Just a few miles from the Crossroads where legend has it that Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil to play the blues is the Hopson Plantation, where blues enthusiasts and accomplished musicians will gather on Sunday to celebrate the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming.
Eden Brent, winner of the 2010 Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year, is one of the headliners. She says, “It’s one of my favorite days of the year. And it’s not only Pinetop’s homecoming, but it feels like a homecoming for a lot of the blues musicians who are traveling all the time. And so we naturally we get to see each other at various festivals, but it’s very rare that we all get to get together.”
The annual event takes place at the Hopson Plantation and Shack Up Inn just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi, from 2:00 to 7:00 PM.
The plantation is now home to the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming, and it’s on the heels of the King Biscuit Blues Festival just across the Mississippi River in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. Eden Brent has made it to almost every homecoming since its inception in 2000. Pinetop died earlier this year, but not before he and his musical partner Willie “Big Eyes” Smith took home a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album of 2010, “Joined at the Hip.”
Just outside the Hopson Plantation is a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker that gives homage to Pinetop, not only for his magnificent boogie-woogie piano style, but also because he used to drive a tractor here in the 1940s.
A thousand people, fans and musicians alike, are expected Sunday. There will be three stages and jam sessions everywhere. This year, will be the first without Pinetop, but he’ll be here in spirit.