blues-in-schools

The 2023 Blues in Schools was held at the Dothan Civic Center in Dothan, AL on March 1, 2023.

Students all over the Wiregrass Area were invited to attend at no cost.

This event will featured Lil Jimmy Reed, Derrick Dove, and the Peace Keepers, and Ben Flournoy.

1. Debbie Bond, 2012, 2. Vanessa Collier, 2018, 3. Teeny Tucker, 2020, 4. WBS board president Bruce Adams, DCS superintendent Phyllis Edwards, Teeny Tucker, and Emcee Gil Anthony, 2020

Blues in Schools is a free educational outreach program preceding the Wiregrass Blues Festival each year. Blues-in-Schools includes workshops and performances by accomplished blues musicians for local students. Thus far, we have successfully reached over 8,000 students, teachers, and parents. During the program, children learn about the progression and history of blues music in the American South. In addition to the performances, participating schools receive a gift of instrumentation or monetary support for their music departments.

In 2020, we presented another successful Blues-in-Schools program to over 1,200, 5th and 6th grade students from various Dothan City Schools (DCS). The program was held at the Dothan Civic Center, and it was lead by the Festival’s headliner Teeny Tucker and moderator, Gil Anthony.

Last year, we were happy to present the DCS system with a check for $3000 to buy instruments and supply other musical programming needs for Beverlye Intermediate School.

This year we hope to take it even further, by extending invitations to students all over the Wiregrass Area.  This year the event will be held at the Dothan Civic Center in Dothan, AL.  It is by your sponsorship that we are able to keep the blues alive by educating our younger generations.  What better way to do that than live performances at no charge to the student? All donations of any size are appreciated!  

Click below for more images and a complete history of our Blues-in-Schools program:


Li’l Jimmy Reed is the last of the original Louisiana bluesmen.

The blues was born in the deep South, a wild outcry against segregation, poverty and hard, back-breaking work. Sadly most of the great musicians who created this vibrant, influential music have passed on, leaving only their recordings to testify to their genius. However, one man, whose career stretches back to the time when rhythm ‘n’ blues was just bursting onto the popular music scene, is still with us and playing better than ever.

Leon Atkins, better known as Lil’ Jimmy Reed, is the real deal, as will be attested to by anyone who has been privileged to hear his stinging guitar work, gritty vocals and haunting harmonica. A tall charismatic figure, Lil’ Jimmy epitomises the classic Louisiana down-home blues tradition. Born in the late nineteen-thirties in a shot-gun shack in Hardwood, LA, a small cotton and sawmill town on the Mississippi River, Leon grew up near a club where every night he absorbed the wail of the blues from across the street. At six he had his own guitar, made from a cigar box, and by the time he was a teenager he was proficient on both guitar and harmonica, playing local clubs around Baton Rouge. Filling-in one night for blues star Jimmy Reed earned him the sobriquet Lil’ Jimmy Reed and started him on the long path to success. Learn more at https://www.liljimmyreed.com/.

Derrick Dove, the singer and guitarist for Derrick Dove & the Peacekeepers

Hails from South Georgia which would help explain his type of Blues influenced Rock & Soul. He grew up with a radio DJ father, Dangerous Don in the Mornings, in Tifton, Ga, as well his dad was in a local band. His dad exposed him to the sounds of Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix & Stevie Ray Vaughan at a very early age. This is how Derrick began his musical journey.

Derrick started playing drums in his father’s band when he was 10 but at age 12, he found his true love, the guitar. One night while watching Austin City Limits with his dad, they aired “Stevie Ray Vaughan – A retrospective” and Derrick knew he wanted to play the blues as he heard it in his own mind. Derrick started his own band at 15 and joined the Michael Stacey band when he was 21 touring the nation. After 5 years on the road Derrick spread his wings and started to fly solo. Derrick recorded & released his first EP in 2010 & won Best Blues Guitarist South Georgia/ North Florida region in Tallahassee, FL in 2011.

Derrick has spent the years since working on his craft by touring & recording. He released his first LP, Derrick Dove & the Peacekeepers, during 2018. The album debuted at #5 on the iTunes Blues Charts with the help of airplay on SiriusXM BB King’s Bluesville and opening for acts such as Blackberry Smoke, Gary Allen, Drivin & Cryin, and the Kentucky Headhunters to name a few.

Derrick is currently touring and working on his next EP of influential covers to be released first first half 2021, a new single each month, as well as a new album which he is dedicating to his father who recently passed. The album is scheduled to be released Winter 2021. Learn more https://derrickdove.com/.

BEN FLOURNOY

Singer-songwriter and self-taught guitarist Ben Flournoy creates compelling, blues-infused pop, with nimble melodies and laid-back vocals reminiscent of icons like Eric Clapton and John Mayer. Raised on a mix of radio pop and blues records, Flournoy first picked up the guitar at age ten after watching Back to the Future. Struck by the fervor of Marty McFly’s ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ he begged his parents for his own instrument, eventually buying an acoustic guitar and teaching himself to play by ear. Now writing and recording original tracks for his debut solo album, set for release in 2022, Flournoy’s lyrical songs of heartbreak have a charming candor that makes them as relatable as they are beautiful.

Citing acts like Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Albert King, B.B. King, and Jimi Hendrix as formative influences for his style, Flournoy plays with an intensity and agility beyond his years. He earned an enthusiastic online fan base for his video covers of blues and pop singles, which led to his first official performance in 2020, backing several Florida acts on guitar. In 2021 Flournoy started five-part blues/rock band Truly Blues, performing both covers and original songs at local venues. His energetic performances reveal a contagious passion that infuses audiences with his love for music. “Above all else, making music is fun. I do this because I love to do it,” says Flournoy. “That’s the most important thing.” Learn more at https://benflournoy.com/.

For more information contact President, Donnia Rambin at 334-648-6542.