I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, this is a great time to be in Greenwood, especially with the South Carolina Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise coming to town July 10-12.
We’re just 18 days away from the opening of the 14th annual event that’s a celebration of all things barbecue, hash and blues. It’s also two weeks before the Index-Journal publishes the official guide to the Festival of Discovery and Blues Cruise. For the second year, the newspaper has worked with Uptown Greenwood Development Corp. and the City of Greenwood on the publication.
The guide will be in the July 6 edition of the paper as well as at different locations in Uptown Greenwood during the Festival of Discovery and Blues Cruise.
We’re working on stories, lists, maps and musician bios for the special section.
For the band bios, we ask each performer or group to take a few minutes and answer a few bullet-point questions to help those attending learn a little more about them. That way, visitors can look at the bios, see the pictures and come up with a plan of attack in order to see the performers they think they would most like to see.
The questions are pretty basic and usually don’t take but a second or two to complete ... things like style of blues you play, honors, performed with, social media presence, CDs and so on.
There’s also another question asked of the performers that I think is the most fun to see how it is answered. Last year, the variety of answers was amazing. This year is no different.
The question is, “Right now, I’m listening to ...” Here’s a sneak peek at some of the answers, but don’t forget to be surprised when you read them in the guide.
Adam Gussow, of The Blues Doctors with Alan Gross, is pretty “happy” these days. How could he not be? He’s listening to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I don’t see how anyone who is listening to the song from Disney’s “Despicable Me 2” wouldn’t have a smile on their face.
James Armstrong is listening to Keb Mo.
Bill Howl-N-Madd Perry is listening to his own music as well as that of Tracy Chapman.
Chris Whiteley of Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley is listening to the best of Delmark Records. The label is home to artists including Clarence Jelly Johnson, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, Barrelhouse Buck McFarland, Yank Rachell and Shirley Johnson, who is on the Blues Cruise lineup this year.
Johnson is listening to some classic female voices ... Etta James, Denise LaSalle and Ko Ko Taylor.
And then there’s Maurice John Vaughn. He’s listening to live and studio tracks for a new CD he’s working on.
He’s also listening to the voices in his head. He’s not the only one with that affliction.
Gary Erwin, aka Shrimp City Slim, is a performer and the music coordinator for the Blues Cruise. His was the first to show up back in my email.
Erwin is listening to “The Very Best of Dionne Warwick.” Originally released in 2000, the CD contains some of pop music classic hits, including “Don’t Make me Over,” “Walk on By,” “Message to Michael,” “Alfie,” “I Say as Little Prayer,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “Promises, Promises,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “Then Came You.”
Hounddog Baskerville of the King Bees might just be trying to score brownie points with Erwin. Baskerville has Erwin’s “Star Marina” in his player these days.
I’ll tell you what, listening to “Star Marina” might not be a bad idea heading into the Blues Cruise. The 14-song CD released last year pays homage to Greenwood’s past on “The Starlite Room.”
If you have the CD, I’m sure you’ve heard and know most of the places Erwin mentions. If not, get yourself a copy during the Blues Cruise. Listen to it throughout the year and then give it some heavy play as you prepare for the 2015 Blues Cruise ... just for good measure.

Sitarz can be reached at 864-943-2529 or via email at jsitarz@indexjournal.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.