Brownsville will be celebrating the blues Saturday, July 20, when two of West Tennessee's most noted bluesmen take the stage at the Delta Heritage Center. Dr. David Evans, known as the "doctor of the Blues," and Elmo Lee Thomas, one of this region's top harmonica players, will perform live on the porch of the Sleepy John Estes home beginning at 7 p.m. Brownsville's own 17-year-old Kelsey Byars will also perform during the summer music series "Concert on the Porch."
Evans has been performing country blues since 1962, having learned directly from many of the old southern blues musicians. One of those musicians was Brownsville bluesman Hammie Nixon. Evans toured with Nixon for five years. He is currently Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Memphis and is a specialist in American folk music, particularly the blues. In 2003, Evans won a Grammy Award for "Best Album Notes." He performs in Europe and South America, and can also be seen performing across the Mid-south with the Last Chance Jug Band.
Joining Evans on the porch will be Elmo Lee Thomas. Thomas is also a member of the Last Chance Jug Band and has been a driving force behind one of the Mid-South's most popular band, Elmo and the Shades, for over 30 years. He is a Memphis native and attracts both young and old to his performances.
"We're excited to have Dr. David and Elmo back on the porch," says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark. "Both were here a couple of years ago and it's magical to listen to them sitting on Sleepy's porch and singing some of the same songs that Sleepy would have performed."
Following Evans and Thomas will be Brownsville's own Kelsey Byars. Seventeen year old Byars has a strong bluesy voice that is perfect for renditions of favorite rhythm and blues hits. Byars has performed at the Exit 56 Blues Fest as well as past Concerts on the Porch. She is a true Haywood County talent.
Bleacher seating is available or bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concert. Drinks and snacks will be on site. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.
Concerts are presented free to the public each month on the third Saturday, through September, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. For a complete schedule of upcoming concerts, visit www.westtnheritage.com.