Jackson, Missippi — October 7, 2016 — The Mississippi Blues Trail will honor Calhoun County’s contribution to blues and its native blues musicians, Leo “Bud” Welch and Ace Cannon, with a marker unveiling at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Bruce Company Store. The store is located at 109 Public Square, Bruce, Mississippi.
“The living blues legacy of Calhoun County is one that makes Mississippi such a wonderful place for visitors and locals alike to explore our state’s rich music culture,” said Craig Ray, director of Visit Mississippi.
Welch is a guitarist and vocalist who began playing blues in his teens and returned to the genre in his eighties after a long career as a gospel musician. He played in his native Calhoun County for more than sixty years before becoming recognized internationally in 2014. Welch’s latter day blues career began in 2013 after he performed a set of blues at the 50th birthday party of Calhoun City native Vencie Varnado, who became Welch’s manager, booking him at local clubs and festivals. Welch subsequently began recording for Oxford’s Big Legal Mess label with “Sabougla Voices” in 2014 and “I Don’t Prefer No Blues” in 2015. He continues to tour extensively, including multiple trips to Europe.
Saxophonist John “Ace” Cannon, who recorded instrumental versions of many blues and soul songs on his popular singles and albums, settled in 1988 in Calhoun City, the hometown of his parents. His 1976 recording of “Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain” was nominated for a GRAMMY award, and in 1985, he appeared on the Sun reunion album “The Class of ‘55” with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Following his move to Calhoun City in 1988, the city staged multiple Ace Cannon Festival events.
“Leo Bud Welch has made music all his life, now bringing an international ear to Mississippi with recognition worldwide for his Sabougla sound. Ace Cannon’s horn influence shaped country, jazz and R&B as we know it today. It is an honor to have a Mississippi Blues Trail marker on the square in Bruce to honor these extraordinary men and this unique region,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, J
For more information about the Mississippi Blues Trail, visit www.msbluestrail.org, explore the state’s official tourism website at www.VisitMississippi.org, or contact Mary Margaret Miller White, bureau manager for tourism development, at 601-213-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.