Special to The Mirror
The lineup for the 18th annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival, to be held on Saturday, May 21, has been announced.
This year's roster features headliner and closing act Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and includes Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth, Jimmy Hall & the Prisoners of Love featuring Jack Pearson, the Georgia Horns featuring Chris Crenshaw and Marcus Printup, Jack Pearson, Atlanta's Mark Miller & Travelin Shoes, and Crosstie Walkers, according to the Activities Council of Thomson.
The jazzy, funk side of blues will be represented at the festival by New Orleans native Troy Andrews, or Trombone Shorty, and his combo Orleans Avenue. Mr. Andrews' latest disc, Backatown, released in 2010, was nominated for a Grammy.
"What we do is just another word for 'gumbo.' ... We make different music fit in one mixture that has a funky and huge rock edge to it," he says.
Four-time Grammy nominee Marcia Ball and her combo have earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world. Her piano playing and passionate, playful vocals fuse New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B with Austin's deep songwriting tradition into a sound all her own. Her latest release, Peace, Love & BBQ, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Charts.
The annual one-day fest will be held at the regular festival site, on Stagecoach Road, 300 yards off Washington Highway, north of Thomson.
The event pays tribute to Mr. McTell, a Thomson native son and country blues legend.
Crosstie Walkers, from Thomson, will be opening up again this year and another act with local roots, the Georgia Horns, has been put together especially for the festival.
It features Thomson's Crenshaw on trombone and Printup, of Conyers, Ga., on trumpet.
An array of vendors will be serving traditional Southern food and beverages. Carry-in food and drink will not be allowed.
Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Advance tickets for the Saturday afternoon show will cost $25.
Tickets will go on sale in mid-March, and will be available at the chamber of commerce office and online at www.blindwillie.com.
For more information, visit www.blindwillie.com or the Blind Willie McTell page on Facebook.