by Max Brantley
Brian Chilson provides photos from the blues festival in Helena, along with this good report:
Every year there is something amazing on the streets of Helena, last year is was the cigar box diddley bows - a frustratingly simple instrument that, in the hands of a real musician, was able to fill the streets with more sound generated from one string and a stick plunged through the center of a box, than I have ever been able to generate from a 300 dollar 6 sting guitar. And Valerie June (at left), who belts out a hell of a tune with a voice completely incompatible with her appearance.
This year it was 16-year-old St.Louis son Marquise Knox who sat in with the fellow teenagers the Hiser Bothers. This kid channeled Muddy Waters and the howling wolf with a voice that comes from the depths - I honest to god thought it was a tape of some ancient blues great until I came close enough to see him. He mesmerized a street full of people who could not believe the voice coming out of this kid. If this kid could get a contract he could book himself in any blues club in the country.