Local band playing in Mississippi blues festival

Frank Lewis

April 6, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Local band Mothman will be returning for their third shot at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss., on Saturday, April 13. The 10th annual festival celebrates blues with more than 100 blues acts performing.

“It’s a music and cultural festival celebrating the blues and the history and the tradition that goes along with that town. It’s kind of made popular in popular culture as the place where (blues singer) Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to be able to play guitar, kind of like in the move ‘Crossroads.’ That’s the blues crossroads right there,” said band member Todd Martin.

Mothman first began performing together locally in 1990 as an original alternative rock music act. Today they play mostly cover songs. Since forming, the band has recorded thousands of songs — both covers and original songs — and produced two albums. They’ve toured to perform at the legendary CBGB’s in New York, an acoustic tour of Maine, and this is the third time Mothman has performed at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss. Their first appearance was in 2007, then they returned in 2008.

“There’s a lot of activities and things for kids to do at the Juke Joint Festival. A lot of cutural activities all centered around the blues phenomenon that’s happening down south,” Martin said.

The band’s lineup has changed many times since it formed 23 years ago, but Martin has always been a member. He’ll perform guitar and vocals at the Juke Joint Festival next weekend, joined by blues musicians Andrew Ginn on drums and Jacob Ankrom on keyboard and bass. Martin said Ginn and Ankrom will perform with Mothman in upcoming local shows also.

“We’ve really been able to come in and beef up our setup. We’ve really got an authentic blues-rock sound now,” Martin said.

For more information about the Juke Joint Festival, find them online at www.jukejointfestival.com.

If you can’t make the 10-hour drive to Clarksdale, Miss., this weekend, you’ll have another chance to hear Mothman perform a free show at the 2013 Scioto County Trout Derby on April 27. Martin said Mothman CDs are available at their shows.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.