Tonight at 7:30 PM, the Oxford American magazine brings Leo Bud Welch to the South on Main stage as part of the Archetypes & Troubadours Series. Welch is welcomed by the Esse Pure Museum. Doors open at 5:30 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. This series is made possible in part by the generosity of The Summer Foundation. Single tickets are still available, but going fast.
Welch is joined tonight by Jimbo Mathus.
Leo “Bud” Welch was born in Sabougla, Mississippi in 1932, and he picked up a guitar for the first time in 1945. By 1947 at age fifteen, Bud could play well enough to perform publically and garnered the blessing of many elder guitar players. He was offered an audition by B.B. King but could not afford the trip to Memphis. Bud played the blues continuously until 1975, when he converted to playing mostly gospel with the Sabougla Voices, which consisted of his sister and a sister-in-law. He also played with the Skuna Valley Male Chorus. Bud earned his living by carrying a chain saw up and down the hills and hollows of North Mississippi, logging for thirty-five years.
Leo Bud Welch does not believe that blues is the Devil’s music, but rather they’re a way of expressing the highs and lows of one’s life through song. He has played his guitar for close family and friends for the past sixty-five years and has remained under the radar, undetected by the vast majority of Blues Aficionados. Welch’s debut album, Sabougla Voices, was released January 7, 2014, just two months before his 82nd birthday.
Jimbo Mathus was born and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he often spent time listening to blues music in the Mississippi Delta. “I break down walls and stereotypes with my music,” says Mathus, “I confuse people. I use Mississippi Music, which is renegade music at heart, as my inspiration and motivation…” He excels as a songwriter, a producer, a recording artist, and at spreading the gospel of Mississippi Music in concert. “I like to let the shows be the test and keep the boogie going thirty minutes if needs be,” Mathus says. “If everybody is grooving on something why bother and stop it?”
Mathus can regularly be found performing at the world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club, which is co-owned by fellow Clarksdale resident Morgan Freeman, who co-produced Mathus’ 2004 live album Jimbo & Friends at Ground Zero Blues Club. Mathus is a continuation of the storied music history of Clarksdale and of Mississippi, when all is said and done. His current band, The Tri-State Coalition, features solid talent cut from the same Delta cloth: Tri-State bassist Justin Showah and keyboardist Eric Carlton are also from Mississippi. Guitarist Matt Pierce hails from Arkansas. Missouri native and drummer Austin Marshall rounds out the group, whose sound, Mathus describes as “inner-planetary honky-tonk. Basically I’m using a lot more of white country, folk, and southern rock influences. It’s a great Southern band that is versatile to the extreme.”