Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Pinetop Perkins Foundation

Pinetop Perkins was one of the last great Mississippi Bluesmen. He began playing blues around 1927 and is widely regarded as one of the best blues pianists.

The Pinetop Perkins Foundation is a tax exempt non-profit organization. It's mission is to provide encouragement and support for youth and young people at the beginning of their musical career; and help provide care and safety for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.

That’s a lofty and noble mission, and one in which I plan to become heavily involved. What’s not to admire about this foundation?

As I sit here at my desk, early on a Saturday morning, I’m thinking about Austin Young and Jack Gaffney. Austin is 15 and Jack is 13. Last night they both played Clarksdale, MS’s renowned Ground Zero Blues Club®, famously co-owned by Academy Award® winning actor, Morgan Freeman. Not bad for a couple of Colorado teenagers.

Here’s how this went down: shortly after Mr. Perkins’ passing, I was speaking with Foundation Board Member, Bob Margolin, about the mission and how I might become involved. Bob thought that I should speak with Board President and Pinetop’s long-time manager, Patricia “Pattop” Morgan, but to wait a few weeks until she had time to decompress from the funerals and breathe a little bit. So I did.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jammin' In Greeley!

The Colorado Blues Season is officially open!  Saturday was the seventh annual Greeley Blues Jam, the kick off festival, and they did it up right.  Even Mother Nature cooperated offering up perfect weather, with just enough cloud cover to keep it from getting too hot.  All the heat came from the performances.

I entered the Arena to the frenzied energy of Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, and they raised a lot more than just hell.  Dwayne has arms like Big Bill Morganfield that dwarf the accordion, over which Mr. Dopsie has absolute dominion.  He’s also funny and enjoys a lot of playful audience interaction, keeping people dancing and laughing.  After their highly energized performance, I set out to find Dwayne to give him my card for the next time he comes through Colorado.  They would be a lot of fun at the Boulder Outlook, so we’re going to be talking in the next week.  It’s a good thing too, as throughout the course of the day, I ran into many of the Outlook’s regular supporters, and several inquired as to the possibility of booking these young men. 

While I was backstage waiting for Dwayne, I ran into my friends, the Nighthawks.  We had a tremendously fun reunion which lasted most of the day.  Last month they took home a Best Acoustic Recording BMA for Last Train to Bluesville, so it was good to get the chance to congratulate them.  It’s a wonderful CD.