The Times West Virginian

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April 1, 2009

Come and listen to a story

FAIRMONT — Looking for something different to do this weekend?

Come listen to some blues. Listen to some stories.

The West Virginia Blues Society is holding a “Blues Night Out” Saturday at Christopher’s Banquet & Conference Center, 104 Van Kirk Drive, Fairmont.

“They have something here twice a year,” said Butch Tennant, owner of Christopher’s.

“Last year we had a tribute to Muddy Waters.”

Buffet begins at 6 pm. followed by featured artist Johnny Rawls at 9 p.m.

The Mississippi native began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-70’s, he went to work for OV Wright as Wright’s band director. After Wright’s death in 1980, Rawls led Little Johnny Taylor’s band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording under the Rainbow label.

Rawls is accomplished in producing, songwriting, horn arranging, rhythm, lead and bass guitar, keyboard, vocals and background vocals. He started his own record company, Deep South Soul, in 2002. His 2006 CD, “Heart and Soul,” was nominated for “Best Soul Blues Album of the Year (2007)” by the Blues Foundation.

He’s been nominated four times for the W.C. Handy Award. His most recent award came from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for RB Male Vocalist of the Year 2006.

Rawls has performed at the Chicago Blues Festival twice, The Russian River Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival, The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, Poconos, as well as festivals in Sweden and Poland. He tours constantly, playing well over 200 dates a year.

Still want more?

Go on over to Fairmont State Friday and Saturday for some fine storytelling.

FSU, FSU’s Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the West Virginia Storytelling Guild present the Mountain State Storytelling Institute Friday and Saturday at the Falcon Center. “Creating the Tapestry of Culture: Weaving Stories for a Lifetime” is this year’s theme.

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