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Big Muddy Blues Festival to bring sounds, soul to St. Louisans this weekend

From left, Jeremy Segal-Moss, Renee Smith and Tracy Mitchell are all involved with the Big Muddy Blues Festival slated for this weekend.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
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From left, Jeremy Segal-Moss, Renee Smith and Tracy Mitchell are all involved with the Big Muddy Blues Festival slated for this weekend.

Blues music runs deep in St. Louis’ roots, and this weekend St. Louisans will celebrate the genre with one of the largest outdoor music events in the region.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the upcoming 2018 Big Muddy Blues Festival with co-coordinator Jeremy Segal-Moss.

“St. Louis is flush with music,” Segal-Moss said. “There are so many bands of quality and of historical importance … and even with the 70 bands that [will be at the festival], there could’ve been 125 without trying.”

Over the course of the weekend, scattered across seven stages in Laclede’s Landing, a variety of local bands will play more than 19 hours of music for listeners’ ears – and souls.

Local blues musicians Tracy Mitchell and Renee Smith also added to the conversation.

“It’s rooted in gospel; it’s soulful,” Mitchell said about the music. “It talks about everyday issues that people have, so that’s where I think the connection [for people] comes.”

With a few music interludes serving as examples of St. Louis blues music, Smith chimed in to explain her relationship to the genre.

“It’s a feeling,” Smith said. “The blues comes from deep within. You have to feel what you’re doing. If you can’t feel it, then it’s no point in you trying to sing it. It starts way down in the deep of your soul, and I feel the blues. If there’s a song that I’m going to perform, I have to relate to it and feeling it. If I’ve experienced it, it’s a good thing because I’ll sing it. If I have not experienced it, then I can’t sing it.”

Both Segal-Moss and Mitchell agreed with this notion.

“When you hear that music, you know, it just does something to you on the inside,” said Mitchell, whose blues mentor was his mother-in-law, the renowned Fontella Bass.

For Segal-Moss, he knew he was interested in the blues “as soon as [he] heard it,” when he was a teenager.

Hear it for yourself:

Related Event
What: 23rd Annual Big Muddy Blues Festival
When: 3 – 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 through Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018
Where: Laclede’s Landing (710 N. 2nd St., St. Louis, MO 63102)
More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.

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