Mississippi Celebrates Its Grammy Legacy

Mississippi celebrates its enduring connection to the Grammy Awards May 27 with a gala hosted by Governor Haley Barbour and First Lady Marsha Barbour.

The event, the fourth such celebration of its kind in as many years, is part of the state's ongoing campaign to reinforce awareness of its identity as "The Birthplace of America's Music." This year's edition of Mississippi Celebrates Its Grammy Legacy moves to Biloxi's Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; it had previously taken place in Tunica and Jackson.

The evening's performers include jazz great Cassandra Wilson, a tribute to Jim Henson led by conductor Benjamin Wright, country singer/songwriter Mac McAnally, gospel greats The Williams Brothers with the Mississippi Mass Choir, Swedish superstar Beatrice, plus a special "Bluesapalooza" performance featuring Eddie Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Zac Harmon, King Edward and Bobby Rush. Joey Lauren Adams will, for the third time serve as mistress of ceremonies.

The diversity of talent and genres is staggering, ranging from down home blues to gospel heights with classical and country thriving side by side. This underscores the fact that Mississippi has long been one of the most fertile breeding grounds for music of all kinds. This phenomenon is further reflected in the disproportionate number of winners and nominees with Mississippi roots that have been honored by The Recording AcademyŽ over the course of the 53-year history of the GRAMMY Awards.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Mississippi Blues Commission's Blues Trail project that places interpretive markers at notable historical sites related to the history and growth of the blues throughout the state. Peavey Electronics Corporation, Mississippi's own much-celebrated musical innovators and the Mississippi Development Authority are, again, sponsoring the gala and associated activities.

In announcing the event, Governor Barbour noted, "Our three previous GRAMMY celebrations and this year's Mississippi Night At The GRAMMY MuseumŽ in Los Angeles were all amazing celebrations of Mississippi music. The common theme carried throughout is the vast number of significant and very brilliant contributions by Mississippi artists, reflecting the nurturing, creative soul of our great state. As we have never fail to remind, "If it's music, it's Mississippi.'"

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