St. Paul and the Broken Bones

April 10th, 2014 | By Elizabeth Vance

If you haven’t heard the buzz about this Alabama band’s live shows, you probably just aren’t listening… but you can hear and see them live on May 10 in Thomson, GA.

Tickets Go On Sale March 5

February 25th, 2014 | By Mary Sicard

Advance tickets can be purchased online at tixonline.com or by calling (803) 278-4849.

Advanced tickets are $30. (Fees apply.)

Tickets at the gate are $40.

Children 12 and under get in free.

The Festival is “Rain or Shine.”

21st Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival to be Held May 10, 2014

February 6th, 2014 | By Mary Sicard

Today, the Activities Council of Thomson announced the lineup for the 21st Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, to be held on Sat., May 10, 2014. The one-day fest, with a large fan base from all over the Southeast, will be held at the regular festival site on Stagecoach Road, 300 yards off Washington Highway, north of Thomson, Ga.

Tickets, which are $30 advance and $40 day of, go on sale March 1

The event is held each year to bring great American roots and blues music and musicians to the rural South, as well as pay tribute to country blues legend McTell, a Thomson native son, born and buried in the Happy Valley area of McDuffie County.

The small town feel and exceptional quality of the music presented year in and year out makes the McTell Festival a special event indeed. The organizers strive to feature artists who offer the best in American music, focusing on the styles of Americana, folk, gospel, rock, blues and all its variations with musicians that our smaller market can support — music played by folks at the top of their game.

This year’s line-up is still being finalized as we go to press, but it’s shaping up and packed with talent from all over the United States.

Headlining this year will be Los Lobos, a multiple Grammy Award–winning, American roots rock band from East Los Angeles, California. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, more. Their live electric show is white-hot, featuring the very best of over 20 albums of music filtered through 40 years of playing together in this lineup. They are led by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist David Hidalgo, regularly recognized the world over as one of the very best guitarists working today. In addition to fronting Los Lobos, he is routinely included on the roster of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festivals, held bi-annually around the nation to showcase the all guitarists of note.

2013 saw the release of Disconnected in New York City, a live set, celebrating their 40 year legacy.

In addition to Los Lobos, the McTell Festival is proud to present Jaimoe’s Jazzz Band. Led by Jaimoe Johanson, one of founding members of the Allman Brothers Band, the ensemble plays solid blues arrangements that feature the vocals and guitar of Jr. Mack. The rest of the lineup is rock solid with the sacred steel sounds of the Campbell Brothers and Chicago blues by Sugar Ray Norcia and the Blue Tones.

Always mindful of Willie McTell’s country blues style of guitar playing, we’re proud to present Tony Furtado. Furtado is brilliant on acoustic guitar, especially on slide, and is a master of the banjo as well. He’ll be on stage, along with his bassist in a duo setting.

Rounding out the roster is a great up and coming combo from Alabama, St. Paul and the Broken Bones. They will be touring behind their first national release “Half the City”, releasing on February 18. These young guys are really starting to “build a buzz” in the Southeast. Check out some of their videos on YouTube and you’ll see why.

As in years gone by, there will be an array of vendors serving traditional Southern food and beverages: ribs, chicken, fish, Cajun, great dishes that go hand in hand with the music that will be on tap that day.

Carry in food and drink will not be allowed. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets for the Saturday afternoon show will be $30. Tickets will go on sale in March 1. They will be available locally at the Chamber office as well as on this website.   For additional info, visit the Blind Willie McTell Facebook page.

Line-Up Change

May 16th, 2013 | By Mary Sicard

We regret that Eric Lindell and his band the Sunliners will not be at the festival. Eric has some health issues and cannot travel. That is bad news and we wish him well….perhaps another year.

THE GOOD NEWS….Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets are the replacements. The band is Anson Funderburgh — Guitar, Bill Heid — Keyboard, Tom Brill — Bass, and Big Joe Maher — Drums and Vocals. Should be good.

They’ll play in the same slot as Lindell would have played.

20th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival to be Held May 18, 2013

February 7th, 2013 | By Mary Sicard

Make plans to attend the 20th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival on Sat., May 18, 2013.

The line up includes Buddy Miller, Tab Benoit, Jim Lauderdale, Eric Lindell, Anson Funderburgh, Randall Bramblett, The Revelers and the Crosstie Walkers.

Tickets are on sale online and are available the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce office.

Please like our Blind Willie McTell Facebook page.

Did You Enjoy the Festival?

May 22nd, 2012 | By Don Powers

Thank you for spending the day with us.

Are you in any of the photos by photographer Gene Driskell?

What did you like or not like about the 19th Annual Blind Willie Blues Festival?

To give us your feedback, click on “Comments” below this post.

 

19th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival will be held May 19, 2012

February 26th, 2012 | By Don Powers

The Activities Council of Thomson announces the lineup for the 19th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, to be held on Sat., May 19, 2012. The annual one-day fest has a large fan base from all over the Southeast and will be held at the regular festival site on Stagecoach Road, 300 yards off Washington Highway, north of Thomson, Ga. The schedule has been posted.

The event is held each year to bring great music and musicians to the rural South and to pay tribute to country blues legend McTell, a Thomson native son, born and buried in the Happy Valley area of McDuffie County. The small-town feel and exceptional quality of the music presented year in and year out makes the McTell Festival a special event indeed. The organizers strive to feature artists who offer the best in American music, focusing on the styles of Americana, folk, gospel, rock, blues and all its variations…players that our smaller market can support; music played by folks at the top of their game.

This year’s line-up is still being finalized as we go to press, but it’s already loaded with the likes of the great singer and headliner Delbert McClinton, blues legend James Cotton, the acoustic country blues of Guy Davis, the southern soul of the Randall Bramblett and Geoff Achison Band, and locals Mama Says.

Delbert McClintonDelbert McClinton, a Texas born singer, has been making music all of his life. In addition to being an electrifying vocalist, he’s a songwriter, harmonica player and pianist. Equally as well known is the top-notch touring band he travels with—all of ‘em road warriors and first-class musicians. A favorite all over the world, Delbert has recorded over 20 albums during his long career, winning a Grammy for his duet, “Good Man, Good Woman,” with Bonnie Raitt in 1991 and another in 2006 for “The Cost of Living” album, released in 2005. He was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in March 201l. Some may remember that McClinton’s last appearance at Blind Willie six years ago was cut short by heavy rain and lightning, so we are quite happy to bring him back to Thomson again for a full set.

James Cotton was born in Tunica, Mississippi, in 1935 and is one of the greatest blues harmonica player—ever! His most notable musical associations were with the early combos of Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters during the 1950s. Cotton is still recognized the world over as one of a few of the originals, those responsible for the bluesy sounds associated with the city of Chicago. Of note are Grammy awards he won in 1977 as part of a Muddy Waters album, “Hard Again,” produced by Johnny Winter. Cotton has also been nominated three additional times, winning a Grammy in 1996 for his album, “Deep in The Blues.” He has won many WC Handy awards, annually given out to top blues performers, culminating with his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis in 2006. It is Cotton’s first appearance here in Thomson, following in our tradition of honoring the older players such as the late Hubert Sumlin and Pinetop Perkins, to name a couple.

Rounding out the lineup in 2012 will be the Randall Bramblett and Geoff Achison Band. Bramblett, a Georgia native who lives in Athens, and guitarist Achison, who comes all the way north from Australia, play together routinely and presenting both of them in this combo will be something new for the fest: they have appeared solo in the past. Bramblett consistently releases first-class original music and has been a part of Southern musical scene since the early ‘70s. Achison and Bramblett recently released a live album, “Jammin in the Attic,” recording at the venerable Atlanta music hall, Eddie’s Attic. Also appearing is Guy Davis, who played in the 6th Annual McTell Festival and is back again this year. If you are unfamiliar with his music, he’s a great country blues player, playing in the acoustic style rooted in the early South of the 1900s. Opening the festival this year will be a CSRA local combo, Mama Says, a funk-blues outfit who regularly gig around our area and have a good local following.

The McTell Fest is happy to welcome Cory Chisel, along with his band, the Wandering Sons, to the 2012 lineup. Chisel, the son of a Baptist preacher, comes south from Appleton Wisconsin, where he has been making regional, and now national, waves for the last few years. With a sound steeped in Americana and roots music, this band continues our tradition of giving artists who are breaking out some visibility in our part of the world, as well as giving our fans something a little different than straight blues.

Chisel records for RCA and his latest release, Death Won’t Send a Letter, released in 2009, garnered critical acclaim throughout the US and Europe. Chisel was named the “Artist of the Year” at the 2010 Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards.The group’s song “Born Again” was named the “Record of the Year.”

As in years gone by, an array of vendors will serve traditional Southern food and beverages: ribs, chicken, fish, Cajun—great dishes that go hand in hand with the music that will be on tap that day. Carry-in food and drink is not allowed.

Children 12 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets will be $25.

Tickets will go on sale in mid-March and will be available the Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce office, as well as on this website.

Please like our Blind Willie McTell Facebook page.

Blind Willie McTell Blue Festival Presents Roseanne Cash Performance at Westobou Fesitval

August 22nd, 2011 | By Mary Sicard

The Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival will present a performance by country music legend Rosanne Cash as part of the 2011 Westobou Festival. Canadian alt-country act Blue Rodeo will open. The concert will take place Fri., Sept. 30 at the Parade Grounds at the Old Richmond Academy in Augusta, Ga.

The eldest child of country music legend Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash’s music is equally influenced by rock, folk and the country music that is part of her famous DNA. Over the course of her career, she has charted 11 Number Ones on the Billboard Country Singles and Album charts. Her most recent album, The List (2009), was inspired by a list her father gave her of 100 essential country tunes. It was nominated for the Best Americana Album Grammy in 2010. Cash is also a writer and her 2010 memoir Composed was a New York Times bestseller.

TICKETS are $30 in advance and $40 at the gate. Table seating for eight can be purchased for $500.

For more information on this Westobou Festival event, please visit www.westoboufestival.com or call 706-755-2878.

The old Academy of Richmond County is located at 540 Telfair St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District.

18th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival will be held May 21, 2011

February 22nd, 2011 | By Don Powers

Today, the Activities Council of Thomson announced the lineup for the 18th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, to be held on Sat., May 21, 2011. The annual one-day fest, voted by Southeastern Tourism writers as one of the top small cultural events in the Southeast, will be held at the regular festival site, on Stagecoach Road, 300 yards off Washington Highway, north of Thomson, Ga.

The event is held each year to bring great music and musicians to the rural South, as well as pay tribute to country blues legend McTell, a Thomson native son, born and buried in the Happy Valley area of McDuffie County. The small town feel and exceptional quality of the music presented year in and year out, makes the McTell Festival a special event indeed. Annually, the organizers strive to feature artists who offer the best in American music, focusing on the styles of Americana, folk, gospel, rock, blues and all its variations….players that our smaller market can support; music played by folks at the top of their game. Again, that’s what will be presented in Thomson on 2011.

This year’s stellar roster features headliner and closing act Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, and includes Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth, Jimmy Hall & the Prisoners of Love featuring Jack Pearson, the Georgia Horns featuring Chris Crenshaw and Marcus Printup, Jack Pearson, Atlanta’s Mark Miller & Travelin Shoes, and Crosstie Walkers.

The jazzy, funk side of blues will be represented at  the festival in the form of none other than Trombone Shorty, along with his combo Orleans Avenue. This act is one of the hottest touring bands today and they’ll come through Thomson after working the Main Stage at New Orleans Jazzfest in April, 2011. His latest disc “Backatown”, released in 2010, was nominated for a GRAMMY and currently sits in the top 10 on Billboard’s jazz charts. Says New Orleans native Troy Andrews or ‘Shorty’, “What we do is just another word for ‘gumbo,…..we make different music fit in one mixture that has a funky and huge rock edge to it.” The McTell Fest has never really featured great horn players and what an act to get it started.

Four time GRAMMY Nominee Marcia Ball knows how to get after it onstage with her infectious and emotional brand of rollicking, roadhouse blues and ballads. Over the course of her three-decade career, Ball and her crackerjack combo have earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world. Her piano playing and passionate, playful vocals fuse New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B with Austin’s deep songwriting tradition into a sound all her own. Ms Ball has been to Thomson before as our headliner and after a ton of requests from our patrons, we are glad she is coming back to east Georgia. She’s the winner of eight Blues Music Awards – four wins in the last five years for Best Piano Player, plus recent wins for Best Contemporary Blues – Female Artist (twice), and once each for Contemporary Blues Album for So Many Rivers and Blues Album of the Year for Presumed Innocent. Her latest release, titled Peace, Love & BBQ debuted at #1 in the Billboard Blues Charts.

The rest of the artists in this year’s lineup are equally as impressive as our headliners. Jimmy Hall & the Prisoners of Love featuring Jack Pearson are the very essence of a harmonica based, soul-shouting, blues combo. Pick up a copy of Hall’s “Rendezvous with the Blues” prior to the festival if you need any more proof. With Jack Pearson, one of Nashville’s premier players holding down guitar, this band will be something to see. Hall led 70’s southern rockers, Wet Willie, and sings, plays harp and sax, is a favorite of Georgia audiences.

Along with Jack Pearson (who’ll play a mini-set on his own), we’ll also feature another absolute guitar giant, Sonny Landreth. Landreth also comes from Louisiana and his style of playing the slide guitar is nothing short of phenomenal. He’s been leading a trio for awhile, but check the collaborations that he keeps and you can tell that he’s a guitar player’s player. His latest disc, From the Reach, features guitar duets on Landreth originals with the likes of Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, and Vince Gill, to name a few. He’s working on a new disc, to be released this spring, and he’ll make it into town on the heels of an appearance on the Main stage of the N.O. Jazz Fest as well.

Crosstie Walkers from Thomson usually represent east Georgia at the festival and they’ll be opening up again this year. But along with this Thomson band, we’re proud to present another act this year with local roots. In a  combo put together especially for the festival, we’ll present the Georgia Horns, featuring Thomson’s Chris Crenshaw on trombone and Conyers native, Marcus Printup on trumpet.

Both Chris and Marcus have regular jobs playing and touring in New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis. Crenshaw has been itching to play here in his hometown for awhile, and we were finally able to squeeze his booking into his busy schedule. The set will be called Swinging the Blues with the Georgia Horns. Along with Crenshaw and Printup, local sax player, Stantawn Kendrick will be in the sextet as well.

Newcomers, Mark Miller and Travelin Shoes, a gospel and blues based string band from Atlanta, will be featured this year. These guys just released a set of Willie McTell gospel tunes called Ain’t it Grand…the Gospel Songs of Willie McTell and if you like McTell’s music, you’ll love these interpretations.

Mentioned earlier, Thomson’s Crosstie Walkers will also open up the day at the 2011 event. They will be showcasing music from over twenty years of playing together, both originals and covers that they make their own.

As in years gone by, there will be an array of vendors serving traditional Southern food and beverages…..ribs, chicken, fish, Cajun, great dishes that go hand in hand with the music that will be on tap that day. Carry in food and drink will not be allowed. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets for the Saturday afternoon show will be $25. Tickets will go on sale in mid-March, and will be available locally at the Chamber office, as well as, on line at www.blindwillie.com.   For info, visit www.blindwillie.com or the Blind Willie McTell Facebook page.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue to Headline

February 13th, 2011 | By Mary Sicard

Verve recording artist Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews will headline at the 18th Annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival on Sat. May 21, 2010.

Trombone Shorty is a rare artist who can draw both the unqualified respect of jazz legends and deliver a high-energy blues and rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars and audiences alike. Andrews is the kind of player who comes along maybe once in a generation, and his 2010 release Backatown is the latest, clearest proof that his artistry is as singular as his raw talent.

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