As part of Delta State University’s “Year of Delta Heritage,” the ninth annual Peavine Awards will celebrate excellence in the Delta Blues on Thursday, Oct. 4.
According to historian Steve LaVere, founder of the Peavines, “This year’s awards will honor three Delta Bluesmen who created a unique Blues sound – John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker and Tony Hollins.”
The celebration will be at the Grapeland Grill on Highway 61 in Cleveland, starting at 7:30 and feature live Blues by Bill “Howlin’ Mad” Perry and his Blues Band along with the awards ceremony, itself.
To be sponsored and funded by Coopwood Communications of Cleveland, the event is free and open to the public.
John Lee Hooker was born in Clarksdale in 1917. He recorded several solo albums, and also played with Mose Allison, Albert King, Bonnie Raitt and the rock group, Canned Heat, among others.
Earl Hooker was John Lee Hooker’s cousin. He was also born in Clarksdale, but spent his childhood in Chicago before returning to Clarksdale to play with Ike Turner. His early influences included Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson.
The two Hookers had radically different approaches to the Blues. John Lee’s approach involved driving beat and monotonous chords while Earl Hooker specialized in the slide guitar, bending notes to sound like the human voice.
Also a native of Clarksdale, Tony Hollins was the oldest of the three, having been born in 1900. He wrote some of the music that John Lee Hooker appropriated as his own, including the famous “Crawlin’ Kingsnake Blues” and “Traveling Man Blues.”
The Peavine Awards were founded at Delta State in 1998 to honor the memory of the Delta’s great Blues musicians. Each year since, they have remembered the work of two to three performers, with special awards for festivals and Blues researchers.
For information about this event or the Peavine Awards, please contact the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at (662) 846-4311.