BBHF announces 2013 tribute artist

Published 9:28 am Friday, February 8, 2013

The second annual Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival won’t take place until the end of September, but the steering committee is already working hard to repeat and multiply its inaugural year success.

The fest was created to be a reminder and celebration of the collective local soul as expressed by various artists throughout history and into the future. It was designed to be educational, empowering and to prompt a lot of free-spirited fun.

Last year, in a daylong downpour, thousands gathered at Cassidy Park and danced and played in the rain while a bust of the featured tribute artist, Professor Longhair, gazed out from under a protective cover.

Now the BBHF steering committee has decided upon a tribute artist for its second festival. It’s Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

The highly acclaimed, multiple award winning music pioneer was born in Texas, but he has a firm local connection thanks to numerous visits and recording sessions at the Studio in the Country and, significantly, longtime manager, Jim Bateman of Bogalusa’s Real Records.

Brown died in 2005 shortly after he lost his Slidell home to Hurricane Katrina.

When the multi-instrumentalist, whose music covered not only the blues but too many genres for him to be categorized, was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame last year, Bateman accepted the honor as “Gate’s manager, friend, co-producer and confidante” of 29 years.

The planning for the tribute to the man who is credited with influencing performers as diverse as Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa and Joe Louis Walker has just begun.

But the man whose music inspired Hall Of Fame songwriter John D. Loudermilk to write: “At last working man’s music from both sides of the tracks has come together and has produced the most American artist yet” is expected to generate considerable excitement.

Meanwhile, the steering committee is focusing on the first BBHF II fundraiser, which will take place tonight at the B&C Hall, 139 Cumberland Street, from 8 to midnight.

Everyone is invited to stop by, grab some food and enjoy the live music of United We Groove.

Tickets, which cost $10, will be available at the door.