I know writer Jim Dekoster didn’t know what would be happening now, back when he submitted his Dozens list “Winter Time Blues” for this issue, but he sure nailed it. There is nothing like an early winter storm to give you the blues. It was 16 degrees in Mississippi this week, and that’s just not right. I guess I should be glad I am not near Buffalo, New York, where they have had up to ten feet of snow in some spots.
I want to say thank you to everyone for their kind words about the special Mississippi Issue. The letters, comments and notes about LB #233 were very gratifying. There was an amazing amount of work that went into that issue, but knowing how well it has been received makes it all worthwhile. Hopefully the issue will serve as a guide to the Mississippi blues scene for many years to come.
This issue’s cover artist, Phil Wiggins, is a man who has gone through some very challenging times over the past five years. His longtime duo partner John Cephas died in 2009. Musical duos are special pairings, and Cephas & Wiggins were one of the tightest. Wiggins eventually paired with Piedmont guitarist Nat Reese, but Reese died in 2012. A lesser man might have tossed in the towel, but Wiggins has persevered. Rather than retreating, he has been expanding his musical horizons. He is currently playing in multiple bands and pairings, and his newest group, the Phil Wiggins House Party, is combining Piedmont blues and traditional dance.
Dallas-based soul singer Bobby Patterson has worked in almost every facet of the music industry: singer, songwriter, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, A&R man and label owner. His legendary voice is still in top form, and his recent release on Omnivore garnered rave reviews. Patterson looks back on his nearly 60 years in the music business with a unique insiders perspective.
You may not know Baton Rouge guitarist James Johnson’s name, but you do know his lick. That “chicken scratch” in Slim Harpo’s hit Baby, Scratch My Back is Johnson’s. After decades of work outside of music, James Johnson has finally released his first album.
I want to welcome my new associate editor Robin C. Dietrick to LB. Robin has some big shoes to fill after 20-plus-year veteran Katie Blount retired, but I am excited about working with her. I also want to welcome our new circulation manager Sarah Holder. She replaces Camilla Aikin, who moved on to work at the Frist Center in Nashville. Best of luck, Camilla, and thanks for all your hard work at LB.
The date for the 2015 Blues Today Symposium has been announced. This year’s symposium will focus on the North Mississippi Hill Country Blues scene. For further information see this issue’s Blues News, or go to www.livingblues.com.
I want to once again remind you about the digital side of Living Blues. Our digital issue is available for all phones, tablets and devices. You can purchase individual editions from iTunes and various digital newsstands. You can also subscribe to the LB digital edition alone or any print subscriber can sign up and receive the digital edition for free. In this issue’s edition you can listen to a playlist for Jim Dekoster’s “Winter Time Blues.” We will be expanding the playlists in future issues. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the happenings in the blues world between issues.
Brett J. Bonner