Home territory barns


If you arrived here looking for an article on the Blues Music Awards, scroll down past this new post or click here.

Old barn on US HIghway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Just off U.S. Highway 63 south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, this old barn was high on my list of requests to shoot. It is in good condition and sits in a well maintained pasture alongside the highway. There is a tad of lean to the right side.

A big benefit of residing in a not-to-terribly-large metro area is that you are still close to the last vestiges of the former predominantly rural society experienced by our parents and grandparents, to wit: old barns. The barns you see on this post are prima-facie evidence of that benefit. They are no further than 10 or 15 minutes from my humble abode.

old barn on I-530 near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Click to see another L.A. barn

Though many  of our remaining barns are crumbling and/or on the verge of collapse, for a lot of folks, these old structures exude a certain panache and charm not otherwise available. I am one of those so infected.

A goodly number of my similarly afflicted friends asked me to shoot the one you see above and one you will find on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com.  The one you will see at Corndancer has deteriorated far past the one you see above, so get a good look. The next warhorse storm could convert it to kindling wood.

old red barn on us highway 63 near pine bluff arkansas

Taking a closer look at the old barn on Highway 63, it appears to be in better condition than many of the old barns I have photographed. The remaining red is makes for a great old barn patina — just the thing that makes barn aficionados salivate.

Barn on Mount Harmony Road south of Pine Bluff Arkansas

Just a hop, skip, and jump south on Highway 63 from our red barn, turn right on Mount Harmony Road. It won’t be long before you see this barn. It is in good condition and was apparently in place before the neighborhood which has built up around it.

Old barn on Mount Harmony Church Road near PIne Bluff AR

Stay on Mount Harmony Road for a mile or so and you will come across this leaning barn. It is near a residence and sits in a large well-tended yard. This view is available from your vehicle. In fact, I did not leave the truck to get this shot.

And now my friends, I am giving you the bird!

Bird perched  on a pasture gate

When I arrived at the red barn, I noticed a bevy of birds perched on the entrance gate. The birds  kept a wary eye on me but did not fly while I snapped the long lens to Mr. Nikon. They even stayed in place while I shot out the window.  As soon as I stepped out the pickup door, they launched. This critter was the most intriguing of the bunch. I’m not certain, but I’m thinking the bird is a immature Purple Martin. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Remember, as much as you may enjoy seeing old barns, the pleasure is fleeting. Enjoy now before it’s too late. That’s meaningful for other things too.

See larger pictures of all of the barns (and the bird) from Corndancer and Weekly Grist in our Weekly Grist gallery

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Top of the blues to ya!


drummer at the 2012 blues music awards

This drummer seems to be having the time of his life as he performs with his band in the 2012 Blues Music Awards in the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, May 10, 2012. I had to squeeze my ungainly frame between a couple of shipping containers to get the shot but cannot argue with the results.

Being a blues fan and a photographer — and hovering around the stage — and shooting the 2012 Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee is a highly desirable combination of circumstances I recently enjoyed. You can get in on the start of this story on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. We’ll wait here until you come back.

Johnny Sansone

Click on the harp player for more pictures

The room was packed with performers and blues fans from around the planet, in fact, you’ll see a picture of international blues standout Ian Seigal below as he performed in the program.  The format of the program alternated between conferring awards with performances by bands and individuals, many of whom received awards that night and previously. It was hold on to your hats, let the good times roll. Before the night was over the audience was dancing in the aisles. Upward to 2,000 attended the event. Attendees dictated the dress code which went from black tie to blue jeans — and it was all smiles.

Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb, 2012 Blues Music Award Acoustic Artist of the Year turned in an energetic performance. As you watched and listened you knew that every fiber in his being was going into his tunes.

As an art form, the Blues is purely American and purely southern in it roots. Past that, you’ll find blues fans in every corner of the earth. Though the uninformed might consider the blues to be a somber expression, nothing is further from the truth. In most performances, even the most jaded cynics can be seen tapping their fingers or moving their feet. The true believers are playing air guitars and grinning from ear-to-ear. It was that kind of night. The music was infectious in a good sort of way.

Wayne Russell

Wayne Russell, normally found playing bass in the Reba Russell band (she’s his wife), was providing his stellar services to another band in the program. Russell is not only a talented musician but is a gifted visual artist as well.

Ian Siegel

Ian Siegal performs in the 2012 Blues Music Awards. The misty appearance adds some oomph to to the back room blues ambiance of this picture.

Grady Champion who bills himself as “The Mississippi Bluesman” was the closing act. As the program wound down, he wound up and had the audience on its feet, clapping, tapping their feet and dancing in the aisles. Everyone left with a smile on their faces. Mind you, the program runs from 7:oo p.m. until 1:00 a.m. At 1:00 a.m., there was still a respectable and happy crowd left.

Grady Champion

As he whipped the audience into a happy frenzy as the closing act, Grady Champion turned to me and smiled. I took the hint.

I shot just over 2,700 exposures and filled four 8-gig cards and part of another. I selected 107 images to include in the galleries linked below. You should get an idea of the great celebration by taking a tad of time to peruse the pictures.

2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 1
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 2
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 3
2012 Blues Music Awards Gallery 4

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

The Blues smorgasbord


John Hammond performing

Blues Guitarist John Hammond performs at the 2011 Blues Music Awards in Memphis TN. Not normally seen by the audience is the sound engineer in the pit below the stage. He coordinates with the board engineer on the hall floor. They make the music sound cool. Hammond was the winner of the Blues Music Awards "Acoustic Artist of the Year" award. As one listened to him play, it was no mystery why he won the prize.

Once a year, Blues aficionados  from around the globe gather in Memphis TN to bestow awards on those whom they believe have eclipsed everyone else in certain categories for the past twelve months. The event is the Blues Music Awards, a function of the Blues Foundation. This  year, due to some really good friends, we were a part of that crowd May 5, 2011.  The night rocked!

Smokin' Joe Kubeck

See Blues pictures at Corndancer dot-com

Before venturing further, may I suggest that you go to the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story started and get in on the beginning. You will see pictures of performers Steve Miller and Buddy Guy, along with Smokin’ Joe Kubeck, whose thumbnail picture you see to the left. We will wait here for your eventual return.

As would be expected, you saw everything from designer togs to thready jeans, but it being a blues event, that’s exactly what one would expect. The crowd was milling around imbibing and chatting while perusing silent auction items, a staple at non-profit organization events. Attendees were seated 10 to round tables. We were fortunate to be seated with friends who are members of the Memphis Blues Society.

Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness, a former Best Female Contemporary Artist and BB King Entertainer of the year, wowed the crowd with her energetic vocals. She tours with her band and makes around 200 appearances a year. In her spare time she is a foster children advocate.

The Steve Miller Band was the opening act. He was followed by the likes of Buddy Guy, the Mannish Band, Janiva Magness, Karen Lovely, Willie  “Big Eyes Smith” and a host of other performers. Their acts punctuated the awards and kept the place rocking.

The Nighthawks Acoustic Blues Band

The Nighthawks Acoustic Blues Band,winners of the Acoustic Album of the Year for their "Last Train to Bluesville." They clearly demonstrated why they won.

See more Blues pictures

Check out the our three galleries of pictures from the 2011 Blues Music Awards. You’ll see Steve Miller, Buddy Guy and a host of other famous blues performers.

Blues Music Awards Gallery-1, 37 pictures

gallery thumbnail

Blues Music Awards Gallery-2, 20 pictures

2011 Blues Music Awards Gallery-2

Blues Music Awards Gallery-3, 29 pictures

2011 Blues Music Awards Gallery-3

 Speaking of punctuation, my enjoyment of the performance was temporarily punctuated by a waiter dropping a charger full of plated dinners on my person. I heard this strange noise and saw cheese and macroni, fish, green beens and rib meat, plates and lids tumbling into my lap. The wait staff was about to panic, but I assured them that all was well as I wiped cheese and macaroni from the back of a Nikon D300. Nothing was hurt but my feelings, so I laughed and told them to be cool.

Flooded house

Flooded residence on Arkansas Highway 1, north of DeWitt, Arkansas. We were on this road because the White River was over a bridge on I-40.

Due to the recent rains that have turned the Delta into a large pond dotted with islands of dry land, we took a detour route to Memphis which added about 45 minutes to the trip. Not too bad. Mostly a pleasant drive through the Delta. The pictures here are on the trip back.

Your own personal levee

Just a bit further down the road, we saw a residence where the owners took matters into their own hands. They built a levee around their house and barn which appears to be in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 feet AGL (above ground level).

Homemade levee around house

Ready for high water. Enterprising homeowners built their own levee.

Levee around delta home

Closeup of your own personal levee.

Since this is primarily an agricultural area, people are no strangers to working with dirt and have the equipment to do the job. Driving on, just outside DeWitt, we saw a tall plume of black smoke. If there was a fire, I wanted to see and shoot it.

House on fire

A burning house in DeWitt, Arkansas. I visited with neighbors who told me the fire was set deliberately to destroy the house.

We found the fire. After the neighbors told me it was deliberately set, I wondered why. Taking a second look at the flaming structure, I noticed that is was covered with old late 40s asbestos siding. Not a bad idea, but asbestos is not terribly flammable. Good luck folks.

land leveler towed behind pickup

Just east of Humphrey, Arkansas on Highway 152, we ran up on a pickup towing a land leveler which was as wide as the highway.

 Just 25 miles or so from home, we came up behind a land leveler being towed by a pickup. The driver did not notice us at first, but we eschewed honking the horn anyway. He finally saw us and carefully pulled to the right to let us by. I say carefully because that sucker would mow down mailboxes in a heartbeat.

A few minutes later, on the final run for home, we were not so fortunate. We came up behind a wide load personified as the dump body of one of those huge strip mine dump trucks which will hold approximately a small town. We followed him for about 15 miles when we reached an alternate route. Finally made it home in one piece. The dogs were glad.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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