Celebrating Tate County’s Blues Legacy at Senatobia Blues and Brews


On November 4, 2017, Senatobia launched its inaugural Blues and Brews festival in Gabbert Park, in unusually warm and wet weather. In fact, dense fog enveloped the whole park, and made it hard to see the crowd from the stage area. But a small crowd braved the wet (although not technically rainy) weather to celebrate the unveiling of an historic marker in honor of Sid Hemphill, and the rededication of another to Black country pioneer O. B. McClinton, as well as beer, good food, and great blues. Of particular interest was the opening performer, Glen Faulkner, a master of the one-string guitar from the Gravel Springs community, which was also home to the better-known Otha Turner and his fife-and-drum band. Faulkner has been recorded little, perhaps because he doesn’t sing, and clearly was not feeling his best, having to be helped onto the stage. But once on stage, he demonstrated his absolute mastery of his somewhat unusual instrument, treating the audience to his version of Hill Country standards like “My Babe” and “When I Lay My Burdens Down.” Faulkner was followed by Little Joe Ayers, one of the original generation of Hill Country bluesmen who for many years was part of Junior Kimbrough’s band, and then by Kent Burnside, one of R. L. Burnside’s grandsons, who rarely appears in this part of the country, although he performs frequently in the Midwest and internationally. Mark “Muleman” Massey was next on the lineup, followed by Garry Burnside and his girlfriend Beverly Davis, along with the seldom-seen guitarist Joe Burnside, to close the evening’s festivities. There were quite a few local food vendors as well, including Alma Jean’s Southern Kookin and Bliss Handcrafted Ice Cream. It was a memorable night of blues on an unusually warm day in November.









2 Replies to “Celebrating Tate County’s Blues Legacy at Senatobia Blues and Brews”

  1. I am trying to get information about when and where Glen Faulkner performs. I have been trying to see him play for years. Do you have any information for me to contact him or knows if he plays regularly at any venues? Your assistance would be deeply appreciated.

    1. Unfortunately, his performances are few and far between. His unexpected appearance at the event I described above was the first time I had ever seen him perform. Because he is not a singer, he rarely appears in public. In addition, he is getting up in age, and seemed to be feeling poorly the night he did perform in Senatobia. But my advice is to keep an eye on blues festivals in Mississippi, particularly the Hill Country Picnic in June near Holly Springs, the Otha Turner Picnic, which is held at Gravel Springs where Glen Faulkner is from, and the R. L. Boyce Birthday Picnic in Como in August. Perhaps he will be scheduled on one of these.

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