Mississippi is heralded as the “Birthplace of America’s Music”. This is primarily due to the blues and its effect on all genres of music in America. In celebration of Mississippi’s Bicentennial, Pearl River Community College presents a night of blues history and music blues musician Wes Lee, music educator/historian Dr. Mark Malone, and blues musician Vasti Jackson.
For musician Wes Lee and his nearly life-long expanse of generating music, he admits, “I didn’t choose to play the blues, the blues chose me.” Late night song writing, countless shows across the country, driving city to city, and a thousand empty bottles, all the while holding tightly to the realization that he is supposed to do this. “It’s almost like a calling,” Wes admits, “because there’s nothing inside your head that would say, ‘Yes, get on the road and do what you love’ because that’s not where the blues reside. Not in your head, but more like in your soul.” Wes plays over 200 dates a year and sets himself apart from others with his drive and personal connection. He is always looking to reach that one person in the next audience that makes the whole thing worth it because he know that what flows through him is alive and well within others.
Dr. Mark Malone is professor of music coordinates the music education degree program at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS. Prior to joining the WCU faculty, Dr. Malone directed the choirs at Pearl River Community College for 21 years. In August 2012, Dr. Malone completed a stint as Curriculum Designer for the MS Art’s Commission’s NEA Mississippi Blues Grant Project. Centering on six units that include: Music, The Meaning of Blues, Cotton, Transportation, Politics/Civil Rights, and Media, the lesson plans geared to fourth-grade students. Malone’s latest work with the MS Arts Commission, entitled, “MS History Through the Arts: A Bicentennial Curriculum”, celebrates the two-hundredth anniversary of MS statehood with lesson plans for elementary, intermediate, and advanced students.
Grammy nominated world-renowned guitarist and vocalist, Mississippi living blues legend, Cultural ambassador, 2012 Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, and 2015 Albert King Lifetime Guitar Award recipient, Vasti Jackson is a powerful force in the world of music. With more than forty-three years as a professional musician, Vasti is known for sweat-drenched, sould-dripping live performances marked by some of the most stunning and innovative guitar playing today. Vasti’s stellar vocals, fiery guitar, and stage presence captures the triumph of the blues, and the joy of rhythm that is soul satisfying to all that are lucky enough to experience his music.
This official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.
Admission is free and all seating is General Admission. This event is NOT part of the Premier Season and not covered by Season Tickets.