SHEFFIELD – Colbert County Tourism is thrilled to announce an exciting event as part of our We Rocked the World: Muscle Shoals Music Summer Concert Series. On Thursday, July 27th, 2023, at 6 pm, we invite music enthusiasts to join us at the Ritz Theatre for a captivating performance by the renowned blues artist, Mark “Muleman” Massey.
The concert, held in the intimate setting of the Ritz Studio located beside the main theatre, promises to be an extraordinary show filled with soulful blues melodies. As an official Handy Week event, this performance will immerse attendees in the rich musical heritage of the Muscle Shoals region.
Hard time leads to hard blues. That’s the story behind Mark “Mule Man” Massey. Growing up in the cradle of the Delta blues, Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mark Massey heard plenty of blues. But it took a stretch in Parchman Prison for Mark to discover the blues’ deeper meaning. It was there he met and befriended David Kimbrough, son of legendary Mississippi blues icon, Junior Kimbrough, who taught him the basics of the blues and got him a spot in the Parchman Prison Band. Upon his release, Mark was determined to turn his negative experience into a positive.
In the early 1990s – when he wasn’t busy with farm work (hence the name “Mule Man”) – he began his career as a blues guitarist and singer playing every dive and juke joint he could in northern Mississippi. Eventually he honed his skills well enough to play in the International Blues Competition as well as the better blues clubs like B.B. King’s on Beale Street and Morgan Freeman’s “Ground Zero.” Along the way, he received support and encouragement from many regional musicians including longtime friend of the Center for Southern Folklore and blues harmonica player extraordinaire Blind Mississippi Morris. Morris schooled Mark in the rich legacy of the blues masters who came before him. As Mark puts it, because of
Morris, “Today when I play their music, I can really feel those guys. I keep playing because I want to keep their songs alive.”
Admission to Mark “Muleman” Massey at the Ritz is $10, and we encourage attendees to support the historic Ritz Theatre through donations. These donations will go towards the upcoming renovations of the Ritz Theatre Complex. To reserve your spot for this unforgettable night of blues, please visit tennesseevalleyarts.org. We anticipate high demand, so early reservations are recommended.
Join Colbert County Tourism and celebrate the upcoming W.C. Handy Week by experiencing the soul-stirring music of Mark “Muleman” Massey. Let us come together as a community to honor the rich musical heritage of our region while contributing to the preservation of the Ritz Theatre.
Media Release/Maryanne Floyd/Director of Communications/Colbert County Tourism & Convention Bureau