2015 Jazz Fest-Women of the Piedmont Blues

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Women of the Piedmont Blues: A memorable evening that unites some of the key practitioners of the acoustic blues on the East Coast, Presented by the ArtsW Folk Arts Program in cooperation with thecountryblues.com

Eleanor Ellis is a superb fingerpicking guitarist and singer in the Piedmont blues tradition. Widely considered to be among the best practitioners of the acoustic blues worldwide, the native of Louisiana and longtime Washington, DC resident performs at clubs, festivals and concerts in the United States, Canada and Europe. She was a frequent performer and companion of the late gospel street singer Flora Molton, and a regular member of bluesman Archie Edwards’ famous barbershop music scene in Northeast Washington, DC. She has been an inspiration to up and coming blues women globally, including Erin Harp, and the other performers with whom she will share the stage at this event at ArtsWestchester.  She is a founding member of the DC Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation and has written about the blues for several publications. She was producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which featured well-known Piedmont blues musicians John Jackson, John Cephas, and Archie Edwards. Her recordings include Comin' a Time on the Patuxent label, Backyard Blues, a CD of solo blues guitar and vocals; Preaching in That Wilderness on the Riverlark label with Bill Ellis and Andy Cohen and appearances on several anthologies.


Jackie Merritt is an accomplished visual artist and musician. The multitalented, multi-instrumentalist is deeply influenced by Elizabeth Cotten, plays harmonica, guitar, bass and she taps bones (a percussion technique when bones or spoons are clapped). She started harmonica late in life with her musical passion, and she teaches painting and drawing at a local community college. Phil Wiggins, who is by now an elder of the local music scene, was an inspiration and her harmonica teacher. Besides her dual activities as a visual and musical artist, Jackie Merritt is one of the founding members of the Natchel’ Blues Network, an organization formed in 1984 to advance blues by sponsoring concerts, workshops and other events in the Hampton Roads region. She is a founding member of the M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio. In July of 2009, Jackie was awarded the honor of being the first recipient of the John Cephas Scholarship created to carry on the study and tradition of Piedmont style guitar at Centrum's Country Blues Workshops, Port Townsend, Washington.


Resa Gibbs (vocalist and percussion) is known for her passionate, warm and soulful singing deeply rooted in spirituals and gospel music. She also emerged out of the famed Archie’s barbershop music scene in Washington, D.C. and today ranks among the great voices in the traditional blues. Her beautiful, stirring blues have earned her wide reaching critical acclaim. A founding member of the M.S.G Acoustic Blues Trio, Resa also sang background vocals on Gaye Adegbalola's Bitter Sweet Blues CD, produced by Rory Block and recorded by Alligator Records. Her latest vocal contribution is on the 2008 CD project by Gaye Adegbalola entitled Gaye Without Shame. Resa performed with Gaye, Bob Margolin, Jason Ricci and other nominated artists at the 2009 BMA's (Blues Music Awards in Memphis). She also contributed background vocals on award winning singer/songwriter, Julie Clark's debut CD Feel Free and her second CD, Change Your Mind.  A much sought-after vocal instructor, she has taught at the Country Blues Workshops at Centrum in Port Townsend, WA among other venues. The M.S.G trio I slated to perform at the 2015 Chicago Blues Festival, which will give her an even wider exposure for her soulful singing.  


Valerie Turner is a native New Yorker from Queens with southern roots, who has emerged as one of the important women in the acoustic traditional blues today. Her refined fingerstyle Piedmont blues, the east coast style acoustic country blues, continues the tradition of the late great Elizabeth Cotton and Etta Baker. She was a star student and is greatly influenced by her teacher John Cephas. She also studied guitar technique with Woody Mann. When joined by her husband, washboard and percussion player Benedict Turner, they form the duo Piedmont Bluz, one of the only acts in the nation that combines washboard with fingerpicking blues. The Piedmont Bluz duo is dedicated to the preservation of the rural, east coast blues traditions. Their mission is to help keep Piedmont blues alive by educating audiences about this unique aspect of African American culture. The duo have performed at such venues as the Brooklyn Folk Festival, the Riverside Blues Festival and the Washington Square Park Folk Festival.


Poet Gold is a rare original talent who grabs you by the heart and says “Recognize” – Poet, author, performer, songwriter, community “Artivist” and speaker, Bettina “Poet Gold” Wilkerson is pushing the boundaries of poetry and the spoken word. A prolific writer and performer whose presence alone quietly stirs a room, she delivers a riveting performance of original prose that inspires, motivates, and enlightens the soul. Living with a chronic illness since childhood, Poet Gold, or as she is affectionately known as “Gold”, brings through her poetic performance a soul-searching insight about the human spirit, love, dreams, challenges, and triumph.


September 25th, 2015 8:00 PM   through   10:30 PM
31 Mamaroneck Ave
White Plains, NY 10601-10601
United States

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Phone: 914.428.4220
Event Fee(s)
General Admission $ 20.00

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