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Delta Symposium XVI presents grand finale with Bluegrass Morning/Blues Bash Afternoon, April 10

March 17, 2010 -- Radio station KASU’s Blue Monday and Bluegrass Monday events come together on Saturday, April 10 at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro’s 16th annual Delta Symposium. This special outdoor event, “Bluegrass Morning/Blues Bash Afternoon,” closes out the symposium and features bluegrass bands, blues acts, and an open mike-jam session that will showcase musicians from the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. At 9:30 a.m., a pre-event jam session for bluegrass pickers will begin at Heritage Plaza, an outdoor area on the east side of ASU’s Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, Jonesboro. The opening band begins at 10:30 a.m., and the music continues until 4 p.m. The ASU Student Union Auditorium will be available as a rain location.

Tennessee Boltsmokers and 2 Mule Plow  will open up the show at 10:30 a.m. with sets of traditional and progressive bluegrass music. The afternoon features Mississippi Delta bluesmen Bill Abel and ‘Cadillac’ John Nolden’s guitar and harmonica country blues act and closes with the deep Delta Blues of Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes. After the sets by the featured performers, the stage will be turned over to an open-mike performance2 Mule Plow supported by the Northeast Arkansas Delta Blues Society of Jonesboro and KASU 91.9 FM. Musicians attending the event will be welcome to perform onstage as solo acts or with back-up provided by symposium participants.

2 Mule Plow and members of the Tennessee Boltsmokers have performed at KASU’s Bluegrass Monday concerts. Both bands are known for their hard-driving bluegrass sound and for their intricate instrumentals and rich harmonies. KASU is especially excited to feature these two bands because both are based out of Memphis, and their repertory of bluegrass tunes shows a strong influence from the Mississippi Delta’s rich cultural tradition. Bill Abel and ‘Cadillac’ John Nolden are country blues players from the Clarksdale, Miss. area. Abel is an excellent guitarist and vocalist, and ‘Cadillac’ John Nolden is a virtuoso blues harmonica player. Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes owns and often performs in one of the o
Jimmy 'Duck' Holmes, courtesy of Jeff Konkel and Broke and Hungry Records.ldest juke joints in the Delta -- the Blue Front in Bentonia, Miss.  Holmes grew up in a sharecropper’s family, and his guitar style and vocals show the direct influence of early blues artists from the Bentonia area, including Jack Owens and Skip James.

“Bluegrass Morning/Blues Bash Afternoon” is one of several events, and this year’s program beg
ins on Wednesday, April 7, at ASU’s Reng Student Services Center/Student Union Student Union Building.  The theme for this year’s event is “Region Tennessee Boltsmokersand the Politics of Culture,” and the event will offer a variety of presentations, including panels, musical and theatrical performances, keynote speakers, and readings/signings by prominent authors and poets. The Delta Symposium has been coordinated through ASU’s English and Philosophy Department for the past sixteen years. The symposium is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and all events are free and open to the public. 

For more information, contact Dr. Gregory Hansen (ghansen@astate.eMorgan Freeman's club, Ground Zero, is typical of clubs and juke joints throughout the Mississippi Delta. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gregory Hansen. du), Department of English and Philosophy, Symposium Committee, at (870) 972-3043. 

From top, 2 Mule Plow, Jimmy 'Duck' Holmes, courtesy of Broke and Hungry Records, and the Tennessee Boltsmokers.
Morgan Freeman's club, Ground Zero, Clarksdale, Miss., is typical of clubs and juke joints throughout the Mississippi Delta.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Gregory Hansen.

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