The Pineywoods Fine Arts Association will kick off its Summer Lightnin’ Series – Tunes by the Tracks on Thursday with a performance by blues legend, Milton Hopkins.
Following the dedication of Crockett’s new “Blues Mural” on Camp Street at 7 p.m., Hopkins will be performing with Texas Johnny Brown & the Quality Blues Band at 8 p.m. at the new J.B. & Kathryn Sallas Amphitheater at Arnold Park in Crockett.
“The blues mural dedication on Camp Street will be an exciting event that evening as well as the concert,” PWFAA associate producer Glenn Barnhart said. “The mural is composed of seven blues legends, two of which are Crockett’s own — the late Lightnin’ Hopkins and the last living blues artist from the mural, Texas Johnny Brown.”
Milton Hopkins was awarded the Albert King Award in Memphis for the best guitarist from the Jus'Blues Music Foundation. His career spans decades, from his beginning with Little Richard who formed a band, Tempo Toppers, in 1950.
Hopkins was not comfortable with the wilder side of the industry and bowed out in 1952, going on the road with the late Johnny Ace and Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton until the death of Ace in 1954.
After a stint in the Army, Hopkins met up with his musical mentor, Gatemouth Brown and also joined up with “The Upsetters,” who were one of the top R&B/Rock & Roll bands in the U.S. at the time and were the number one choice for performers such as Sam Cook, Jackie Wilson and The Drifters.
Hopkins’ famous cousin, Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins, was one of the most famous blues players in the world, but traditionally played solo. Only once did Hopkins get to play with him during his career.
Milton Hopkins has been featured in Living Blues magazine and has received a Houston Blues Society Lifetime Achievement Award.
As part of the evening’s activities, from 6 to 8 p.m., guests also will be able to check out the Houston County Museum at the Railroad Depot right next to the new Amphitheater, located at 303 South 1st Street in Crockett.
“It is a treasure trove of memorabilia of Houston County,” Barnhart said. “There are highlights from the founding families of Crockett, a display on the Sallas family and a plethora of displays and artifacts from contributors from Houston County.
“Don’t miss this opportunity to see a bit of history from this historic area.”
The Summer Lightnin’ series is produced by the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association and is funded in part by a gift from the Jake & Jill Capriellian Estate. It is sponsored by Coco-Cola and presented in association with KIVY/KMVL, Houston County Courier, County Life and Messenger.
For more information call the Piney Woods Fine Arts office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday or go to www.pwfaa.org.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com