LONGVIEW – The T-Bone Walker Blues Fest will be held June 3-4 in the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center in Longview. Headline artists appearing at the 11th annual Blues Festival will include three-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’. The visionary roots music storyteller’s recent album, “BLUESAmericana” was awarded the Blues Music Association’s Best Contemporary Blues Album of 2015. Keb’ Mo” and his three-piece band will headline the Friday night program June 3.
Opening for Keb’ Mo’ on Friday night will be Toronto, Ontario blues guitarist, singer, music historian Danny Marks. Marks may be known to local blues fans as the host of an acclaimed documentary series “Cities in Blue” that featured stories of numerous blues musicians, including many from Texas.
A fan favorite from the 2015 festival, The Eric Gales Band, will be returning for both Friday and Saturday night performances. Other returning artists, from the 2014 and 2015 events, will be Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Buddy Flett, Matthew Davidson Band, the Ally Venable Band, and Jimmy Wallace and the Stratoblasters.
He was a transformational figure in blues and rock music development, and is a member of both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Aaron Thibeaux Walker was born May 28, 1910 in the Bear Creek Community near Linden, Texas. T-Bone’s father, Rance, and his mother, Movelia, were both musicians who separated not long after T-Bone was born. T-Bone once said that his earliest memory was hearing his mother play blues guitar on the front porch. Music played a large role in his mother’s life and she undoubtedly influenced his development as a versatile performer.
With “Thibeaux” for a middle name, it was a sure bet that sooner or later someone was going to call him “T-Bone.” They did and it stuck. In 1929, when he cut his first record (a song called “Wichita Falls Blues” in Dallas, he was billed as Oak Cliff T-Bone, and he was known as T-Bone ever since to countless blues lovers around the world.
Before he was a teen, his family moved to Dallas because his mother wanted them to escape the drudgery of field work. In the big city, T-Bone was thrust into a musical community that included Blind Lemon Jefferson and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter. The young T-Bone guided Blind Lemon Jefferson around Dallas, absorbing Blind Lemon’s style and touch and perfecting a sensibility to blues melodic construction that would ultimately establish T-Bone himself as a master and an innovator, often imitated but never surpassed.
T-Bone’s popularity as a versatile song and dance man continued to grow in Dallas and throughout East Texas. After cutting his first record in 1929, he was on the fast track to develop a national audience. But with the Great Depression came hard times for musicians, and T-Bone supported himself as a street musician, working with his friend Charlie Christian. They worked the street corners in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, passing the hat for tips.
The festival is a fundraiser for the nonprofit corporation whose mission is to showcase contemporary blues musicians and promote a strong future for ‘The Blues’ genre.
Ticket information and music performance schedules are available at the website www.T-BoneWalkerBluesFest.com.