Tapes February 21, 2012; Premieres Monday, 27, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET
on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings). A PBS special taped in the East Room of the White House celebrating Blues music. President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert event on Tuesday, February 21 in recognition of Black History Month. The evening will include program host Taraji P. Henson and performances by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Keb Mo, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader. The event will honor the musical form that sprang from the Mississippi Delta and flourished in the Westside of Chicago with deep roots in Africa and slavery. The performances will explore those roots and pay homage to the great figures of the Blues and the songs they made famous by tracing the influence of the Blues on modern American music from soul to rock’n’roll.
For more information about “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues”
A 2011 GRAMMY Award nominee, Andrews’ signature “Supafunkrock” sound combines New Orleans jazz, funk and soul, with hard-rock chords and hip-hop beats. His virtuosity and high energy live shows have drawn unanimous raves. Andrews’ new album, For True — featuring Jeff Beck, Ledisi and Lenny Kravitz — offers substantive proof of his explosive growth as he keeps pushing the envelope, exploring new musical territory. Relentlessly touring on five continents, Andrews’ appearances range from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Japan, Ecuador, Europe, Australia and Moscow in the first few months of 2012 alone.
One of the world’s leading guitarists, Beck’s unsurpassable combination of primal shredding and cool perfectionism has left an indelible mark on everything from hard rock and jazz fusion to rockabilly and techno in a remarkable career that has spanned almost half a century. Touring has always been a big part of Beck’s career, and his live shows and virtuoso solos are legendary. Beck is an eight-time GRAMMY Award-winner and a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Beck’s playing style continues to reflect the diversity that is his trademark.
Gary Clark, Jr.
Funky, hip and singularly unique, Clark is a rocking soul man for a new generation. A native of Austin, he began playing guitar at age 12. Clark exploded onto the music scene with an incendiary debut performance of his song “Bright Lights” at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Weaned on deep Blues, Clark’s style has equal helpings of hip hop, contemporary soul and indie rock, earning accolades from the like of Eric Clapton, Alicia Keys and Questlove. In 2007, Clark also co-starred in the John Sayles’ film Honeydripper. Clark’s current EP, “Bright Lights,” is available now, and his full-length album for Warner Bros. Records will be released this year.
A native of Harlem, GRAMMY Award-nominated Copeland has opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival, earned numerous Blues music awards and shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Taj Mahal. The daughter of the late Texas Blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, her music places her in the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas such as Ruth Brown and Etta James — paired with a strong desire for innovation. In 2008, Copeland traveled to Iraq to entertain our troops.
A pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side Sound, Guy is a native of Louisiana, born in 1936 to a sharecropper’s family. By 1957, he was in Chicago and met Blues great Muddy Waters, who mentored Guy. From the early 1960s, Guy was backing artists at Chess Records including Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. Guy’s own recordings followed and his style — stinging, attacking electric guitar and wild, impassioned vocals — became a chief guitar influence to rock titans like Jimi Hendrix. In 2005, Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
A powerhouse singer and guitarist, North Carolina-native and GRAMMY Award-winner Haynes earned his reputation as a member of three of the greatest live groups in rock history: The Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and his own Gov’t Mule. Blues greats Freddie King and B.B. King were both early influences on Haynes, who has a dynamic gravel-and-honey voice and a guitar universe that encompasses rock, soul, R&B and jazz. Haynes is also a major supporter of Habitat for Humanity, for which he organizes his annual “Christmas Jam” benefit, now in its 23rd year.
Taraji P. Henson, Program Host
An Academy Award nominee, Emmy nominee and two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award, Henson earned the Academy Award nomination for her performance opposite Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She stars on the CBS series Person of Interest and made her singing debut on the Academy Awards singing the theme song from the iconic film Hustle and Flow. Feature credits include Think Like A Man, Larry Crowne, Date Night, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Talk to Me, Four Brothers and Baby Boy. A proud graduate of Howard University, Henson is a spokesperson for education and speaks on behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Rock’s premier frontman and one of the most popular and influential musicians of all time, Jagger is the instantly recognizable iconic lead singer and songwriter for the Rolling Stones. He has captivated audiences for decades with his dynamic stage presence. He is also a prolific and much sought-after collaborator and a successful producer and solo artist. In his early teens, Jagger discovered his passion for American Blues, which continue to influence his music to this day.
Booker T. Jones, Music Director and Band Leader
A musician for over 50 years, Jones has written, arranged, produced and performed music throughout a GRAMMY Award-winning career. Jones’ first influences were drawn from the Mississippi Delta’s Blues that became soul and rock’n’roll. His early success was with the band the MG’s on the Satellite Record label, which became Stax Records. Jones consistently uses his compositional and musical talents to deftly craft amazing new sounds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 2007 GRAMMY Awards.
B.B. King (www.bbking.com)
The most renowned and iconic Blues musician of our time, King has been the “King of the Blues” for more than 60 years. Born in 1925 on a Mississippi plantation, King first pursued music in Memphis. He and his beloved guitar Lucille have since defined the Blues genre for a worldwide audience, inspiring numerous musicians along the way. Among his many distinguished honors, King has won 15 GRAMMY Awards and received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. A national treasure, King continues to perform about 125 concerts annually to the delight of global audiences.
A three-time GRAMMY Award-winner, Keb Mo’s music is a living link to the seminal Delta Blues that traveled up the Mississippi River and across America, evolving into a universally celebrated art form. Born Kevin Moore in Los Angeles to parents from the South, Mo’s music is an expression of the artistic and cultural journey that has transformed the Blues over time. His distinctive sound embraces multiple eras and genres, including pop, soul, folk, jazz and the singer-songwriter movement, with the common bond of the power of song to convey human experiences.
A singer-guitarist, Tedeschi was born in Boston and has always been musically inclined, playing in bands since she was 13. Heavily steeped in the Blues tradition, Tedeschi is known for her confident, soulful voice and has performed with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and at such high-profile events as Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival. She formed her own band in 1994, releasing six successful solo albums before joining forces with her husband, Derek Trucks, as Tedeschi Trucks Band last year. Their 2011 debut album, Revelator, won the GRAMMY Award for Best Blues Album.
A Florida native, Trucks has emerged as one of the most respected guitarists of his generation. With his blend of Blues, soul, jazz, rock and World-music, Trucks pushes the boundaries of slide guitar. In 1997 he formed The Derek Trucks Band, with whom he won a GRAMMY Award in 2010. Today, in addition to touring with The Allman Brothers Band, Trucks co-leads Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife, Susan Tedeschi. Ranked as #16 in Rolling Stone’s recent poll of the 100 Greatest Guitarists, Trucks was the youngest person on the list.