Upcoming Events

An Evening of Art & Blues

2008 Blues Extravaganza

Summertime Blues Camp

Alabama Blues Around the Web


Dear Friends and Supporters,

Here we are, Alabama blues is sizzling hot, the summer seems to have flown by!

Our spring and summer blues camps were the biggest and best ever. The camps were dedicated to the late great blues legend Bo Didley, who the world sadly lost this year.

Read all about the After-School Camp "Blues Extravaganza" and our innovative music and arts Summertime Blues Camp in this newsletter! Thank you so much to The Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, Alabama State Council on the Arts, R.L. Ziegler, Bonnie Raitt , The Blues Music Foundation and all of our other important sponsors - we could not do our camps without your support.

The biggest news we have to share is that thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, we have been able to go year round with our after-school program. We are so thankful for this new prestigious source of support, and going year-round will make a huge difference to the blues, the children in our community and the music instructors who share their skills.

Our archive, intern, history and preservation projects are all growing. We are so inspired by the impressive work Mississippi has done on the Mississippi Blues Music Trail and hope that over time, Alabama can join forces and find a way to link to the important blues heritage of our state. We just returned from a marker unveiling in Macon, Mississippi, where bluesman Willie King (who was born outside Macon but lives in Alabama), Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater (who was also born in Macon but learned to play guitar in Alabama!) and the great harmonica player Carey Bell were all honored.

Willie King was also a great ambassador for Alabama blues this summer in Cognac, France where he returned from this third successful European tour sharing his juke joint struggling blues.

Finally, please help us by supporting our annual fundraising event, An Evening of Art and Blues! Besides autographed guitars by B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, (along with many other 2008 Blues Award Winners) and Robert Cray – there is an overwhelming amount of great blues folk art, photography, gift baskets and everything in between. Please check our site for a little taste.

WE WELCOME LONG DISTANCE BIDDERS – please call our office at (205) 752-6263 to make arrangements to be a long distance bidder. If you cannot attend the event please help by buying tickets or making a contribution to our work. As some of you may know, our grants have to be matched, and funding our staff positions and infrastructure is still a big challenge, so any and all help is greatly appreciated!

Best Wishes,

B.B. King & Carroline Shines


Rocket City Blues Fest
August 31, 2008
Huntsville, Alabama
@ Crossroads Café
Proceeds benefit the
Music Maker Relief Fund

An Evening of Art & Blues
September 5, 2008
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
@ L&N Station

T.A.G. Bluesfest 2008
September 27-28, 2008
Mentone, Alabama

2008 After-School Blues Camp
October 21 - December 9, 2008
January 27 - April 28, 2009
May 1, 2009- Blues Extravaganza!
Call (205) 752-6263 or
for registration information.

Special Thanks to NEA & CTF!


Always a great place to find out
about Alabama blues happenings:




Willie King, Eddie "The Chief"
Clearwater and Steve Bell (representing his father, Carey Bell)
admire the marker that honors
them in Macon, Mississippi



On Friday, September 5, 2008 , the Alabama Blues Project will be hosting its annual event, “An Evening of Art and Blues,” a great night out with music on two stages, art and auction items that also helps to raise funds and awareness about the Alabama Blues Project’s education and preservation programs. The evening will be held at the beautiful and historic L&N Station in downtown Tuscaloosa from 6:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m.

LIVE MUSIC from Willie King and the Liberators,
Microwave Dave and more!!!

Auction Items include...

Guitar autographed by B.B. King

Guitar autographed by Robert Cray

Autographed 2008 Blues Award Winners Guitar
(includes Jimmie Vaughan, Sam Lay,
David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Bobby Rush & more!)

Football Autographed by UA Coach Nick Saban



Click Here to See all the Auction Items...

If you can't make it but would like to show your support
of the Alabama Blues Project, please buy a ticket anyway - or make a tax-deductible donation!

Click Here to Buy Tickets Online!

PhotobucketThe evening will feature music on two stages, with an all-star lineup of Alabama musicians. Headliners Willie King & the Liberators and Microwave Dave will be joined by regional favorites 2BLU, Simple Interest and Doobie "Doghouse" Wilson, as well blues women Debbie Bond and Carroline Shines. Guest artist DeiDra Hurdle will make a special guest appearance along with some of the Alabama Blues Project’s Blues Camp kids.

PhotobucketThis year’s edition of “An Evening of Art & Blues” will showcase its biggest and best auction yet! Autographed guitars by blues legends B.B. King and Robert Cray will be auctioned live. In addition, the Alabama Blues Project will auction an exclusive keepsake guitar autographed by all the winners of the 2008 Blues Foundation Blues Awards who attended the Memphis award ceremony earlier this year. Signatures on this guitar feature Jimmie Vaughan, Sam Lay, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Bobby Rush and more! Phone-in bidders are welcome and should contact the ABP at (205) 752-6263 to make arrangements!

Along with the guitars, artists from all over the United States have generously donated one-of-a-kind items for the evening’s silent auction. Local galleries and gift shops have also combined to make several selections that will please everyone!



This event is made possible by many generous sponsors, including the L&N Station, Harrison Galleries, Mercedes-Benz, Jim Walter Resources, Kwik Kopy Printing, Nick’s Kids Fund, Barkley Buick-Pontiac-GMC Truck-Cadillac, Royal Fine Cleaners, Stephens Insurance & Financial Services, J & L Signs and Stamps, First Federal Bank, McAbee Construction, HardSteel and Tuscaloosa Toyota. Hors d’oeuvres have been graciously donated by local restaurants including Chuck’s Fish, Del Palma's, Fig, Evangeline’s, Kozy’s Restaurant, Mary's Cakes, McAllister’s Deli, Mugshots Grill & Bar and Snap Decision Catering.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door; students are $10. VIP seating is available at $50 per seat or $450 per table (seating 10).

Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here!

Sponsorship packages are also available and include tickets, signage, program listings and inclusions in press releases and advertising. The Alabama Blues Project is also accepting auction donations and volunteers. For more information, please call (205) 752-6263 or email




The 2008 After-School Blues Camp marked the ABP's 10th Blues Camp anniversary. To celebrate the end of the Fall blues camp, the PhotobucketAlabama Blues Project hosted an "Open House Blues Extravaganza" at the Bama Theatre on May 23rd!

The ABP's after-school Blues Camps bring Alabama’s rich blues heritage to the next generation of budding musicians and combine hands-on music instruction with a life-skills curriculum and blues music history. This Spring, over 50 Blues Camp performed as a unique blues orchestra, followed by a performance from ten of the camp’s most advanced students.

PhotobucketIt was truly a blues extravaganza, as following the Blues Camp students were two internationally acclaimed blues bands: Homemade Jamz, an outstanding young family trio from Tupelo, Mississippi, who adopted us last year as their official charity and are a real blessing and perfect mentors for our blues camp students; plus the legendary veteran bluesman Sam Lay, who not only performed as the headliner of the evening, but jammed with our blues camp kids to their version of Bo Didley! What better way to celebrate the Open House than this? To make the evening even more extravagant, Blues Camp music instructors Carroline Shines, Gary Edmonds, Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson also threw down for a jam-packed evening of blues.

PhotobucketAlabama Blues Project director Debbie Bond said, “I am amazed at how much our young students have learned in such a short time and delighted that they had a chance to perform with such great blues artists as Sam Lay and Homemade Jamz. It is an incredible opportunity for our Blues Camp kids and something that they will remember for the rest of their lives!”

The Alabama Blues Project After-School Blues Camp is an award-winning arts and education program that gives youth a positive way to express their emotions through blues music while passing along the rich tradition of Alabama blues. Students learn to play blues music on their choice of voice, guitar, drums or harmonica. By practicing and performing together, along with their musical and performance skills, Blues Camp students learn teamwork, social skills, discipline, and improve their self-confidence.

Click Here for After-School Blues Camp Photo Galleries!

The Legendary Sam Lay
PhotobucketWhen the legendary Sam Lay – a Birmingham native – found out about the Alabama Blues Project he immediately fell in love with the children. Lay came to Tuscaloosa for the 2007 “Evening of Art & Blues,” an Alabama Blues Project benefit event, where he was presented with a “Blues Legend” award. Lay's unique style of drumming can be heard on over 40 recordings for the famed Chess Records label with the most prominent names in the world of blues. He has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, the Jazz Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He was nominated eight times for the coveted W. C. Handy Award for "Best Instrumentalist" including a recent 2005 nomination.

Homemade Jamz
PhotobucketHomemade Jamz have also become a valued supporter of the Alabama Blues Project after they adopted the ABP as their official charity last year. The group consists of two brothers and a sister, all 15 years of age and younger. They are the youngest blues band to sign with a major record label, Northern Blues Music. Homemade Jamz' blues band is the 3rd annual MS Delta Blues Society of Indianola Blues Challenge winner, 2006. They are also the youngest (total age) blues band to ever enter the International Blues Challenge, where they competed against 93 adult bands from all over the world and won 2nd place at the 23rd International Blues Challenge in 2007.




PhotobucketThe good times continue to roll for the Alabama Blues Project Summertime Blues Camp! July 2008 saw an even bigger and better camp for all our students - both beginner and intermediate. They spent the day together enjoying art, music and dance workshops, as well as a life-skills curriculum. Summertime Blues Camp also offered master classes and intermediate band instruction each day.

Blues folk artist Miz Thang returned for a second year with the Summertime Blues Camp. She led the students in creating gourd shakers and cigar box guitars, all personalized by each student with paint and beadwork. Birmingham and Selma resident Charlie “The Tinman” Lucas arrived in Tuscaloosa fresh off the plane from Italy to help the students create artwork out of objects most would regard as trash. Under his guidance, the students made wire musician sculptures, then the groups collaborated on large, three-dimensional collages that are now proudly displayed in the Alabama Blues Project headquarters. Painter and local art educator David Elder joined the Blues Camp crew this year. He helped the students create beautiful portraits of Alabama blues musicians and colorful concert posters promoting the Open House Blues Café. An exciting dance curriculum was also added to the mix this year, led by local dance instructor Kim Davis.

PhotobucketIn addition to art and dance, students were divided into four band and spent the week practicing for the main event of camp, the Open House Blues Café. The "Bama Blues Review" was led by vocals instructor DieDra Hurdle and local guitarist and performer Ethan Gardiner. Harmonica instructors J.K. Terrell and Rick Asherson headed up "The Blues Tide". Newcomer and guitar instructor Tim Boykin along with ABP Director Debbie Bond – who assists with guitar and vocal instruction - led the "Black Warrior Blues Band", while Birmingham drummer Jesse Suttle and ABP Advanced Band graduate Maggie Bell led" The Blues Camp Explosion". Gary Edmonds was the band leader for the intermediate band, who worked on 10 new songs during the five days of camp!

Doobie "Doghouse" Wilson gave workshops in songwriting and helped each band write their very own original song. The Bama Blues Review wrote the song, “Knockin’ on my Window Blues” about hearing a scary noise outside their window only to find that it’s a tree branch. The Blues Tide’s song, “Bedtime Summer Blues,” described the eternal dilemma of when to go to bed and when to get up during summer vacation. The Black Warrior Blues Band put together "Thunder & Lightening Blues" about the summer time storm and the resulting power outage. The Blues Camp Explosion wrote about everyone’s favorite summer treat in their song “Ice Cream Blues.” Click here to read the lyrics!

PhotobucketSummertime Blues Camp students were treated to special guest lunch performances by powerful singer and world-renowned bluesman Willie King plus Carroline Shines, daughter of the late, great Johnny Shines. The visiting artists jammed with our instructors and students, demonstrating different types of blues music as well as blues history.

PhotobucketThe Open House Blues Café was a huge success with parents and members of the Tuscaloosa community. The packed house was treated to performances by the beginner bands who played their original compositions. The intermediate band then rocked the house while beginners strutted their new dance skills in one big celebration of blues! Attendees also got the chance to look at the extravagant art projects that adorned the walls and was laid out on tables.

Summertime Blues Camp could not have been possible without the expert group of youth workers who help to make the best environment possible and work hard to keep the ball rolling: Cordell Crawford, Kenny Lee, Earl Merriweather, Sadie Moore, Joe Summerville, Tykela Watford, and Marci White. The Alabama Blues Project also received significant help from blues camp parent Joanne Willaert.

PhotobucketThe Alabama Blues Project Summertime Blues Camp was sponsored by Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Covenant Presbyterian Church and R.L. Ziegler, Inc. The ABP also received generous support from Bonnie Raitt, The Harrison Foundation, Alligator Records, The Blues Music Foundation, Hohner Harmonicas, Peavey and Fender, along with several other kind businesses and individuals.



Knockin' On My Window Blues

(I heard a) knockin' at my window
In the middle of the night
(I heard a) knockin' at my window
Grabbed my bed in fright
Just a tree branch knockin'
On my window at night

Got up from my bed,
turned on the light
Opened up the curtain,
nothing else in sight
My dad will cut the branch off
And everything'll be alright!


(Bedtime) Summertime Blues

Don't like to wake up early...
On a Saturday
It's hard to wake up early...
On a Summer day
If I get up early...
Got more time to play!

Go to bed too early...
on a Summer night
Go to bed too early...
it just don't feel right
But in the morning...
The sun will be shining bright!


Thunder & Lightning Blues

Thunder & lightning,
Coming Down on me (2x)
It's Getting so dark
I can't even see

I'm so scared lightning
will strike on me (2x)
Thunder so loud
Makes me wanna scream!

I got a candle, now I can see (2x)
It's OK - I'm surrounded by family!


Ice Cream Blues

I hear a bell ringin'
On a hot summer day
Ice cream truck's a comin'
On a hot summer day
Chocolate chip, Vanilla...
Gonna melt my blues away!

Don't forget about me
Won't you come my way?
Don't forget about me
Don't go the other way
Strawberry and Cherry...
Gonna melt my blues away!


Green Onions
Sweet Home Chicago
Born Under a Bad Sign
Use the Blues
Hound Dog
Hip Swinging Blues
Stormy Monday
Walkin' By Myself
Scratch My Back
Let The Good Times Roll

Click Here for Summertime Camp Photo Galleries!


Alabama Blues Around the Web

NBM Book Notes: The Funk Era and Beyond
NewBlackMan (Blog) August 23, 2008

Jerry Wexler, record producer, dies
International Herald Tribune August 16, 2008

Preservation Hall, Blind Boys to tour together August 16, 2008

Terrorized All My Days
Why Am I Not Surprised? (Blog) August 13, 2008

The Juke Joint - Mr. Gips
Black & White August 7, 2008

Black musicians seek out special Muscle Shoals sound
Times Daily July 29, 2008

Muscle Shoals studios: Hit records in racial harmony
Times Daily July 27, 2008

A frail Odetta is strong, sure, confident
Times Union July 23, 2008

Alabama Arts Radio Podcast for July 22, 2008
Rebroadcast of Steve Grauberger
interviewing Kevin Nutt, of CaseQuarter Records talking
about his research on early blues recording artist
Ed Bell from Greenville, Alabama.



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