Seventeen years of incredible blues continues in Thomson this year, as the lineup for the 2010 Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival has been confirmed. This year's names are bigger than ever, according to organizer Don Powers.
The event's headliner is Little Feat, and the lineup includes old blues players Charlie Musselwhite and Magic Slim, along with Americana musician Justin Townes Earle, blues band Delta Moon and Georgia musicians Odafe Trio.
"It's strong. It's as strong as we've had in a long time," Mr. Powers said. "It's diverse with a variety of artists, not just blues."
Little Feat is an American rock band formed by singer-songwriter and guitarist Lowell George in 1969. The band has undergone several changes in its lineup over the years, but the music genre remains a blend of rock and roll, blues, country, folk, R&B, funk and jazz fusion. With recordings too numerous to count, including gold and platinum, the band has appeared on Saturday Night Live and is promoted by Jimmy Buffett. According to their Web site, prominent musicians that have recorded some of the music of Little Feat include Garth Brooks, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, The Radiators, Linda Ronstadt, Van Halen, Jimmy Buffet and many more.
"They're developing new fans all across the music spectrum," Mr. Powers said. "We normally don't spend this much money for talent, and it's kind of a gamble. But they are a big name."
Charlie Musselwhite is one of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s and has released more than 20 albums. He has six Grammy nominations, won two Grammy awards, 14 W.C. Handy awards, as well as many other awards in the blues and jazz music world.
Magic Slim and the Teardrops also rose to fame in the '60s. In 2003, they won the W.C. Handy Award as "Blues Band of the Year" for the sixth time.
"Musselwhite and Magic Slim are great pedigreed blues players," Mr. Powers said. "They are really older guys, first-generation blues players who are still out there doing it."
Justin Townes Earle is a young Americana musician with three albums under the Bloodshot label. Most recently, Mr. Earle received an Americana Music Award as "Emerging Artist of the Year."
"He's got a big buzz going for him. He's going to be strong," Mr. Powers said.
Delta Moon's Tom Gray was named American Roots Music Association's 2008 Blues Songwriter of the Year. He forms a duo of slide guitars with Mark Johnson. The band's music blends Mississippi blues with mountain music wrapped with rock. A bassist and drummer round out the quartet, which has played before at the Blues Festival, according to Mr. Powers.
Opening the day will be the Odafe Trio -- three music students at Valdosta State University -- who Mr. Powers describes as a "jazz/funk trio."
Each year, the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival brings more than a thousand visitors to Thomson to hear great musicians and to pay tribute to country blues legend Willie McTell. This year's festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 15.
Mr. Powers said the Web site, www.blindwillie.com, is currently being reconstructed, but will be back online Monday "with a whole new look."