Who are the people in your neighborhood?
I've been thinking a lot about the people who inspire us.
Mr. Martin Tribble from the Old Time Farmer's Market is inspiring his grandkids' friends to start gardening; my grandparents inspired me.
While planning this super-cool "first" Live From Clarksdale virtual concert-meets-roadtrip, I've been walking up Delta Ave. humming "Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood" -- yes, from Sesame Street. Because Clarksdale and what we're doing here kinda feels like that.
Remember it? What an inspiration for combining music, education and FUN.
Chandra at Crossroads Cultural Arts Center reminded me that all these blues musicians who play the music of their mentors, are carrying forth a centuries-old tradition. They're sharing oral histories, and musical styles -- from one generation to the next. That's how the blues was born.
And who knew Sesame Street could be so prescient? Check out this clip of an essential health care worker & grocery delivery -- kale and brussels sprouts -- IN 1970!! (edit: clip in comments)
Roger Stolle sometimes jokes that downtown Clarksdale is like Sesame Street... but IT'S TRUE! In the best of ways: we're a community of characters, in an endearing neighborhood that at any minute, could burst into song.
We're having FUN putting together this virtual experience that'll be as educational as it is musical. It'll share the story of our town, and all the good work our neighbors are doing here.
Look for cameos from Bluestown Music, the Auberge Clarksdale Hostel, Quapaw Canoe Company, Meraki Roasting Company and a few other neighbors along the way. Because they're literally along the way, right next door or across the street, and this is a place where we stop and say hi. Front porches are REAL in neighborhoods where people love each other.
Chandra and our neighbors will share stories behind the music as I stream live for 4hrs straight 4-8pm Saturday (assuming I can get the dirt out of my fingernails in time). It'll be a virtual "experience" that's both cutting-edge and old-school.
The event is titled "Blues at the Crossroads: a celebration of where we came from, and where we are going."
There are intentionally many layers to that name, "Blues at the Crossroads":
The literal Crossroads of Blues Highways 61 and 49, and the allegorical story behind the blues born there.
The literal crossroads in the Americana Music Triangle, or any classic roadtrip.
The historical crossroads of the blues inspiring 9 distinct genres of music, from country to R&B to rock n' roll.
The human crossroads behind the evolution of music: how we pass our craft, and our stories, inter-generationally from mentor to student.
This present cultural moment for Clarksdale's downtown revitalization: many of us feel we're at a crossroads in our town's development. Blues tourism is a catalyst, but so is the amazing work of nonprofits and small businesses -- and all the people in our neighborhood.
"They're the people that you meet, when you're walking down the street -- they're the people that you meeeet eeeach day!"
Whether online or on your front porch, see y'all soon.
Screenshot of Bob and the grocer singing "Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood" on Sesame Street in 1970