Schedule 2016


PRE-CONFERENCE RECEPTION 4:00–6:00 pm | Dockery Farms Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and entertainment
Hosted by the International Blues Project and the Dockery Farms Foundation


8:00 am–4:00 pm | DMI Lobby

The registration and CD/book tables will be open from 8:15–4:00. Musicians and writers are invited to bring items to sell.

8:30–10:00 am | DMI Studio A

Meet and Mingle: Coffee and Pastries
Welcome Remarks

Greetings from university President William LaForge,
Tim Colbert and Don Allan Mitchell, DSU Blues Curriculum Emily Havens and Rita George, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi Moderator: Don Allan Mitchell


10:00–10:50 am | DMI Studio A

A conversation with GRAMMY award winner Dom Flemons
Moderator: Don Allan Mitchell

PAPER SESSION: Cultural Identity 11:00–11:50 am | DMI 201
Dr. April Prince: “The Lure of the South”: Pondering the Southern Past in the Songs of Early Country Music and Blues Women Female blues and country music singers in the early decades of the twentieth century worked within clear, demarcated boundaries of identity. Yet they also revealed a more nuanced story of the South and its struggle to establish and maintain a certain social hierarchy.

Kimber Thomas: Black Characterization in the Southern Soul-Blues
An exploration of the fictionalized black men and women— Jodys, Maintenance Men, Clean-Up Women, and Juke Joint Queens—who define the southern soul-blues aesthetic. Moderator: Dr. Adam Potter

PAPER SESSION: Virtual Presentations 11:00–11:50 am | DMI 202
Perm State University: Rivers of Music– Rivers of Culture

Faculty and students from Perm State will share the results of the blues and cultural roots project in the “Rivers of Music– Rivers of Culture” program.
Moderator: Dr. Beverly Moon

LUNCH & KEYNOTE ADDRESS     12:00–1:45 pm | DMI Studio A
Dr. William Ferris: Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues
Dr. Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Catered by Sweets BBQ Kitchen
Introductions: Dr. Rolando Herts

BREAK 1:45–2:00 pm

PAPER SESSION: Blues and Film 2:00–2:50 | DMI 201
Dr. Barry T. Bilderback: Oh Brother Where Art Thou: Crossroads and Junctions in the United States “Blue” Vernacular Music History
This paper presents a brief survey providing the debated historical points within the film’s depictions, rich in socio- musical portrayal, of blues and bluegrass.

Scott Barretta: Shake ‘em on Down: The Blues According to Fred McDowell
A 20 minute presentation on Barretta’s Mississippi Fred McDowell documentary
Moderator: Dr. Charles Westmoreland

PAPER SESSION: Mississippi Sounds 2:00–2:50 pm | DMI 202
Dr. Bret Pimentel: Blues Flutes: Otha Turner and the Northern Mississippi Cane Fife Tradition
Blues fife and drum music has been widely mourned as a dying art form by scholars and aficionados, though some effort has been made in recent years to document and preserve performances by its few remaining practitioners.

Dr. Mitsutoshi Inaba: A Preview of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson: The Sound of Bronzeville
The paper introduces Inaba’s forthcoming book, a biography of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, aka Sonny Boy Williamson I, a highly influential harmonica player. Moderator: Dr. Erik Richard

PAPER SESSION: The Music Business 3:00–3:50 pm | DMI 201
Mike Carr and Aurthur Calederon, Attorneys at Law: Avoiding the Legal Blues: Protecting Your Music from Others and (sometimes) Yourself  

This presentation will explore legal trends affecting artists in the music industry, and provide aspiring musicians with the legal tools to understand their rights regarding their music. Moderator: Dr. Douglas Mark

PAPER SESSION: Cultural Interactions  3:00–3:50 pm | DMI 202

Dr. Stephen F. Lorenz: Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, and the D.C. Blues Mafia
The “rediscovery” of John Hurt and Skip James allowed many young whites to connect to black culture, but in 1963 country blues were an embarrassing throwback for many African-Americans marching on DC for their civil rights.

Dr. Ronald Pimentel: Ambivalence Toward Other Stakeholders: Blues About the Blues
There are many conflicts in blues music and the associated industry. This paper studies the basis of such conflicts, the resulting ambivalence for individuals, and what reconciliation is, or is not, being made.
Moderator: Dr. Bret Pimentel

DOM FLEMONS MASTER CLASS 4:00–5:00 pm | DMI Studio A
with students from the Department of Music and the DMI Coordinator: Tricia Walker

DINE AROUND TOWN 5:00–6:00 pm

Suggestions provided by the Cleveland/Bolivar Chamber of Commerce; reservations recommended.

MAIN PERFORMANCE: Dom Flemons 6:30–8:00 pm | DMI Studio A
GRAMMY Winner Dom Flemons
The “American Songster”

OPEN MIC/JAM SESSION  8:00–until | Mississippi Grounds

Visit Mississippi presents Blues in the Round

Join award-winning performing songwriters Dom Flemons, Tricia Walker, Dave Dunavent, and Travis Calvin for an intimate “in the round” acoustic event. A “pilgrim chair” will be open for invited conference guests to join in the music. Coordinator: Tricia Walker


REGISTRATION  9:00 am–2:00 pm | DMI Lobby
The registration and CD/book tables will be open. Musicians and writers are invited to bring items to sell.


Mississippi Blues Commission
Kempf Poole, Chair

Moderator: Dr. William Ferris Introductions: Dr. Rolando Herts

Special Proclamation: B.B. King – Mississippi’s Secretary of State of the Blues


By invitation only

LIGHTNIN’ TALKS 11:00 am–12:00 pm | DMI Studio A

Featuring DSU student contest finalists

A lightning talk is a short, entertaining presentation on a single topic, designed for a general audience.

Moderator: Dr. Shelley Collins

LUNCH 12:15–1:30 pm (on your own) PAPER SESSION: Poetry of the Blues   1:40–2:55 pm | DMI Studio A

Leila Rosen: Sterling Brown and the Spirit of the Blues
These poems show how a Howard University professor and son of a former slave, was influenced by the blues.

Poetry Reading: Sterling Plumpp and Alphonso Sanders
International blues poet and essayist Sterling Plumpp is currently writer-in-residence at Mississippi Valley State University. He will read his works in collaboration with Dr. Alphonso Sanders, woodwinds.

Moderator: Carolyn Ann Sledge

PAPER SESSION: Other Genres: The Influence of the Blues   1:40–2:55 pm | DMI 201
Dr. Erik Richards: The Representation of the Blues in the Wind Band Repertoire

This lecture explores the manner in which wind band composers have been influenced by the Blues, and how that influence is displayed in their works.

Max Stehr: Blues Connotation: Ornette Coleman and the Spirit of the Blues
An examination of the music of composer, saxophonist, and improviser Ornette Coleman from a blues perspective. Moderator: Dr. Karen Fosheim

PAPER SESSION: Jazz and the Blues 1:40–2:55 pm | DMI 201
Dr. Kelvin Whalen: Ma Rainey: A Columbus, Georgia Native’s Impact on the Development of Blues and Early Jazz Musicians within the Constructs of Artistic and Societal Pardigms of the late 1920s and early 1930s

This paper will examine the unique and vital role of Ma Rainey’s music in the formation of blues and early jazz styles set in motion post her retirement from the road and during her residence in Columbus, Georgia.

Alan Shapiro: Duke Ellington and the Blues: Tradition Honored and Transformed
Through Ellignton’s use of blues structures, harmonies and melodies, or sonorities we associate with the blues— wails, shrieks, growls, moans—we feel the blues tradition imaginatively and beautifully transformed in his music.

Moderator: Dr. Brian Becker

MISSISSIPPI BLUES TRAIL MARKER UNVEILING: Gospel Music & the Blues 3:00–4:00 pm | 302 Ruby Street
Hosted by Kelli Carr, Tourism Director, Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce

SOCIAL HOUR: Po’ Monkey’s  4:00–6:00 | Po’ Monkey’s Social Club
Join us at one of the last original rural juke joints in the South. Food available for purchase from Senator Willie Simmons’ food truck.

CONCERT: The Storytellers featuring Bobby Rush and James “Super Chikan” Johnson: Up Close and Personal

7:00 pm | BPAC

Presented by The International Delta Blues Project and the Bologna Performing Arts Center