ensemble of enthusiastic and talented music instructors! Gary Edmonds taught master guitar lessons and the advanced band "The Project", who picked up "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Sissy Strut" to add to their setlist. Two previous beginners, David Schwab (bass) and Jonathan Blakely (harmonica) were able to sit in with the advanced band this summer.

Debbie Bond gave master and beginning classes in vocals, as well as leading The B.B. Kings. A long-time blues veteran and Executive Director of the ABP, she led the three bands in one group as a combined blues ensemble and orchestrated the final performance at the Blues Cafe. ABP graduate and The Project's lead singer Rachel Edwards assisted her in the task. Having done several school residencies and often assisted in blues camps, ABP Associate Director Rick Asherson got his first run as harmonica instructor - he did great! Several students ultimately chose the harmonica as their instrument, and Rick gave them all multiple solos in the final performance. Birmingham musicians Jesse Suttle and Jason Hilley came over to join the troops. Jesse, a longtime blues camp instructor, was the drums teacher for beginners and masters, and he led The Freddie Kings. Jason, who has done numerous ABP "Introduction to the Blues" classes, had a very successful time as an instructor for his first blues camp. He taught beginning guitar and advanced bass and also led The Willie Kings.

Lunch time every day rocked! Visiting the Summertime Blues Camp for performances while the students ate were an array of talented artists. We were blessed with concerts and speeches by Nikolaj Anderson - a cigar box guitar maker and musician who came all the way from Denmark, Carroline Shines - daughter of the late, great Johnny Shines and a powerful singer, Birmingham blues drummer extraordinare Foxxy Fatts, and world-renowned blues man Willie King. The visiting artists jammed with our instructors and students, demonstrating different types of blues music as well as blues history.

The open house "Blues Cafe" drew approximately 200 spectators, and the 2007 Summertime Blues Camp students sounded phenomenal! The event had everyone on their feet dancing and clapping as the students performed their original works along with classics like "Bo Diddley" and "Let the Good Times Roll." The advanced band performed their new songs as well as a couple of their hits, with now-instructor Rachel Edwards singing her heartfelt rendition of "Stormy Monday." Most-improved blues camper Jonathan Blakely not only played harmonica with the advanced band but he also gave an outstanding rendition of Little Walter's "Mean Old World" to wrap up the show.

The Alabama Blues Project would like to give a special thank you to Lackey Stephens and R.L. Zeigler Co., Inc., who were gracious sponsors. We would also like to thank our expert group of youth workers who help to make the blues camp experience the best environment possible and work hard to keep the ball rolling: Earl Meriweather, Joe Somerville, Valerie Strode, Marci White and Miranda Wilson. Thank you as well to our wonderful volunteers, Cordell Crawford and Miss Brown, and our intern extraordinare Carolyn Therrell.

This program was made possible by generous grants from the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Click Here to see ABP instructor Jesse Suttle
performing on the Good Day Alabama Show!

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The Alabama Blues Project had another big success with the second annual Evening of Art & Blues in late August at the L&N Station in downtown Tuscaloosa. The event expanded from last year to include two stages, a silent and live auction, plenty of food and drink and the great company of approximately 500 people!

Sponsored by Harrison Galleries L.L.C., Jim Walter Resources, Inc., the L&N Station and the Alabama Credit Union, this wonderful and entertaining event aimed to raise awareness about our blues education programs and the children we reach, as well as helping us raise much-needed funding to pursue our mission to promote and preserve Alabama blues.

The all-star lineup headlined Willie King and also included Simple Interest, Doobie "Doghouse" Wilson, ABP's advanced band The Project, Homemade Jamz, Debbie Bond, Caroline Shines and Gary Edmonds.



Sam Lay Presented with the ABP's Blues Legend Award

As part of our Evening of Art and Blues, Birmingham blues legend Sam Lay was presented with the 2007 Alabama Blues Project "Blues Legend" Award. Among so many great blues musicians from Alabama, we were proud to recognize Sam, who is a world renowned blues drummer and has played with all the blues greats including Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor, Johnny Shines, Paul Butterfield and so many more. He has also recorded with the legendary Bob Dylan. Sam is still working the international blues circuit and it is an honor that he supported the ABP mission by coming to our event. It was so cool that three young up-and-coming talented Alabama blues drummers helped ABP director Debbie Bond present the award - Birmingham's Stephan Hudely, Blues Camp veteran Tasheka Spencer and Taya Perry of Homemade Jamz were all thrilled to be at the feet of such a true drumming legend. Sam Lay kindly and generously came to Alabama specially because he was so impressed with our young blues students and he wanted to meet and hear them for himself.

Thanks to Chuck's Fish, our students were able to have dinner prior to the event with Sam Lay and Willie King! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend time and get to know this amazing kind loving and generous man who is now part of the ABP family.

This year's wide array of artwork, crafts, gift certificates, baskets and much more in the live and silent auctions just got bigger and better too! Items for auction included - but were certainly not limited to - guitars autographed by B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Honey Boy Edwards; an football autographed by Alabama football head coach Nick Saban; exquisite original paintings by Lennie Jones, Chris Kruse, Brandon Berrey, Dan Ciesielski, Dan Dalton, Anne Leuck Feldhaus, Lashondra Scott Robinson, Bill Harrison; autographed photography by Dick Waterman, Birney Imes and Don Camp; a custom made cigar box by the famous Daddy Mojo, and MUCH, MUCH MORE! The Alabama Blues Project thanks everyone who made such generous donations to the auction!

The ABP would also like to thank our event committee members: Lynne Adrian, Bebe Barefoot, Bruce Haggermann, Bill Lloyd (who also generously donated the L&N Station for the event), Rosa Johnson, Claudia Noerhen, Dolores Royal and Aaron Vold; staff and volunteers Elizabeth Cox, Rachel Edwards, Shannon Landis (who took these great photos!), Martin Lias, Betsy Myers, Buddy Pate, Tana Samuels-Fair, Dawn Simmons, Jan and John Sykes and Danny Smith; Picture This! for framing truck loads of auction items as well as chipping in some themselves; auctioneer Jerry Pearson; and our fabulous ABP intern Carolyn Therrell - whom we could not have done without!

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Watch Clips of the Open House! Video & Edit by Jonathan Morris

 

In September, the Alabama Blues Project partnered with internationally renowned bluesman Willie King to present a six-week long "Blues in the Schools" Artist Residency at Aliceville Middle School in Pickens County, Alabama. Pickens County native Willie King has twice won the Living Blues magazine “Blues Artist of the Year” award and is the recipient of an Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) Fellowsip award.

His annual Freedom Creek Festival, held at his home in Old Memphis, Pickens County, on the last weekend in May, is now in its 10th year and attracts national and international audiences and extensive media attention. Recently King was thrilled to be the recipient of a Proclomation from the City of Aliceville in recognition of his record as a good citizen and outstanding ambassador of the blues.

The teaching team was completed by blues singer/guitar player Debbie Bond and harmonica player Rick Asherson, who are both members of Willie King’s band The Liberators.

The unique residency was made possible by the Black Belt Arts Initiative, a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts that targets underserved schools in the Black Belt Region of the state. Aliceville Middle School, like so many of the Black Belt schools, currently has no art or music instruction as part of their regular curriculum.

Bond, who is also the Director of the Alabama Blues Project, developed the innovative blues music and history curriculum that was presented to the entire school in 18 sessions each week of the program.

The interdisciplinary curriculum is a balanced mixture of performance, lecture and participation. It teaches the history of the blues from its African roots through slavery times and Reconstruction, to modern Chicago style blues and combines this with hands-on music instruction in harmonica, singing and percussion. The end of the program was celebrated with a final open house performance at the school where students entertained the audience with some of the musical skills they have learned - see some video clips here!

Bond says, ”It is so wonderful that these children from Pickens County can learn first hand from an outstanding blues artist, from their own back yard, like Willie King. He is someone who has truly lived the history we are teaching, starting form his early experiences of sharecropping and learning to play the blues on a homemade, one-string guitar. He is an inspiration for students who see that someone who came from such an impoverished background can transcend his life challenges and become an amazing and internationally acclaimed artist.”

Executive Director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts Al Head sees the blues as a very significant cultural tradition rooted in the Black Belt region. “The Alabama Blues Project is one of our model organizations in the state and has made such a positive impact on the students,” says Head. “We are very proud of the work that they have been doing and excited to be able to present it to the youth of the Black Belt.”

Email us for information on how
to bring an Alabama Blues Project residency to your school!

 

 

Aliceville Middle School Counselor Olivia Parsons Speaks on the Importance
of Arts & Music Education in Pickens County - Video & Edit by Jonathan Morris

 

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Press Release

 

Doobie ‘Doghouse’ Wilson Releases New Album “One More Time”

Veteran Tuscaloosa blues musician and ABP guitar/songwriting instructor Doobie ‘Doghouse’ Wilson released a new album, One More Time featuring his best recordings of 2007. All songs are available as free downloads at mp3.com/doobiedoghousewilson or as a CD on request.

 

The title song “One More Time" is a tribute to Rick Carter’s Guitar Pull (an open mic), held every Monday night for over 10 years at the Oasis Bar in Birmingham. At the final Guitar Pull last spring, Wilson unveiled this song, inviting all the musicians onstage to jam or join in singing the refrain.

 

The album includes eleven original songs in a variety of styles. Blues numbers include “Backdoor Man”, “Dangerous Love”, “Shuttin’ the Shothouse Down”, and “Zinnia Blues”. The hybrid “Love Lost Blues” progresses from blues to rock to country in a single song. “Morning Sun” is a beautiful love song that Wilson entered in the American Idol songwriting contest last spring. The heart-wrenching “Ballad for Martin Luther King” eventually yields to the light-hearted “Don’t You Wish Your Man Could Play Guitar” with all of the innuendo intended! “Love of My Life” will become a popular Christian rock anthem as it explores Jesus’ often-ignored call to “give away everything before you can follow me.” Wilson’s chemical engineering students requested a song about distillation column design and he responded with the Latin rock “Steppin’ Off The Stages” – don’t worry, if the science escapes you just let your feet move to the rhythm.

 

This is Wilson’s third CD after “That’s Not Me” (2004) and “Merry Christmas, Baby!” (2006). Also released and still available on mp3.com is his album "Merry Christmas, Baby!” which had over 27,000 downloads of the title song last holiday season, a truely remarkable number for an independent recording with no publicity.

 

Doobie ‘Doghouse’ Wilson is the stage name for Dr. Alan M. Lane, a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at The University of Alabama. He is a frequent performer in bars and coffee houses in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and a guitar/songwriting instructor for the Alabama Blues Project After-school and Summertime Blues Camps. More information can be found at doobiedoghousewilson.com.

 

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Longtime ABP Supporter Bruce Iglauer of
Alligator Records wins the 2008 Producer KBA!

You do the math. Over 100 strictly Blues albums since 1971, 24 Grammy nominations, and a slew of recordings that won Blues Music Awards. From his first effort producing Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers to his production of Koko Taylor’s 2007 CD Old School, Bruce Iglauer has always brought a professional’s honest dedication and a fan’s passionate enthusiasm into the studio. The hundreds of recordings he has worked on have become essential to the canon of modern Blues. Not only has Bruce accurately captured the signature sound of Blues elders like Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks, Carey Bell, James Cotton, Son Seals and Katie Webster, but Bruce has been instrumental in producing the unique sounds of new talent like Michael Burks, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Kenny Neal, Saffire and Shemekia Copeland. Whether acoustic, back porch, swingin’ jump, or fiery Blues Rock, Bruce Iglauer is always committed to bringing out the real Blues.


Keeping the Blues Alive Awards

Each year, the Blues Foundation presents the Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Awards to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Blues world.

The Blues Foundation will present the 2008 KBA Awards during a recognition brunch on Saturday, February 2, 2008, at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The KBA ceremony will be part of the International Blues Challenge (IBC) weekend of events. For complete information about the 2008 International Blues Challenge weekend click here and to see the weekend schedule click here.

Unlike the Blues Music Awards, the highest award in the Blues world voted on by thousands of members of the Blues Foundation, the KBAs are awarded to non-performers strictly on the basis of merit by a select panel of Blues professionals. Noted educator, author, journalist, and KBA Chairman Art Tipaldi notes, “The KBA is awarded for the recipient's lifetime body of work; we don’t view the recipient as the winner of a ‘best of the year’ category. Consistent with this philosophy, the committee generally refrains from awarding the KBA to an individual or organization more than once. Rather, we select a new deserving winner each year, except in rare cases when a significant period of time has elapsed since the first award.”

Content compliments of the Blues Foundation official web site

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Our programs are made possible by the generous support of our sponsors, including Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama , the National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Credit Union, Alligator Records, Bonnie Raitt, Capstone Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Nick's Kids Fund, db Tech, Guitar Center Music Foundation, Harrison Galleries, Little Willie’s Jazz & Blues Club, Mercedes Benz, Pollack Foundation, Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education, United Way of West Alabama, Zildjian, and many other kind organizations and individuals.