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Blues Bash Saturday festival planned for April 4 as part of Delta Blues Symposium

March 6, 2009 -- A blues festival is planned for this year’s Delta Blues Symposium at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. Blues Bash Saturday will feature blues musicians and an open mike/jam session on Saturday afternoon, April 4, at ASU’s Heritage Plaza lounge, located within the Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro. The event is sponsored by the university’s English and Philosophy Department, KASU 91.9 FM, the Arkansas Folklife Program, and the Arkansas Delta Blues Society.

Memphis blueswoman Valerie June will perform at Blues Bash Saturday, April 4. Photo courtesy of Susan Riddle Duke Photography. show will begin at 12:30 p.m. with featured performers Valerie June, Terry ‘Harmonica’ Bean, and the Bluesberry Jam Band. At 2:30 p.m., the stage will be open for any musicians who want to perform blues tunes in an open microphone setting.  Following this session, an informal jam session will put the capstone on the annual symposium’s theme of “Celebrating a Century of Delta Culture.”

is blueswoman Valerie June will open the show. She plays the acoustic blues of early country blues artists and her own compositions. Describing her style as “organic moonshine roots music,” June has appeared at numerous events, including the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, KASU’s Blue Monday concert series, and Memphis’s River Arts Festival. She has recently appeared and performed on MTV’s Webisode series $5 Cover (online at $5 Cover is a series set in the clubs, all-night cafes and no-tell motels of present-day Memphis. It features a cast of young musicians as they work, live, and love, with all characters playing themselves and performing their own music.

Mississippi blues musician Terry ‘Harmonica’ Bean will take
Terry 'Harmonica' Bean will perform at Blues Bash Saturday, April 4. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gregory Hansen. the stage at 1:15 p.m. A native of Pontotoc, Bean is carrying on the Delta Blues tradition of his father, noted down-home blues player, Eddie Bean. He plays solo acts and with his blues band, and Bean has performed with many well-known Delta artists, including James ‘T-Model’ Ford, Asie Payton, and Lonnie Pitchford. He is consciously dedicated to “keeping alive” older styles of blues. “What’s stimulating to me,” he says, “is people hearing the blues played like they used to hear it.”

The Bluesberry Jam Band, of Jackson, Tenn., will take the stage at 2 p.m. The popular blues band formed five years ago from jam sessions in the Jackson area. They play Chicago-style urban blues, rhythm and blues, and a variety of other styles, and they are emerging as one of the most popular contemporary blues bands in Tennessee. Following their performance, they will back any interested singers or musicians attending the festival.

Blues Bash Saturday will be emceed by Mike Luster, director of ASU’s Arkansas Folklife Program.

For further information, contact the Department of English and Philosophy at (870) 972-3043 or visit the Web site All symposium events are free and open to the public.

For details, contact Dr. Gregory Hansen (, at (870) 972-3043.


Photo of Valerie June courtesy of Susan Riddle Duke Photography.
Photo of Terry 'Harmonica' Bean courtesy of Dr. Gregory Hansen.

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