The State of Mississippi’s “Birthplace of America’s Music” campaign continues a tradition that dates back eight years as Mississippi Night at the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles is set for the evening of Thursday, February 9. Produced in conjunction with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi — the first GRAMMY Museum to be built outside of Los Angeles — the program takes place during the week leading up to the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards® and will be highlighted by performances from some of the state’s brightest musical lights, reflecting the great diversity of Mississippi music. In addition, the evening will be a celebration of two of Mississippi’s greatest gifts to American music: Meridian’s Jimmie Rodgers, “The Singing Brakeman” a/k/a The Father of Country Music and the groundbreaking Charley Pride, originally from Sledge, Miss. Both are 2017 recipients of The Recording Academy®’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Mississippi’s Governor Phil Bryant noted, “There aren’t two bigger pioneers of country music than Charley Pride and Jimmie Rodgers. We all should be honored they’ll forever be remembered for their lifetime of work.”
This year’s featured artists at Mississippi’s night at the GRAMMY Museum include Greenville’s “Delta Soul” practitioner Steve Azar, backed by his band The Kings Men. Also on board is the legendary Bobby Rush, a longtime resident of Jackson, Miss., whose Porcupine Meat is another Best Traditional Blues Album category nominee. It’s his fourth GRAMMY nomination in a career that dates back a phenomenal seven decades.
Luther Dickinson, based in Coldwater, Miss., will be joined that evening by Shardé Thomas, from Gravel Springs, Miss. The New York Times called her “the last living link to America’s fife and drum blues music,” an acknowledgement of the fact that she is a virtuoso of the homemade cane fife and is the granddaughter of Mississippi Hill Country legend Otha Turner. This year, Dickinson is also a GRAMMY nominee in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for his album Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook, Vols. 1-2 that includes guest performances from Mavis Staples and Jason Isbell. Dickinson, as part of the North Mississippi Allstars, has previously garnered three Best Contemporary Blues Album category GRAMMY nominations and two Best Folk Album nominations for his participation in Onward and Upward by The Sons of Mudboy as well as his own previous solo album Hambone’s Meditations.
Lastly, the evening will feature a performance from Vasti Jackson, a 59th GRAMMY® nominee in the Best Traditional Blues Album category for The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers, a salute to the blues roots of “The Singing Brakeman.” Since the inception of the first Mississippi Night at the GRAMMY Museum in 2010, it became apparent that the connection between Mississippi music and the GRAMMYs is a singular one. That connection catalyzed the nation’s second GRAMMY Museum, this one in Cleveland, Miss., that opened just this past spring. It’s the most technologically-advanced music museum in the South and a beacon to those who continue to come to Mississippi to discover the root of America’s music. While it’s natural that Mississippi is associated with the blues, it must be noted that a wide range of artists from other genres including opera, rock, gospel and country have represented GRAMMY wins by artists with roots in the state including Elvis Presley, Leontyne Price, Faith Hill and many others.
“This event truly highlights and celebrates Mississippi and its music history by showcasing Mississippi artists during GRAMMY Week,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “We are thrilled to have so many of our GRAMMY-nominated artists performing this year”.
Jon Hornyak, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter that encompasses members residing in Mississippi, commented, “With close to 60 GRAMMY Award winners in a wide variety of genres, the state’s incredible influence is undeniable. Mississippi’s program at the GRAMMY Museum confirms this fact in a very real way.” Experts contend that, certainly on a per capita basis, the state of Mississippi has long been the leader in GRAMMY Awards received.
This year’s Mississippi Night at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles is the latest installment of a yearly event that has seen numerous high profile performers take the stage in the Clive Davis Theater. Over the years, these participating artists have included David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin, the Williams Brothers, Shannon McNally, Jimbo Mathus, Marty Stuart, Steve Forbert, North Mississippi Allstars, Mac McAnally, James Burton, Norbert Putnam as well the aforementioned Bobby Rush.
About GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
Built and operated by the Cleveland Music Foundation — a non-profit organization developed in 2011 — the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Similar to its sister Museum — the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE — GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape. For more information about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit www.grammymuseumms.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @GRAMMYMuseumMS on Twitter and Instagram, and like “GRAMMY Museum Mississippi” on Facebook. For behind-the-scenes access, add us on Snapchat at GRAMMYMuseumMS.
The GRAMMY Museum event is a function of the Mississippi Development Authority Visit Mississippi, the state’s tourism office. MDA focuses on new business recruitment, existing business expansion, workforce training and tourism promotion. MDA also houses the Mississippi Film Office, which boasts one of the strongest incentive programs in the country – a 25-35% cash rebate on spend and payroll. The Mississippi Film Office is the state’s arm for resources and assistance from pre-production to wrap including location scouting, research, and finding local crew, cast and equipment. For more information, visit MDA’s website at www.mississippi.org