MUSIC MAKER BLUES REVUE CONCERT VENUE CHANGE FOR THIS THURSDAY, MAY 17 IN PORTSMOUTH
Music Maker Blues Revue concert taking place this Thursday, May 17 has been moved from its original location at 463 Court Street to Roger Brown’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, Private Banquet Room located at 316 High Street in Portsmouth. The show starts at 7:00 pm as planned, and all tickets will be honored at the door.
I love Portsmouth. You can read 50 of the reasons why I love Portsmouth (and you should too), when you have a minute right here – https://altdaily.com/50-reasons-i-love-portsmouth-you-should-too/
That’s why I’m so excited that the Virginia Arts Festival and the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center are co-presenting the “Music Maker Blues Revue” on Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 pm at
463 Court Street 316 High Street in Portsmouth.
This is the first time the VAF and the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center have worked together to present both a performing and visual arts event.
Gayle Paul, Curator of the Art & Cultural Center, discovered the Music Maker Relief Foundation years ago. She is a fan of traditional blues music; especially the now disbanded string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The CCD was a group of young musicians who specialized in the old-time folk, blues and jazz music of the Carolinas.
The Music Maker Relief Foundation began in 1994. Tim Duffy was studying folklore and musicology at the University of North Carolina. He was especially interested in traditional blues musicians. He wanted to document and preserve their musical heritage before it was too late. Duffy began to forge his own “people-centered approach to preservation.”
He met the legendary Guitar Gabriel, Robert Lewis Jones, who had a unique guitar style combining Piedmont, Chicago, and Texas blues with gospel music. Guitar Gabriel and his wife were in a desperate state. Duffy helped them with food and medical bills, but what the guitar legend really wanted was a chance to play again so that he could pay his own bills. Duffy helped him book some gigs around the Carolinas.
Through Guitar Gabriel, Duffy met many more musicians who wanted to play their music to audiences again. Tim Duffy and his wife formed the Music Maker Relief Foundation. They helped forgotten legends like Willa Mae Buckner, Preston Fulp, Mr. Q, and Macavine Hayes with new instruments, transportation, and anything else they needed so that they could get out there and entertain. The “Music Makers Blues Revue” toured the United States and Europe and has played Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
The Music Maker Relief Foundation does more than just preserve the music and help old musicians. They introduce young musicians, like the Carolina Chocolate Drops, to these legends of the blues, so that the young can learn from the old. They record the old music and the stories of these musicians to preserve this precious part of American culture. They are collecting an archive of photographs, guitars and even the clothing worn by these artists.
The visual archive of these blues legends caught the interest of Gayle Paul. She asked the Virginia Arts Festival if they would be interested in co-presenting the “Music Makers Blues Revue”, as a performance and as an art exhibit at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. Gayle Paul is excited that the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center will be “one of the first organizations to host this visual exhibit from the Music Maker Relief Foundation.” “We are the Music Makers: Preserving the Soul of American Music” will be on display on the second floor in the beautiful old courthouse that is now the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center from May 18 – August 12.
Included in the exhibit will be photographs of some of these legendary musicians, like Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, audio recordings, artwork inspired by the Music Makers, and artifacts. Sam “The Dot Man” McMillan was a self-taught folk artist who painted pants, jackets, hat and even a guitar for Guitar Gabriel.
These pieces and more will be on display in the exhibit.
The performing part of the “Music Maker Blues Revue” will now take place at 463 Court Street to Roger Brown’s Restaurant and Sports Bar, Private Banquet Room located at 316 High Street in Portsmouth
on the 2nd floor of the old Brutti’s Restaurant at 463 Court Street, directly across the street from the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. Harvey Arnold, “Cool” John Ferguson, James Norwood, Alabama Slim and Thomas Rhyant will take the stage in the event space. These artists have played with the greats, including Ray Charles and B.B. King. There will be blues, boogie, funk and soul with a little gospel thrown in for good measure.
As a bonus, ticket holders to the “Music Maker Blues Revue” will be able to go across the street to see the Music Maker visual exhibit by showing their ticket at the door of the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center. There are excellent restaurants in Olde Towne Portsmouth. If you don’t want to navigate the tunnel, the Elizabeth River ferry can take you from Waterside to the end of High Street. It is just a short walk down High Street to the Art & Cultural Center.
About Music Maker Blues Revue
- Harvey Arnold, bass & vocals
- “Cool” John Ferguson, guitar & vocals
- James Norwood, drums
- Alabama Slim, guitar & vocals
- Thomas Rhyant, guitar & vocals
The Music Maker Blues Revue is an all-star band and a thriving musical institution that presents storied blues players in live performances. The Revue is the performing arm of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time; the Foundation presents live performances, exhibitions, documentation and education programs that keep musical traditions alive. Featuring musicians who have played from street corners to concert halls, from down the road to around the world, experience music that strikes deep in your soul, across the spectrum of boogie, funk, soul, R&B, and the whole blues spectrum.
Music Maker Blues Revue is co-presented by Virginia Arts Festival and Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center.
For further information, or if you have any questions, please call the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at 757-282-2822.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.vafest.org, by phone at 757-282-2822, or at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office located at 440 Bank Street in Norfolk, Monday-Friday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
For more information and to purchase tickets for the Music Maker Blues Revue, go to http://secure.vafest.org/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=475