Troy University bringing educational element to Wiregrass Blues Fest

Posted: Wednesday, 06 April 2016

TROY - Troy University is helping spread awareness of Alabama's rich blues history through the Wiregrass Blues Fest.

TROY and the Wiregrass Blues Society will deliver a free educational presentation and concert Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at The Studio in Troy.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, features Debbie Bond, cofounder of the Alabama Blues Project, and this year's living honoree, Little Jimmy Reed.

Reed, who lives in Enterprise, has played blues professionally for more than half a century. His guitar, harmonica and vocal work have made him a staple of the Wiregrass music scene, and he has also extensively toured internationally with stints in Europe, Israel and Lebanon.

The day before, the "Blues in Schools" program comes to Mixon Elementary in Ozark.

This will feature educational material from Dr. Kirk Curnutt, an English professor at TROY's Montgomery Campus, and a performance by Alabama Blues Project cofounder Debbie Bond and friends.

The program, which is not open to the general public, will take students through the history of the blues, with a specific focus on Alabama's blues history.

"The history of the blues is often focused on Mississippi, Memphis and Chicago, but there's actually a really rich history of blues here in Alabama," said Dr. Jeneve Brooks, an assistant professor of sociology at TROY's Dothan Campus and an organizer of the Wiregrass Blues Fest. "We want people to recognize that and celebrate it."

The Wiregrass Blues Fest is sponsored by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.