In 1999, Dialtone Records founder Eddie Stout began a project that would honor the very best of Texas blues. It started with the recording of the album Eastside Kings, capturing the sound of Austin’s mostly unknown African American blues musicians playing the local circuit, such as the late Austin blues guitarist Clarence Pierce, Austin songwriter and drummer Willie Sampson, and trumpeter Donald “Duck” Jennings. This led to the formation of the Eastside Kings Foundation, and the Eastside Kings Festival as it’s known today, preserving the heritage of African American blues, jazz and gospel and giving artists a platform to showcase their music.
The 8th Annual Eastside Kings Festival will be a virtual experience, featuring performances by Crystal Thomas, Soul Man Sam, Orange Jefferson, Bobby Rush(featured on today’s Austin Music Minute), Miss Lavelle White, Classic Ballou, Birdlegg, Tutu Jones, Andrea Dawson, and the house band, Eastside Kings & The Texas Horns.
Mighty, one and all. The fest kicks off at 7 p.m. (Central) tonight, Monday October 5, on Facebook Live. Donations supporting Eastside Kings may be made via the website.
-Photo of Bobby Rush by Rick Olivier.