|CAT HEAD UPDATE - April 2020 Edition|
When I sent out my first "Cat Head Update" email almost 18 years ago... Clarksdale, Mississippi, had "live" blues shows on average just two nights a week (though a major holiday week would often completely silence our town) and one blues festival. When I sent out my Clarksdale Film & Music Festival press release (using, in part, this e-list) back in January, we had "live" blues 365 nights a year and over a dozen annual festivals. A LOT of progress. But...today? Ugh. The clubs, juke joints and restaurants are silent. And our April/May festivals have been cancelled with the balance of the year totally up in the air.
Still, our 365 nights of music continues... if online rather than in-person. "Live from Clarksdale" (via Shared Experiences) has been working with our local musicians and venues to provide a 7 night (or day) a week schedule of live streaming "watch parties." More on that below. Also, our beloved Juke Joint Festival is already 98% booked for next year. More below. And my own Cat Head — Mississippi's blues store since 2002 — has (for the time being) moved online with an expanded Web Store. More below on this and other stuff you may like to know.
Hang in there, y'all! Wash your hands, keep your distance, and plan now to visit Clarksdale once the international health crisis is behind us. Thanks for your support! Best, Roger Stolle (Cat Head commander & chief) and Ayler (the blues pug)
PS - Want to help guarantee the long-term success of Cat Head (and our associated projects and events)? Then, please check out our expanded WEB STORE at www.cathead.biz.
|"LIVE FROM CLARKSDALE" LIVE STREAMING WATCH PARTY SHOWS!|
|Courtesy of Shared Experiences (thanks, Colleen!): "Streaming Live Blues 365 Nights A Year (or however long this lasts)! As people stop traveling and we work to keep our community safe from the coronavirus, we're creating new ways of staying connected and keeping the blues alive. Introducing... "Live From Clarksdale"! Many venues will continue to host live blues but online. When venues can't host live music safely, some musicians will invite you into their living rooms. As each watch party is scheduled, we'll it at https://www.sharedexperiencesusa.com/livefromclarksdale. You can also follow us and the hashtag #LiveFromClarksdale on Facebook and Instagram. Enjoy, y'all!"|
|BOOK ROOMS NOW! PLAN NOW TO VISIT CLARKSDALE BLUES IN 2021...|
|Led by tourism director Bubba O'Keefe, the team at Visit Clarksdale Tourism has been working hard to keep the www.visitclarksdale.com website up to date with our local business and restaurant hours/services during the current international health crisis. They've also been working on future marketing/advertising plans, managing grant applications, undergoing more social media training and assisting with (potential) visitors via email/phone. Check out the latest news and updates at the link below.|
"VISIT CLARKSDALE" LINK
|SHOP NEW CAT HEAD WEB STORE FOR TEES, BOOKS, MUSIC & MORE!|
|Bored? Don't be, y'all! Please check out my vastly expanded CAT HEAD WEB STORE at www.cathead.biz. New items added weekly, plus don't miss the special sale items. What's in store? Lots of cool blues, Cat Head and Mississippi stuff... Tees, hoodies, hats, books, DVDs, CDs, vinyl LPs, glassware, art prints, gift ideas... and more. |
Plus, while you're on my website, check out some of the interesting news links, virtual music calendar, quote collection and more. Since I've been forced to temporarily close my world-famous brick-and-mortar Cat Head store location in downtown Clarksdale, my Web Store IS Cat Head. I truly appreciate all y'all's support. Stay well, and come see (and hear) us "for real" when you can. :)
SHOP CAT HEAD!
|BLUES FOUNDATION UPDATES... AWARDS, RETIREMENT AND MORE|
|From our friends at the Blues Foundation in nearby Memphis: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the past three weeks The Blues Foundation has had to close the Blues Hall of Fame for the foreseeable future, cancel our live Blues Music Awards and Blues Hall of Fame celebrations, and move our entire staff out of our offices and to their homes, where they are now working remotely... Many blues musicians and the industry that supports their performance and recording are suffering as tours are canceled, clubs are closed, and festivals are moved to later in the year. In response to this crisis, The Blues Foundation has created the COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to professional full-time blues musicians whose incomes have dried up because of the pandemic and who are now in need of emergency assistance... The Blues Foundation will be replacing our usual Blues Music Awards in Memphis with a virtual event... (read on at link below).|
|DELTA BLUES MUSEUM UPDATES FROM CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI|
|Excerpt from newest Delta Blues Museum e-newsletter: "Although we have temporarily closed our gallery and suspended our Arts & Education classes, we are working to provide digital experiences for those who wish to visit the museum. Virtual visitors may access our Explore and Learn Features that provide in-depth information on artists and subjects in our gallery. This year, we will celebrate “Muddy Waters Month” a little differently: We are currently working on a brand-new virtual tour to compliment our “Follow Muddy” Explore and Learn feature. We will be ramping up our social media outreach, as well..." Keep up with the DBM by subscribing to their monthly e-newsletter below.|
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
|QUARANTINE-READY WEB SERIES: "MOONSHINE & MOJO HANDS"...|
|Strap on your safety belts, and pay up your insurance! Then travel Mississippi’s back roads 'virtually' in search of juke joints, house parties, barbecue, soul food, folk artists, moonshiners and — of course — the men who keep the this uniquely American music form alive in the land of its birth. Created by Jeff Konkel (Broke & Hungry Records) and Roger Stolle (Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art), each episode of MOONSHINE & MOJO HANDS takes viewers on a wild ride through the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country to meet the region’s most fascinating characters in truly unforgettable settings. Best of all, it's FREE to view online now at the link below! (Special thanks to Lou Bopp, Damien Blaylock and Tangent Mind for making the production possible.)|
WATCH FREE ONLINE
|JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL (AND OTHER BLUES FESTIVAL) UPDATES...|
|As you know, many music festivals from South By Southwest to New Orleans Jazz Fest have had to cancel due to the international health crisis. Well, JUKE JOINT FESTIVAL also had to be put off till next year. (Read the original press release at www.jukejointfestival.com) The relatively positive news? We already have 98% of the music and entertainment booked for next year's April 15-18, 2021, Juke Joint Festival & Related Events! From Kingfish to Super Chikan, from monkeys-riding-dogs to racing-pigs... the schedule that is on the JJF website now for 2020 is basically the schedule for next year (subject to change, of course, in these trying times). BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOMS NOW, y'all... Seriously. A lot of them are already taken for 2021, so don't say we didn't warn you.|
ALSO... I'm sad to report that May's Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest and Red's Old-timers Blues Fest are both also being put off till next year, but please plan to attend their triumphant returns! For news and updates about our other dozen or so Clarksdale festivals, please watch my Music Calendar at https://www.cathead.biz/music-calendar.
JUKE FEST WEBSITE
|"T-MODEL PULLED OUT A PISTOL..." IN NEW JUKE JOINT BOOK!|
|Frank said, “I just feel like whooping me somebody tonight.” T-Model pulled out a pistol and said, “Well, I hope it ain’t me!”|
"Tommy goes, 'I didn’t know we was coming here. I ain’t going in there to play.' So, I’m thinking, 'If you’re not going in there, I’m sure not going in there!' The place had been roped off with police tape, and there was these guys that was walking around the edge like guard dogs."
"It’s almost like, 'I don’t know. Is it safe to go in this place?' And then you get inside and find three-hundred-pound women doing crazy, dirty dancing [laughs]."
Located seemingly in the middle of Nowhere, Mississippi, yet actually only twenty minutes from downtown Clarksdale, Bilbo’s decision to build his juke joint in such a harsh landscape was a bit like the gangsters of yore deciding to build casinos in the wide-open Las Vegas desert... [The] elements continually worked against him—snakes, mosquitos, floods and outlaws. But none of that stopped him.
“What makes a blues club an authentic old blues club is when you walk in the door, that blues club’s just like a poor man’s house. S---, he ain’t got no money to go out there and buy no damn matching chairs. When you walk in there, shoot, there ain’t no matching tables, ain’t no matching chairs. He just bought what he could get!”
"...that moonshine. It looked like water. I was sipping out of that stuff. It went down so smooth. When it was time to go, I stepped outside, and I went blind. I couldn’t even find my car."
First thing that Monday morning, a well-chiseled, well-dressed man with a badge walked right out of central casting and into my store. He peppered me with questions as my knees weakened. Since both the evidence and the manufacturer were gone (drunk up and buried down, respectively), I felt less than verbose.
ENJOY THE EXCERPTS ABOVE?
Then, buy a signed copy of my new "Mississippi Juke Joint Confidential" book today at Cat Head Web Store, www.cathead.biz.
I used most of the words I know. Lou Bopp contributed the amazing photos, and Jeff Konkel gave us a little hype on the front end. Also, maybe pick up my first book, too: "Hidden History of Mississippi Blues." Thanks, y'all! Roger Stolle
CAT HEAD BOOK SHOP
|THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES... THE CAT HEAD CELEBRATES 18 YEARS!|
I just want to say THANKS to everyone who ever stepped foot in my Cat Head store (physically or virtually), attended one of our dozens of festivals, heard one of the albums we produced, viewed one of our film projects, helped me bring old bluesmen overseas, etc., etc. My first 18 years of Cat Head (well, up til this past month, I suppose) has been unbelievably amazing. The people, the places, the music, the experiences... Wow! It was never about making money, of course, though I'm still here almost two decades in, so thankfully that has managed to take care of itself so far. I'll certainly do everything I can to ensure Cat Head is here for years to come. In the meantime, let's take a brief walk down memory lane..............