The Tennessee Arts Commission proudly introduces the following guest artists who will perform during the Collective Impact conference:
Tuesday, June 7, 5:00 p.m.
Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny is an eight-piece, old-time string band from Rover, Tennessee with a mission: to relieve stress, give off good vibes, and cause a general feeling of well-being in all people, while promoting the awesomeness of old-time music. They can be counted on to deliver a high-energy performance influenced by Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones, the Carter Family, and other old-time greats.
Members include: Uncle Shuffelo- Banjo, Vocals; Emma Jean Williams- Washboard, Autoharp, Jug, Vocals; Megan Williams- Washboard, Kazoo, Vocals; Courtney Williams- Tuba, Guitar, Banjo Uke, Vocals; Jimmy Bratcher- Guitar, Vocals; Brian Derryberry- Upright Bass, Vocals; Austin Derryberry- Fiddle, Banjo, Banjo Uke, Tenor Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals; and Conner Derryberry – Spoons
Wednesday, June 8, 12:30 p.m.
Ben Hall is a multi-talented entertainer from Nashville, Tennessee. At the age of 16, he won the National and International Thumbstyle Guitar Contests, as well as the Horizon Award from the prestigious National Thumbstyle Guitar Hall of Fame. While attending Belmont University, Hall managed to perform at some of Nashville’s most famous venues including the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. In 2011, New York based record label Tompkins Square, released the critically acclaimed album, entitled Ben Hall!. With the release of this debut recording, Hall brought forth a style that very few young guitarists pursue, in the tradition of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He continues the thumbstyle tradition by making frequent appearances as a soloist and clinician. Hall is also in high demand as a sideman and studio musician, performing alongside many artists from a variety of genres.
Thursday, June 9, 12:30 p.m.
Mariachi Olímpico de Nashville is a popular Mexican mariachi band currently performing throughout venues in Middle Tennessee, in particular every Sunday from 4-8 at Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant in Nashville. The group’s members include: Alvarado Robles on vihuela, Juan Diego Sandoval on violin, Jesús Gordillo on guitarrón, and Juanito Martínez on trumpet. The newly formed Mariachi Olímpico wowed crowds at last year’s Celebration of Nations in Franklin and recently accompanied Country singer Tim McGraw on a Freddie Fender song in a recording session. Their repertoire features such mariachi standards as “Son de La Negra,” “Son de la Madrugada,” and “Cielito Lindo,” as well as jarocho tunes from Veracruz such as “La Bamba” and mariachi versions of Tennessee favorites such as “Rocky Top.”
Mariachi is a folk musical form that was developed in Western Mexico in the nineteenth century. As the style evolved, it encompassed influences from norteña (northern Mexican) music such as polkas and waltzes, in addition to adopting the use of trumpets and the distinctive charro, or Jaliscan cowboy, outfits. Mariachi music rose to national prominence in the first half of the 20th century, becoming the predominant musical symbol of Mexican national identity.
Thursday, June 9, 5:00 p.m.
Elliott McClain is an independent pianist, artist, and musician who specializes in session recording and live performance. Blind since birth, Elliott started playing piano as soon as he discovered a keyboard, and has been known ever since for his exceptional aural and improvisational skills in diverse musical styles.
As a freshman, Elliott was selected to perform with the premier jazz ensemble at Belmont University. He was honored to have feature roles in the 2014 President’s concert, the nationally televised Christmas at the Belmont performance in 2013, and the Woods Piano Scholar Concert at Cheekwood Arts and Gardens. Prior to college, Elliott performed with Lake Rise Place (LRP), a local pop trio, as keyboardist and lead vocalist in numerous local events and venues from 2008-2012.
Elliott has a Bachelor of Music degree in Commercial Music from Belmont University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music.
Friday, June 10, 11:30 a.m.
A child born with a veil over her face indicating a sixth sense, delivered by her midwife grandmother into a family of six children, Mississippi Millie remembers not just the hymns she heard the choir sing in the Baptist church where her mother played piano, but also the ‘Devil’s Music’ she heard performed in the Delta.
When she was twelve, Millie found herself standing before Philadelphia audiences, belting out tunes made popular by such Blues greats as Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday. During the ’60s, Millie traveled to New York City with her sister. There she was offered the opportunity to tour Europe with the Catherine Dunham troupe as a ‘pivot girl’. Millie also took this time to broaden her repertoire to include not only the Blues she loved, but Soul and Rock music, as well. To appease her mother, Millie even took opera lessons.
Millie’s career gained momentum in the 70s when she was invited to sub for Roberta Hightower, lead singer for the Orlons, a predominantly female group best remembered for their Top Ten hit, “Don’t Hang Up.” Eventually, Milled became the permanent lead, but at the end of five years, she moved to Nashville, TN for a songwriting deal.
Millie then moved to Los Angeles where she quickly built a solid fan. During this rich 80s musical period, Millie also traveled from Los Angeles to Phoenix, Arizona, to headline the Women in Blues Week with KoKo Taylor and Sue Foley. All the while, this deep-down Blues singer remained true to her Delta roots, earning for herself the nickname, ‘Mississippi Millie.’
After 15 fruitful years in California, Millie moved back to Nashville and the impetus Millie needed to finally dig into a solo recording. Titled “Mississippi Millie, Acoustic Delta Blues,” the CD showcases an artist who is able to infuse the original sounds of the Mississippi Delta with her own brand of originality and style, while remaining true to the heart and soul of Blues music. While Mississippi Millie continues to record her original songs, she is also continually fine-tuning her one-woman show, “Mother Blues.”
Friday, June 10, 12:30 p.m.
LeAnthony Douglas began studying dance at age 10 in the New Ballet Ensemble (NBE) residency program at Dunbar Elementary School in his inner-city neighborhood—the Orange Mound community in Memphis. He was accepted into the NBE studio program in the seventh grade where he became a serious ballet student, and still returned to Dunbar each afternoon to assist with the after-school program there.
Since joining NBE, Douglas has danced in the company’s collaboration with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and legendary cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, and in a number of the company’s major productions, including the renowned Nut Remix. He has toured Shelby County schools with NBE teaching artists, traveled to New York City to perform at the Alvin Ailey school, and was in an NBE ensemble that performed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2014, premiering a new work choreographed to Duke Ellington’s orchestral suite, “Harlem.”
LeAnthony is a rising senior at Melrose High School in Memphis and this summer he’s a full scholarship student at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.