Eleventh Annual Workshop Experience 2020
June 09, 2020 - June 12, 2020
Hopson Plantation and Shack Up Inn - Clarksdale, MS
For piano, guitar, bass, drums and harmonica, professional Blues musicians will present the music and techniques for playing it. Sorry, no beginning students allowed. Everyone needs to already have a basic knowledge of their instrument. We won't be starting from scratch. Any musician who has been playing seriously for a year or so should be able to make a lot of progress in his or her Blues playing. We require at least two years experience for piano workshop participants.
Workshops are open to the young and young at heart - adults welcome!
Scholarships are available for youth ages 12 to 21.
2020 Workshop Interns
Musical Director - Bob Margolin
I’ll ramble through the piano, harmonica, and guitar workshops and impart the how’s and why’s of “playing well with others.” I’ll tell personal stories, more than history, about the Blues legends who are my friends — from Muddy and Pinetop to Stevie Ray to today’s Blues stars. I’ll meet, jam, and socialize with the workshoppers to help them find their own Blues and get what they want from the classes and our real Blues Club concert at the famous Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale.
It’s a thrill and honor for me to be teacher, collaborator, and friend with the workshoppers and their families. The Clarksdale Blues ghosts smile down on all of us.
Harmonica - Billy Branch
Blues giant Billy Branch is among today's greatest harmonica players. With his inventive, deeply rooted playing and gritty, soulful vocals, Branch carries on the Chicago blues tradition that he learned first-hand from icons including Big Walter Horton, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell, Willie Dixon and many others. His famous teachers made it clear to anyone who would listen that Branch was the heir apparent to the Chicago blues harmonica throne.
With his instantly recognizable sound and his band, The Sons Of Blues, Branch has traveled the world, creating living, breathing and evolving Chicago blues for over four decades. In addition, he's dedicated years of work to the Blues In The Schools program, helping children—the next generation of blues artists and fans—develop a love for and understanding of the genre.
Piano -Victor Wainwright
Though his career began over a decade ago with genuine boogie-woogie rock n' roll honky-tonk, Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of PIANO BLUES. His insatiable interest in music discovery and sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world. The resulting perspective is a reflection of his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music and blues in an effort to move the art-form forward. Composer, producer, vocalist, entertainer and award winning piano player; Victor Wainwright is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare.
“For the past three years straight I have been nominated for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year award by the Blues Music Foundation. For the last two years, I’ve won. I will gladly and eagerly share with you all of what I know regarding the deeper aspects of how to really play blues piano, especially understanding “the intent” behind the notes you play. Soloing and accompanying blues piano will become much easier when you understand how to approach the bigger picture, and how the piano fits you and/or a band. I’ll share with you rifts and licks, and most importantly, I will help you dig deeper in understanding what’s “behind the notes.”
Guitar - Fiona Boyes
I am honored to join you all at the 2018 Pinetop Perkins Foundation Workshop. My musical journey began in Australia, deeply bedded in the country blues finger-picking style. Starting as a solo acoustic performer, it was not long before I took up electric guitar too. As a songwriter and musician, I appreciate the inspiration that comes from different instruments, sounds and textures, so it seems natural to play both. I made my first visit to the US in 2003, winning the solo/duo section of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Winning the IBC opened up some wonderful opportunities, enabling me to spend more time in America. Not only did I get to meet some of my blues heroes - including the legendary Pinetop Perkins - but also had the invaluable chance to play, listen and learn from them. Pinetop recorded a song with me on one of my albums, and we spent some time hanging out in Austin too. These moments, along with visiting and touring with Hubert Sumlin are some of my sweetest memories.
Over the years I’ve toured widely, performing at blues, jazz, and guitar festivals, clubs, and cultural centers in16 different countries. I’ve received 7 Blues Music Award nominations, across traditional, acoustic and contemporary categories, and recently won a Blues Blast Music Award for my latest album ‘Professin’ the Blues’.
A reviewer once described my music as a ‘blues road trip’ with influences from many traditional styles of blues; acoustic, electric, West Coast, Chicago, New Orleans, Delta, Mississippi Hills… Recently my albums have also showcased some interesting instruments such as National Reso-Lectric baritone and unique cigar-box guitars.
Previously, I’ve taught guitar and blues songwriting courses at Augusta Blues Week and Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch - and in my experience there’s something about getting an enthusiastic bunch of like-minded musicians together in the same place that creates a great energy. I’d like to explore some of my musical influences with workshop participants – including the hallmarks of different blue styles, incorporating double stops, bends, dissonance and dynamics – with the aim of extending ourselves musically and having fun.
Inspiration comes in many packages – let’s play the Blues!