East Texas Blues
The Blues are a part of East Texas as much as pine trees, Friday night football and Bar-B-Q. Many of America’s most influential blues musicians were from East Texas. Names like Blind Lemon Jefferson of Coutchman, T Bone Walker of Linden, Lightnin’ Hopkins of Centerville and Lil’ Son Jackson of Tyler were just a few of the Texas Bluesmen that helped develop the blues. African Americans cultivated this music form in the lumber camps, farms and oil fields of East Texas. This musical legacy is carried on today by young musicians like Rafael Espinoza and Mike Dyson.
Rafael is currently a scholarship student at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston. Originally from Golden, Texas, Rafael won the Texas All-State Jazz Guitar Title in 2009. Last Friday folks in Jefferson were able to enjoy a free concert by Rafael at the Jefferson General Store. Rafael’s 1 ½ hour solo concert included blues standards such as “Texas Flood” and “House of the Rising Sun.” Rafael also put a blues spin on a few Willie Nelson tunes such as “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
Mike Dyson, also known as Mr. Blue Shoes, travels the country with the Blue Shoe Project. The project teaches children, through music and a slide show, about the history of the Blues and its importance to our culture. Tuesday Mike was in Jefferson presenting the Blue Shoe Project at Jefferson Elementary. The Jefferson event was presented by the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest, with grant support from Target and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The T Bone Walker Blues Fest is an annual summer event that celebrates Linden’s native son, T Bone Walker. This year’s event, held at Music City Texas, will be held on June 22 and June 23. Performers at this year’s festival include Keb’ Mo’, Texas Johnny Brown, Robin and the Bluebirds, Rocky Lawrence and Jonathon “Boogie” Brown. Take a moment to check out their website, www.tbonewalkerbluesfest.com.
If your coming to the 7th Annual T Bone Walker Blues Fest please consider staying in the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas”, Jefferson. Jefferson is located only 15 minutes south of Music City Texas, off of Highway 59.