House of Blues boasts one of the finest collection of antique and contemporary folk art in the world.Every year the local Myrtle Beach club celebrates its own local outsider artists with a special two-day show in the courtyard.
This year they’re going one better: the House of Blues Art Show and Battle of the Blues. And thanks to the efforts of organizers Kim Dawn Clayton and Jeff Hulse, local nonprofit South By Southeast stands to benefit, too.
Over 40 folk artists and fine art folk plus 30-something blues performers and bands will be filling the courtyard, Sugar Shack, restaurant and three stages for a two-day rockin’ extravaganza of art and music.
Mark your calendars for Oct. 3 and 4, starting at 10 a.m. each day and going strong until 10 p.m.
Folk artist Kim Dawn Clayton said, “For me the art and music have always gone hand in hand, so the idea of having them in the same show feels so right.”
Kim Dawn has been a stalwart in the HOB art gallery and annual show for years. “Wait until you see the artists we have this year,” she says.
“Keith Borshack is a musician and an artist. I discovered him during my hunt for supporters for the HOB show. I was waiting to talk to the manager of Star Music. I looked up and saw Keith’s Crossroads Guitar and was determined to have him in the show. He paints these incredible guitars and sells them at Star Music.
“Chris Beck is this amazing metal artist from Dalton, Ga. He creates sculptures of clothing. He’s been working on this piece of ladies underwear hanging … well, you’ll have to ask his wife about coming home with her bosses and clients to find her underwear hanging on clotheslines all over the yard … By the way, Chris was my gallery partner for Folk Festa, which is one of the largest folk art shows in the southeast. He’s been creating a huge following … after only showing for the last few years.
“Jeff Norris is an acrylic artist who paints on recycled mediums. Jeff find humanity in the faces he paints and beauty in the imperfections. He is so talented!
“You know, he also works as a graphics designer for the Sellers Group right here in Myrtle Beach. Jeff will be creating a graphic for the winner of the blues battle. They’ll be able to use it for a CD cover or whatever they want.”
“Blair Browning is another Myrtle Beach artist. She’s amazing. You’ve seen her mosaics, I know … and she gives so much back to the arts here in our area. Blair is also a very important member of the local Round Table art group.
“Fleetwood Covington is the featured artist. He paints wonderful portraits of blues legends and musicians on tin. You can just feel the soul of the artist. That’s why he was chosen.
“He used to work on the docks. Finally, at 50, he started doing his artwork full time. He was the biggest seller at Folk Fest.
“If you’ve seen any of the posters or graphics for the HOB Art Show & Battle of the Blues, then you’ve seen Michael Tidwell’s work. And he’s a musician as well. See how it’s all together?”
At press time, musician slots are still being filled, but muscian – and music lover – Jeff Hulse took time to talk to me about some definite players.
“Burn 1 Down … This is Lynwood Salvo, Kid Drew and Russ Whitman. They’re a very aggressive, sort of shredding blues band. Drew just won the most recent stage of the Charleston Guitar Center Blues Guitar Contest. He will be attending the regional finals in Florida sometime in the near future for a chance to compete for a national title.
“Guitarist and vocalist Rickey Godfrey from Nashville will be there doing a solo act. He’ll be amped, so you know he’ll bring the house down Rickey will be on the main stage.”
Blind since birth, Rickey Godfrey is known for his exuberant performances and smoking guitar licks. He has been nominated by Music City Blues Society as both guitarist and keyboard player of the year. He’s played Europe with Sam Moore of Sam & Dave and worked with such artists as Rufus Thomas, Billy Preston and Junior Walker.
In a telephone interview, Rickey said, “I’m thrilled to be playing. It’s personally important to me for people to be aware of South By Southeast and the work they’re doing. Their goal is to present good music to folks on the coast, music than an audience might never hear. I know, as a musician, I’ve always wanted to be able to play places where the people are seriously interested in the songs I’m performing and my musicianship as a vocalist or guitarist. That’s what South By Southeast offers.”
Jeff expects Rickey to go on about 4 p.m. on Sunday. He’ll be one to watch.
Also on the roster, according to Hulse, is My Buddy Todd, aka Todd Roth. This New York native relocated to the beach in 1996. He likes his blues hot and smoky. Todd is known for playing both acoustic and electric.
“Probably one of the most passionate individuals in the community as far as giving back to the arts,” Hulse goes on, “is Dr. Joe Mayer. I have watched him for years, donating his talents and time to some many festivals and charities. I feel personally that celebrating this humble talented man will be an honor at this event. He will be doing a solo act in the courtyard playing his ukulele.”
The winning musician or band will earn a booking at the House of Blues as well as the graphic created by Jeff Norris. On Sunday night, somewhere around 7 p.m., the top two or three, as determined by the judges will have a final “battle” and a winner will be chosen.
Plans for a DVD of the weekend’s events (the sales of which were to benefit South By Southeast) were thwarted by some legal obstacles and had not been resolved by press time. In fact, Kim Dawn Clayton was already moving to replace the funds.
“It’s important to me to involve South By Southeast in this,” she explained. “They do so much in this area to keep music in the schools and to bring great music to the whole area.
“So, I’m making 500 11- by 14-inch prints of my guitar painting and donating 100% of this special signed and number limited edition to South By Southeast. Jones Printing Company in Chattanooga, Tenn., my home town, has also donated the printing.
It’s fitting that bluesman B.B. King is playing the House of Blues on Saturday night. He’s provided inspiration for many of the artists who will be there.
If You Want To Go
What: House of Blues Art Show & Battle of the Blues
When: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Oct. 3 -4 (Reception Oct. 3, 7 p.m.)
Where: House of Blues in Barefoot Landing, 4640 Hwy 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, S.C.