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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Kids learn Blues from John Dee Holeman

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Diggin': "Sweet Home Chicago
Will Dawson, John Dee, Tim Duffy
I took John Dee Holeman to play for the Elementary and Middle School students at Orange County Charter School yesterday. It was wonderful to see the kids fascinated with the John Dee's Piedmont Blues, accompanied by Tim Duffy and Will Dawson, the school's elementary music teacher. The younger students wildly clapped during songs, mouths open in awe, absorbing the music. When Tim asked John Dee to explain the Blues, he said "Well, the blues, it's a feelin' you have. When I was young, the work was hard, and the pay was low... you might be upset, but you couldn't get real mad, you know. The blues, it's a feelin'."

One of the things I love most about working at Music Maker is helping people discover our artists, and the music they play. This was one of those great times - however, what I don't see as often is a giant group of kids ages six to ten playing "Sweet Home Chicago" as a tribute to John Dee. One group played ukeleles, another group played xylophones, and the first and second graders sang and danced. John Dee played along, took a guitar solo, and smiled at the enthusiasm of the whole group. It was really a great morning, and I hope we can see that again sometime!

Here's John Dee's version of "Sweet Home Chicago," for your enjoyment.

-- Corinne 
John Dee Holeman -  Sweet Home Chicago 
Ironing Board Sam heads to the high seas!

Ironing Board Sam

Ironing Board Sam is heading out on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise next week to play alongside a lineup that includes MMRF Board Members the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Advisory Board Members Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and more!

This is a busy month for Sam - he's just back from the Southern Mississippi Roots Festival and the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival - speaking of which, did you see this piece in the Times-Picayune? - and then he's got Capitol Blues Night and the Cruise to finish out October.

Music Maker's Musical Development Program helps Sam and other artists by booking these gigs, coordinating travel, and making sure all details are taken care of.

Sam is thrilled to be working so much, and as he told the Times-Picayune, "I'm going to be around for a long, long time." We're looking forward to see Sam play for a long, long time!
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Whitney, John Dee Holeman & Joan Go to Richmond!
John Dee Holeman - Jimmy Williams The moment we walked into the hotel's large hospitality room, John Dee Holeman was recognized and approached by who I would later learn was Phil Wiggins, a musician who would be playing the harmonica alongside John Dee at the Richmond Folk Festival all weekend. At the time, I was just sure that John Dee was a huge celebrity and suddenly, now that I was out in the world with him, I was seeing it. This happened several more times over the course of the weekend -- whether he was approached by musicians who knew him from way-back-when or just enthusiastic festival-goers--even culminating in what felt like a press scrum (but was in reality a couple of festival volunteers and a couple of enthusiastic fans) slowing us down as we tried to get from one stage to another.

John Dee played four short sets during the festival, all with Phil and Music Maker artist Algia Mae Hinton's son, Williete, who demonstrated buck dance for the audience. His sets were full of soulful blues songs and easily danceable John Dee originals like "Chapel Hill Boogie." At his last set of the weekend, he and the guys were joined by blues artist Super Chikan and Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-chas for a "Blues House Party," which packed the field stage with at least a couple thousand audience members (out of an estimated 200,000 in attendance for the whole festival) and had the air and energy of a rock concert.

As we were walking out the door Sunday evening to start our drive back to North Carolina, John Dee was stopped by another enthusiastic fan who wanted to buy some CDs and have them signed. It was rewarding for the festival weekend to be bookended by these little moments of satisfaction, the type of interactions with people that lets you know yes, people are listening and yes, they care.

-- Whitney

Cary Morin and Leyla McCalla
Next Generation Artists Cary Morin and Leyla McCalla
Photo of the Week by Tim Duffy
Don't have tickets yet? Get them now for the new Capitol Blues Night!
Cap Blues 1024 poster Cool John Ferguson, Captain Luke, Ironing Board Sam, Big Ron Hunter and Sol perform with the Music Maker Blues Revue!

Tickets on sale now for October 24th!
Get them
Upcoming Shows: Click here for more info on upcoming events 
10/19-10/21 - Robert Lee Coleman, Ironing Board Sam, Nashid Abdul Khaaliq, Big Ron Hunter, Ardie Dean- Blues at the Crossroads, Salina, KS
10/25 - Ironing Board Sam - The Crunkleton, Chapel Hill, NC
10/27- 11/2- Ironing Board Sam, Carolina Chocolate Drops - Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
11/02 - John Dee Holeman - They Eddy Pub, Saxapahaw, NC
11/02 - Albert White - Northside Tavern, Atlanta, GA
11/08 - Ironing Board Sam - The Crunkelton, Chapel Hill, NC
11/09 - Ironing Board Sam - The Depot, Hillsborough, NC
11/11 - George Higgs -  Pinecone Music of the Carolinas, NCMoH, Raleigh, NC
11/15 - Ironing Board Sam - The Crunkleton, Chapel Hill, NC
11/17 - Lakota John and Kin - American Indian Heritage Festival, NCMo, Raleigh, NC
11/22 - Ironing Board Sam - The Crunkleton, Chapel Hill, NC
11/29 - Ironing Board Sam - The Crunkleton, Chapel Hill, NC
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recognition and meet their day to day needs. We present these musical traditions to the world so American culture will flourish and be preserved for future generations.       

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