CLEVELAND: DSU presents International Conference on the Blues

Delta State University is pleased to announce The International Conference on the Blues, which will be held October 6-7, 2014.


Topics of general interest to scholars and enthusiasts alike will bepresented, including African American musical tradition and itsinfluence on American music and culture; the Blues; folklore; history;ethnicity; and the Delta.

Cleveland, Mississippi, recently named by Smithsonian Magazine as #2of the top 20 small cities to visit in the country, is located 45minutes from the Greenville (MS) Airport and approximately two hoursfrom the Memphis (TN) and Jackson (MS) airports. Cleveland is the futurehome of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, which is scheduled to open in2015.

This conference is made possible by the support of the Robert M. Hearin Foundation.

For more information, please contact Don Allan Mitchell and Shelley Collins at

Keynote Speaker

Photo of Bob SantelliBob Santelli isExecutive Director of the GRAMMY Museum — a 32,000-square-foot facilitydevoted to exploring and celebrating the enduring legacies of all formsof music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recordingprocess, and the rich cultural history of the GRAMMY Awards.Previously, Santelli was vice president of education and public programsat the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

In 2000, he joined the Experience Music Project as CEO and artisticdirector and guided the creation of more than 30 exhibits including the“Bob Dylan’s American Journey, 1956–1966″ exhibit. A noted blues androck historian, Santelli has authored and edited more than a dozenbooks, including The Big Book Of BluesThe Bob Dylan Scrapbook, and Greetings From E Street: The Story Of Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band.

Guest Artist

Photo of Alvin YoungbloodAlvin Youngblood Hart’spraises have been sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to British guitargods Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor. Since the release of his 1996 debutrecording, the all-acoustic Big Mama’s Door, Hart has relayed his eclectic musical message around the world.

Based on the strength of his record debut and the allure of his liveshows, Hart received five nominations at the 1997 W.C. Handy BluesAwards, and he received the award for Best New Artist. Hart alsoreceived two Living Blues Awards that same year. The anticipatedsophomore release of Territory in 1998 gave a rousing tribute toall forms of American music and received the Downbeat Magazine Critics’Poll Award for Best Blues Album. His Southern Rock record, Start With the Soul, was chosen by the New York Times as one of the top 10 releases of 2000, as well as the BBC’s Blues Record of the Year.

The 2003 release of Down in the Alley garnered a GRAMMY nomination. In 2004, Hart received a GRAMMY for his philanthropic contribution to the compilation Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster.

In 2005, Hart released the self-produced (and personal favorite) Motivational Speaker,a rock guitar free-for-all, paying homage to fallen and missing rockerslike Phil Lynott and Sly Stone. In 2006, Hart collaborated with severalMemphis area musicians in the Craig Brewer cult hit film, Black Snake Moan, byboth serving as a guitar tutor to the film’s leading actor, Samuel L.Jackson, and recording a duet with the film’s female lead, ChristinaRicci, for the film’s riveting soundtrack.

Hart was called upon to contribute his doyen knowledge of blues music to the Denzel Washington-co produced and directed film The Great Debaters.As an avid roots music performer and connoisseur, not only did Hart fitthe bill to record predominately on the films dynamic soundtrack, Hartalso proved a natural onscreen fit for the role of a juke jointmusician.

When not touring solo or plugged in with his revered rock trio,“Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory,” Hart enjoys researching,collecting, repairing and modifying obscure musical equipment.

Featured Speaker

Scott BarettaScott Barrettais an instructor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, wherehis courses include Anthropology of Blues Culture. He is a writer andresearcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, the host of the Highway 61radio program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and has a weekly musiccolumn in the Clarion Ledger. He is the former editor of the magazines Jefferson (Sweden) and Living Blues,which is published by the Center For the Study of Southern Culture atthe University of Mississippi. He has also written for magazinesincluding Oxford American, MOJO,  and SingOut!, and was on the team that created the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

Barretta is a coauthor of a recent 18-lesson blues curriculumpublished by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the editor of the book Conscience of the Revival: The Writings of Israel “Izzy” Young, and coauthor of the book Mississippi: State of Blues.He is currently working on a documentary together with Joe York onbluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell as well as a boxed set of the fieldrecordings of William Ferris. 

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