I was asking a fellow patron of the blues earlier today how the Buddy Guy show went -- he was underwhelmed, but the rest of his party loved it -- and the subject turned to blues cities, and I asked, is there a Blues Hall of Fame, and if so, where is it? The authority of Google presented two contenders, with the San Diego contingent holding the registered trademark. While they don't have a facility set up, they do have a number of familiar Louisiana faces such as Mem Shannon and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on their list of nominated inductees.
Now I know a lot of places hold claim to being the home of the blues: Chicago, Kansas City and Memphis among them, but they wouldn't have had as much as a walking bass line to work with if a number of Louisiana artists hadn't made their way up Hwy. 61. I'm thankful that blues fans the world over keep this music alive, and San Diego is a beautiful city and all, but is that where the Hall of Fame belongs instead of, say, here?
The return of the Blues Festival this weekend to downtown Baton Rouge is a credit to the mayor, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation and the Baton Rouge Blues Society and their efforts to keep the fires lit on our heritage. This Saturday, the lineup of Louisiana talent is staggering: Kenny Neal, Larry Garner, Luther Kent, Lazy Lester Marcia Ball and more are all playing downtown for free. We've proven there is interest in our music and our heritage. I say we keep that momentum rolling and beat San Diego to the punch.