Musicians Hall of Fame bringing inductions to city|[7/15/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 15, 2005

For at least a century, Mississippi has produced world-renown musicians who have sold millions of records, changed history and influenced culture.

For 10 years, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, has honored those musicians. This year, beginning Oct. 1, a weeklong celebration with inductions and entertainment by some of Mississippi’s top musicians will be at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Inductions have been held every year in Jackson, and one year in Hattiesburg, but hall of fame founder Dr. Jim Brewer, 71, said a move here was met with enthusiasm.

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“We feel very privileged to have it here in Vicksburg and we’re looking forward to looking at the possibility of having a museum here,” said Annette Kirklin, special projects coordinator at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Brewer will decide after the eight-day event whether Vicksburg will be the location for a museum of inductees and Mississippi music memorabilia.

“We’re working toward having a museum and there has been a lot of interest from Vicksburg in having this here,” he said. “So, this year, we’re exploring that possibility.”

Kirklin said they want Vicksburg to be home for Mississippi music history.

“This could mean a huge economic impact,” she said. “Even the event – this is not just a statewide event. People all over the world know about Mississippi music.”

Brewer decided creating a hall of fame for Mississippi’s musicians was long past due. It all started when he saw a concert at the University of Southern Mississippi, in his hometown of Hattiesburg.

“I heard a composition by a Mississippian who had been to Hollywood and composed music for Clint Eastwood films,” he said. “I was so impressed – I thought there should be some means of honoring her music. That was the genesis of the whole thing.”

More than 65 Mississippi musicians have been inducted since 1995. In the last 10 years, musicians such as Leontyne Price, Jimmie Rodgers, Faith Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Lance Bass, Ike Turner, Jimmy Buffett, Marty Stuart and Vicksburg’s own Willie Dixon have been honored and entered into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.

This year is the first year that the event has been longer than two days. Brewer, a retired professor at Mississippi College, said the reason it was extended into an eight day celebration was to focus on the three genres – rock, country and blues – that were truly born in this state. Gospel will also be recognized as a genre that has affected all the others.

Those performing or being inducted into the hall of fame this year are the Blackwoods and the Blackwood family, the Mississippi Mass Choir, Bob Saxton, Rick McWilliams, the Taylor Grocery Band, Fred Knobloch, Mac McAnally, Andy Anderson and the Original Rolling Stones, The Flares, Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, Doug Deming with Fingers Taylor, Super Chikan and Larry Taylor Band.

Workshops, including one for teachers wanting to teach Mississippi music in the classroom, and a talent search will also be part of the eight days of events.

Brewer said the most important reason for starting the hall of fame is to celebrate the birthplace of American music. He believes in it so much that those words have become, not only his slogan, but also that of the Mississippi Tourism Industry.

“It’s gratifying that other people recognize this,” Brewer said. “It’s past time we started promoting our own musical heritage.”


The Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame will induct musicians for 2005 and offer concerts, workshops and seminars on rock, country, blues and gospel Oct. 1-8 at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Events are: