Press Release - February 15, 2018
The Historical Society is pleased to present a special exhibit for Black History Month: Louisiana Blues - A Century of African American Influence. The exhibit features the fascinating stories of sixteen Louisiana bluesmen, several of whom with ties to the Felicianas.
West Feliciana Parish is proud to be home to Lil Jimmy Reed. Born Leon Atkins and raised in a small shack in Hardwood, Lil Jimmy earned his moniker after filling in for bluesman, Jimmy Reed. And so began his long career as an authentic Louisiana bluesman. His photograph was the perfect inspiration for our publicity flier - you can almost hear his music come off the page.
Blues music told the rural story of oppression, hard work, broken hearts, misfortune, and struggle. Early blues musicians usually played guitar and harmonica. Some used percussion. The important thing was that the song told the story. Most songs were passed along orally; few were written down or recorded until the early 1900s. Songs that resembled the blues music we know today were played in the late 19th and early 20th century and some called them “ditties.”
The exhibit explores the impact Louisiana bluesman had on the local, national and international music scene. In many cases, their music was far more appreciated in other countries than in the America. Nonetheless, the influence their music had on other genres was, and continues to be far reaching. Recording artists from Eric Clapton to Kurt Cobain often touted the inspiration of these gritty and soulful musicians on their own music.
The exhibit, which was carefully researched and curated by Cliff Deal, opens on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 6:30pm.