Press Register - Clarksdale, MS, USA
By Andy Ross
Friday, April 24, 2009 12:55 PM CDT
Those who showed up Tuesday evening at the Delta Blues Museum were in for a musical treat from one of the all-time blues harmonica greats.
During an opening reception for a new exhibit, “Charlie Musselwhite: Son of Mississippi, Citizen of the World,” Musselwhite performed with his band and mingled with the large crowd of locals and blues enthusiasts.
A number of those who gathered to see the exhibit were blues fans/tourists soaking up as much of Clarksdale as they could following the previous weekend’s Juke Joint Festival.
John Henshall, a city planner from Australia was one such individual who said he credits an encounter he had with Musselwhite as part of the reason for returning to Clarksdale in 2008 for an extended visit.
After approaching Musselwhite at a show in Melbourne early last year to inquire about the “I love Clarksdale” sticker on the musician’s harmonica case, Henshall was told that “once you’ve been to Clarksdale, life will never be the same.”
“That conversation was very poignant,” Henshall recalled Tuesday as he walked through the exhibit full of Musselwhite memorabilia and biographical information. “I had been to Clarksdale before so I knew he was telling the truth.”
Since first emerging on the blues scene in the late 1960’s, Musselwhite, who is a native of Kosciusko, has been forging a career earning him international admiration and respect.
The winner of over 20 W.C. Handy Awards, six Grammy nominations and a Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, he is also said to be an inspiration behind Dan Ackroyd’s character in the “Blues Brothers.”
Among Musselwhite’s many albums is the 2006 Delta Hardware –– named after the building he owns in Clarksdale on Sunflower Avenue –– which was selected by Amazon.com as the Editors' Pick for Best Blues Album of 2006.
In 2007 he collaborated with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack to the film “Into The Wild.”
Tuesday’s exhibit opening was sponsored by Coahoma Community College and Friends of the Delta Blues Museum. The exhibit was funded in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Rock River Foundation, the Chisholm Foundation and Friends of the Delta Blues Museum.