The inaugural Little Walter Music Festival will strike a chord Saturday, May 4th, at the downtown Alexandria Amphitheater situated on the Red River, honoring Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Blues sideman and bandleader “Little Walter.” The festival entrance will be at the intersection of Murray Street and Main/Second Street.
The festival will begin at 5:00pm with Bobby Rhodes and The Ministry of Blues. Josh Hyde and the Hitchhikers will take the stage with legendary guitarist Buddy Flett, featuring harp player A.J. Cascio, to perform Little Walter covers along with original songs from his latest CD, The Green Room. Texas Bluesman Mike Morgan & the Crawl will follow with gritty originals and covers, highlighting his guitar punches and jumping Stax/Volt-era soul, reminiscent of Otis Redding’s Otis Blue with a 21st century feeling.
Headlining the event is the “Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Little Walter Legends.” Multiple Louisiana Blues harp artists, LMHOF member Henry Gray and a cast of Louisiana Blues All Stars will help usher “Little Walter” into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame with a presentation from LMHOF President Mike Shepherd. Closing the event is a jam session featuring Lady Liz Neville, former lead vocalist in the Hotel Bentley’s Mirror Room, along with the LMHFO “Legends” band on Little Walter’s classic hits, “Juke” and “My Babe.”
“Little Walter” revolutionized the sound of the Blues harmonica through amplification just by clasping a microphone to the harmonica as he played. Born Marion Walter Jacobs near what is now Spring Bayou Road in the small town of Marksville, he spent several years in Alexandria before making his way to Chicago to eventually become a member of Muddy Waters band, where he began recording his unique style of Blues. According to his 2008 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, Little Walter “could make a harmonica moan and roar like a full horn section or produce an unearthly, haunting wail.”
The Little Walter Foundation, housed in Chicago, will be represented by Little Walter’s daughter, Marion Diaz Reacco, and other family members. Admission to the festival is free. Merchandise, food and drink will be for sale.
Event sponsors include the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Walter Foundation, the Jacob(s) Project Foundation Inc., Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority, LouisianaTravel.com, City of Alexandria and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
For more information about the Alexandria/Pineville area, including hotel and restaurant listings, and the Little Walter Music Festival, visit www.theheartoflouisiana.com or call (800) 551-9546. For more information about The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, visit www.LMHOF.org. For information on Little Walter, visit www.littlewalterfoundation.org.