Celebrating the Legacy of Junior Kimbrough in Holly Springs

Marshall County, Mississippi is recognized as the home of the Hill Country blues, and the home of its two greatest exponents, Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. So it was entirely fitting that this year, one of Junior’s sons, Robert Kimbrough, put together an event to celebrate the life and legacy of his father, the Kimbrough Cotton Patch Blues Festival. Over several days, the event featured an exhibition of photographs at Rust College in Holly Springs, a guitar workshop, a jam session and a Sunday afternoon concert on an outdoor stage adjacent to the old VFW Hut on West Valley Avenue. On Mother’s Day afternoon, with impeccable weather, a crowd gathered to enjoy authentic Hill Country blues from Robert Kimbrough Sr. and the Blues Connection, Little Joe Ayers (who had played with Junior), Dan Russell, Memphis Gold, Cameron Kimbrough, Leo Bud Welch, R. L. Boyce with Carlos Elliot Jr and Lightnin Malcolm, and the Kimbrough Brothers, featuring Robert, Kinney and David Kimbrough. Young drummer and guitarist Cameron Kimbrough is a grandson of Junior and son of drummer Kinney Kimbrough, and was especially impressive on drums with Memphis Gold and Leo Bud Welch. Altogether, it was an amazing day of some of the best blues Mississippi has to offer.

Robert Kimbrough and the Blues Connection Live at Cat Head #jukejointfest @VisitClarksdale

The legendary Junior Kimbrough’s son Robert fronts a Hill Country blues band called the Blues Connection, and they went up on the stage in front of Cat Head Delta Blues at noon during the Juke Joint Fest. The band has a new EP called Battlefield which they were selling at Juke Joint Fest this year, and they performed songs from it, including the traditional-sounding “Can I Smell You?” and the more soul-oriented title track “Battlefield.” Robert Kimbrough and the Blues Connection also hosts a weekly event each Sunday night at a club called The Hut in Holly Springs. The doors open at 6 PM, the event runs “until”, and admission is $5.