About Us • Events • MC Wokshops at Tall City Blues Fest

Tall City Blues Fest

July 25-27, 2014

Midland, TX

The Tall City Blues Fest (TCBF), presented by Mazda of Midland/Odessa, is a multi-stage Blues music festival held in Centennial Plaza (Downtown Midland, TX). In addition to hosting award-winning performers across multiple stages, Tall City Blues Fest also hosts educational workshops, a silent art auction, a midnight spectator jam, a Gospel Brunch and an autographed memorabilia raffle.

The TCBF mission is to create irresistible fun in a family-friendly environment that contributes positively to the West Texas quality of life.

Educational workshops are in partnership with Midland College Continuing Education. All workshops are hosted on Saturday, July 26 inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Midland Plaza during Tall City Blues Fest. 100% of the registration proceeds go toward providing scholarships for KIDS' College at MC.

 To register and take advantage of the preregistration discount, please call the Midland College Community Programs Continuing Education department at (432) 685-4518.

CLICK HERE to register online for the workshops (secure site)

This year's offerings ...

By Adam Gussow
Made possible by Susan, Bill & Pancho Blair Armstrong
10-11 a.m., Ages: 14+
Min: 2 Max: 12
Doubletree Parlor 1109
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
If you've always wanted to learn how to play blues harmonica, commonly referred to as a “harp” for its reference to being a mouth harp, this workshop will open the door and walk you through. You'll learn how to hold the harp, how to make single notes and chords, how to play a basic train rhythm and how to bend and warble. Handouts will be provided. Beginner harmonicas in the key of C provided courtesy of Hohner Harmonicas. Participants are also welcome to bring their own harmonicas, as long as they are in the key of C.
What to Bring: An interest in playing harmonica.

By Ted Drozdowski
Made possible by Midland Root Beer
10-11 a.m., Ages: 8+
Min: 1 Max: 6
Doubletree Parlor 1117
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Participants will assemble a primitive one-string diddley bow made from a can, a piece of wood, nails and a wire. Muddy Waters, Jessie Mae Hemphill and countless other blues greats learned to play on an instrument like this. After constructing the instrument, which participants will keep, they will get a lesson in playing one-string Mississippi twang with slides provided by Rocky Mountain Slides. Strings are furnished courtesy of GHS Strings.
What to Bring: An interest in roots instruments

By Ted Drozdowski
Made possible by Peyton's Bikes
11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m., Ages: 14+
Min: 2 Max: 20
Doubletree Parlor 1117
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Ever wonder how Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Son House and other greats make their guitars whinny like horses on the Brazos or cry like a lost calf in the back 40? Learn how to play slide guitar in a few easy steps. This workshop will cover slide selection and materials, the two traditional styles of open tuning and essential tips for using a slide along with basic finger picking. Designed for beginning slide players and fans who want to know more about the magical sound of slide. A handout on basic open tunings will be provided.
What to Bring: An electric or acoustic guitar and a slide

By Castro Coleman, aka: Mr. Sipp
Made possible by D.L. Taylor's Consulting
11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., Ages: 6-12
Min: 2 Max: 24
Doubletree Parlor 1109
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Participants in this workshop will learn the fun, happy side of the blues, how it has come full circle, including how it started and where it is today. Taught by the 2014 International Blues Challenge Winner, Castro Coleman, he will also show participants how the music of today has evolved from the blues. This workshop will include both a presentation, as well as an interactive follow-along jam.
What to Bring: A curiosity about the blues

By Annika Chambers
Made possible by Printer Solutions
12:45-1:45 p.m., Ages: 10+
Min: 4 Max: 12
Doubletree Parlor 1109
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
This workshop is not theory, chock-full with silly tips and tricks, but rather an interactive workshop where you will learn simple changes that can bolster your confidence while performing and help you better understand how to engage your audiences. Designed for those that are already performing and would like to hone their stage presence skills or for those contemplating performing and need some basic pointers.
What to Bring: Enthusiasm and an open mind

By Tas Cru
Made possible by Roger & Lynn Clark
1-2 p.m., Ages: 10+
Min: 2 Max: 12
Doubletree Parlor 1117
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Participants will learn about developing meaningful song topics, utilizing traditional and non-traditional blues song structures and making words work with rhythm and rhyme. Performance and song content are only part of what makes a good song, so 2014 Keeping the Blues Alive recipient, Tas Cru, will help songwriters craft lyrics that make their songs engaging and memorable in this interactive workshop. Participants will leave with a solid working draft of their own blues song.
What to Bring: Song ideas and drafts of working lyrics. Participants that also play guitar or use a guitar as a songwriting tool are welcome to bring their guitar, but not required

By Matt Isbell
Made possible by Wolf Energy
2:30-3:30 p.m., Ages: 8+
Min: 1 Max: 6
Doubletree Parlor 1109
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Participants will assemble an acoustic cigar-box guitar from pre-prepped components the first half of the workshop and be led in a group jam the last half with furnished bottleneck slides. Attendees will keep both the guitar and the bottleneck slides, hand-built by Memphis-based slide and cigar-box guitar maker, Matt Isbell. No heavy or electric equipment will be used during the construction phase of the workshop.
What to Bring: An interest in handmade, simple instruments

By Gregg Wright
Made possible by Touchwood Resources
2:15 - 3:30 p.m., Ages: 14+
Min: 2 Max: 10
Doubletree Parlor 1117
$15/pre-registration | $20/walk-up registration
Develop your ear for blues guitar in this intermediate to advanced workshop with former guitar player for Michael Jackson, Gregg Wright. Gregg plays upside-down and left-handed like Hendrix, so this is not a textbook classroom style workshop that will teach technique, but rather a workshop sharing guitar wisdom that can help you plug holes in your playing and take your game to the next level. A jam session is likely to break out!
Prerequisite: A basic to intermediate ability to play electric guitar.
What to Bring: An electric guitar and small amp.

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