Mississippi Blues Project

WXPN, University of Pennsylvania



Anthony \Big A\" Sherrod. Photo by John Vettese/WXPN."


Robert \Wolfman\" Belfour. Photo by John Vettese/WXPN."


Robert Wolfman Belfour. Photo by Andy Hall.

WXPN, the award-winning public-service radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, produced the Mississippi Blues Project, a year-long performance series that brought authentic Mississippi blues to Philadelphia. The series was curated by Jonny Meister, host of WXPN's The Blues Show for over 30 years, and a recipient of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award. Eight artists traveled to Philadelphia for their regional debuts, all selected for their unique musical styles, personal histories, and major roles in the continuing evolution of Mississippi Blues as an art form. Four live performances introduced key artists to local audiences: the Cedric Burnside Project and singer/harmonica player Big George Brock performed at the 2012 Philadelphia Folk Festival; and Terry "Harmonica" Bean and guitarist Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, who play an older style of blues, visited World Café Live in fall 2012. In spring 2013, bluesman Anthony "Big A" Sherrod and guitarist Robert "Wolfman" Belfour performed at WXPN's "Free at Noon" series; and James "Super Chikan" Johnson and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band played their homemade instruments as part of the WXPN NonCOMMvention. Interviews with the musicians were featured on WXPN's The Blues Show and Blues & Beyond, and on the contemporary music program World Café® with David Dye, which reaches over 600,000 listeners on 230 NPR stations nationwide. The series represented WXPN's first-ever effort to focus on a specific genre through live performances.