Terry “Big T” Williams to headline Black History Month celebration at Black River Technical College

Terry “Big T” Williams grew up on a plantation in Farrell, Mississippi. It was the 1960s and the civil rights movement was on in his state and the rest of the country. He spent many nights listening to artists such as Muddy Waters and BB King, dreaming of the day he would become a famous blues musician himself.

Eventually he had his chance, and now he is one of the most well-known folk artists in the Mississippi Delta.

Williams will headline Black River Technical College’s Black History Month celebration on Feb. 24.

“A Conversation with the Blues” will feature Williams on guitar and vocals and Jerry Bone on bass. Mike Doyle, retired KASU manager and ASU instructor, will introduce the star guests and discuss the roots of the blues and how the blues influenced music.

When he was 12, the Jelly Roll Kings (Big Jack Johnson, Frank Frost and Sam Carr) took Williams under their wing and eventually took him on the road with them. Williams’ dream of leading his own band soon came true and over the years he has been a member of several bands including The Creative Funk, The Stone Gas Band and Big T & The Family Band. He currently resides in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he was born, and performs throughout the United States with his current band, Big T and his Review Band.

Jerry Bone of Oxford, Ark., is one of the region’s most experienced blues and rock musicians. A respected bassist by band members from the Arkansas/Missouri Ozarks to the Mississippi Delta, Bone was a member in the 1990s of The Famous Unknowns, a band selected by BB King as the house band for the Memphis, Tenn nightclub. which bears the name of King. Over ten years ago he became the bass player of Batesville’s Lockhouse Orchestra which gave tribute concerts to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Levon Helm and The Band.

Mike Doyle, who will serve as emcee and moderator for the event, retired from running KASU at Jonesboro, the NPR public radio station for that region. Doyle was a co-founding producer/host of Arkansas Roots, the station’s midday show that focuses on Arkansas’ musical heritage and current scene. He still produces segments for Arkansas Roots and the weekly Music from the Isles, an hour of Celtic music. He also taught in the journalism and media department at Arkansas State University for 35 years before retiring in 2018.

The event is free and open to the public at the Randolph County Development Center on the BRTC Pocahontas campus. The event is made possible by the BRTC Foundation and the Eddie Mae Herron Center.

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