Filming Concludes for M FOR MISSISSIPPI.

Jeff Konkel jeffkonkel@HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 28 14:16:42 EDT 2008

Documentary aims to shine spotlight on raw, wild blues scene of the Delta

(CLARKSDALE, MS) In the century since the cotton fields of the Mississippi 
Delta gave birth to the blues, the music has spread across the globe and 
undergone countless permutations. But in the land of its birth, blues 
continues to thrive in its wildest and rawest form. An upcoming 
documentary "M for Mississippi: A Road Trip Through The Birthplace Of The 
Blues" aims to shine a spotlight on the state’s ongoing blues tradition.

The film follows two self-proclaimed blue fanatics – Roger Stolle and Jeff 
Konkel – on an eight-day road trip across Mississippi as they visit some 
of the state’s most powerful blues artists in the intimate settings 
ranging from rural house parties and juke joints to cotton fields and a 
living rooms. Principal filming for the documentary concluded in early 
April. The film and its accompanying soundtrack will be released on DVD 
and CD this fall. The project is a joint production of Broke & Hungry 
Records, Cat Head Presents and Mudpuppy Recordings. 

The film will feature performances and interviews from such diverse blues 
figures at Robert “Bilbo” Walker, T-Model Ford, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, L.C. 
Ulmer, Pat Thomas, Terry “Harmonica” Bean and Wesley Jefferson. In total, 
more than a dozen key figures from the state’s blues community will be 

"Most music documentaries today rely heavily on overused file footage or 
new shots from big clubs and festivals. Our film isn't about all that,” 
Stolle said. “It's about capturing a disappearing music and culture as it 
really is – in the juke joints, cotton fields and house parties of 
Mississippi. Our project isn't about the big names. It's about the names 
you need to know – whether it's an 80-year-old guitarist you've never 
heard of or a juke owner who just doesn't give a damn."

The filmmakers admitted to a sense of urgency in getting the film 
made. “The sad fact of the matter is that you couldn’t make this film a 
decade from now,” Konkel said. “When you talk about young Delta blues 
artists, you’re talking about guys in their fifties. Many of the artists 
in this film are well past 80. They’re the last living link to a rapidly 
vanishing blues tradition. We’ll always have blues, but it won’t be like 
this. This film aims to celebrate this music and the musicians while 
they’re still here and can benefit from the exposure.”

In addition to their roles in front of the camera, Stolle and Konkel are 
among the film’s producers. 

This is Stolle’s second film project, falling on the heels of his 
acclaimed documentary "Hard Times," which documented the life and music of 
bluesman Big George Brock. Stolle’s label Cat Head Presents also has 
released three acclaimed CDs on Brock, including most recently "Live at 
Seventy Five," which is nominated for a 2008 Blues Music Award in 
the “Traditional Album of the Year” category. Stolle also is owner of the 
celebrated Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store in Clarksdale, 
Mississippi. Earlier this year he received a prestigious “Keeping the 
Blues Alive” award from the Blues Foundation. 

Konkel is the owner of Broke & Hungry Records, a label dedicated to 
promoting and recording raw blues from Mississippi. His work netted him 
Producer of the Year recognition in the 2007 Living Blues Awards. To date, 
his label has issued four acclaimed records, including two on Bentonia, 
Mississippi blues guitarist Jimmy “Duck” Holmes. Holmes’ most recent 
CD, "Done Got Tired of Tryin’" is nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year 
for the 2008 Blues Music Awards. This spring Broke & Hungry released The 
World Must Never Know, the debut-recordings of a mysterious 78-year-old 
blues guitarist from the Delta. 

M for Mississippi also benefits from the contributions of co-producer Kari 
Jones whose Mudpuppy Recordings will recently launched with a bang with 
the release of "jack daniel time," a new record by legendary Delta 
bluesman James “T-Model” Ford.  

Behind the camera and editing desk is filmmaker Damien Blaylock, whose 
past projects include the Big George Brock documentary "Hard Times." 
Blaylock’s forthcoming projects involve actor/musician Steven Seagal and 
also include "Super Chikan: Child of the Delta" and "Blind Faith," a 
documentary on blues sculptor Sharon McConnell.

Mississippi blues guitarist Bill Abel was brought on as the project’s 
sound engineer. Abel’s past engineering efforts include critically 
acclaimed offerings by T-Model Ford, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Odell Harris, 
Terry “Big T” Williams, Wesley “Junebug” Jefferson and several of Abel’s 
own recordings.

Several key sponsors have signed on to support the production of "M for 
Mississippi." Major sponsors now include the Rootsway Roots & Blues 
Association and LiveBluesWorld.

The Rootsway Roots & Blues Association ( is a 
nonprofit organization from Parma, Italy. Founded in 2004, the group is 
dedicated to promoting rural and indigenous American and Afro-American 
musical art forms throughout northern Italy. Roots & Blues has brought 
several Mississippi blues performers to Italy in recent years.

Live Blues World ( has also joined the effort as a 
major sponsor. The web community is billed as “the online home of the 
blues and blues infected music, connecting artists and fans in the fastest 
growing social network dedicated to the blues.”

Additional sponsors include the Clarksdale’s Juke Joint Festival and 
British blues artist Bob Long.

Individuals and organizations who are interested in learning more about 
sponsorship opportunities can contact Jeff Konkel at or Roger Stolle at

To view a promotional trailer for the film or to pre-order the DVD and CD, 


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