Roots music legend Dave Alvin, guitar wizard Bob Brozman and blues performer extraordinaire Alvin Youngblood Hart have been added to the stellar lineup of performing two nights of special tribute concerts saluting the music of the seminal American band, The Mississippi Sheiks, on March 13 and 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Presented by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad in partnership with Capilano University, the two nights will also feature performances by Grammy-nominee John Hammond, Van Dyke Parks (his first-ever shows in Canada), Geoff Muldaur, Danny Barnes, Jim Byrnes, Steve Dawson, Robin Holcomb, Oh Susanna and The Sojourners. Additional artists are expected to be announced. The all-star band backing up these artists for the shows will be Matt Chamberlain â€“ drums; Keith Lowe â€“ bass; Wayne Horvitz â€“ keyboards; Steve Dawson â€“ guitars; and Daniel Lapp â€“ fiddle.
The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concerts will be the last event for the Cultural Olympiad, the arts festival that takes place in conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver on February 12-28, and followed by the Paralympic Winter Games on March 12-21.
Black Hen Music president/producer/musician Steve Dawson is leading the charge to reintroduce the music of The Mississippi Sheiks to contemporary audiences. In October, the Juno Award-winning producer released Things About Cominâ€™ My Way, the critically-acclaimed tribute album with recordings by 17 world-renowned artists, 10 of whom will play live at these world premiere events. Things About Cominâ€™ My Way has been nominated for a Blues Music Award as â€œAcoustic Album of the Yearâ€ by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, where the winners will be announced on May 6.
The Mississippi Sheiks, a country and blues string band, has been called the Radiohead of its era, recording over 60 hugely influential songs between 1930 and 1935. Walter Vinson and Sam Chatmon formed the core of the band, with Samâ€™s two brothers, Lonnie and Armenter â€œBo Carterâ€ Chatmon, dropping in when they were in town. The group had a blockbuster hit with â€œSittinâ€™ On Top of the World,â€ which has since been covered by Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Cream, The Grateful Dead and dozens of others.
The Sheiks practically invented the string band concept in blues and roots music, but when the group disbanded, the Chatmon brothers returned to farming. Bo Carter, for one, died blind and destitute in 1964. At the peak of their popularity, however, they were enormously popular and even received a personal invitation to perform for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
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