Friday, April 19, 2013

Moonshine and Mojo Hands - The Mississippi Blues Series

If you watch TV at all these days, more likely than not, you're hooked to some form of Reality TV.  I fought it as long as I could, but I do have a couple that I tune into on a regular basis.  From my limited experience, there are some that are pretty fun and some that are aggravating and some that are, well, disturbing.  I'm sure most of you feel the same, only you might have different shows under each description from mine.  That's the way the world turns, after all.

Now, thanks to the efforts of Friday Blues Fix Friends Roger Stolle (Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art) and Jeff Konkel (Broke and Hungry Records), you can add another fun series to the list.....just check out their press release below from a couple of weeks ago.....

Award-Winning Film and Music Producers Set to Launch First Blues Music Reality Show This Fall

(CLARKSDALE, MS) – The creators of the award-winning documentaries “M For Mississippi” and “We Juke Up in Here” return in 2013 with “Moonshine & Mojo Hands,” a new weekly web-TV series dedicated to the rude, rowdy – and often ridiculous – world of Mississippi blues. The show follows hosts Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel as they travel the Delta’s back roads in search of juke joints, house parties, barbecue, moonshine and – of course – the men and women who keep this uniquely American music alive in the land of its birth.

The first season of the show will consist of 10 episodes streaming for free online this fall. Each 12-minute episode will take viewers on a wild ride through the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country to meet the region's most fascinating characters in truly unforgettable settings.

“There’s truly no place else on Earth quite like Mississippi,” Konkel said. “We can’t wait to introduce viewers to all of the great music, food, culture and characters that the state has to offer.”

The show’s producers are currently raising funds through Kickstarter at Marketing sponsorship opportunities also are available for interested individuals and organizations by e-mailing Roger Stolle at or Jeff Konkel at

“We’ve been really overwhelmed by the excitement and interest that the project has already generated,” Stolle said. “With the support of sponsors and fans, we’re confident we can create a show that will help the world understand what makes Mississippi such a weird and wonderful place.”

“Moonshine & Mojo Hands” is a joint production of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and Broke & Hungry Records in partnership with Tangent Mind, LLC and Lou Bopp.


Friday Blues Fix sat down with Konkel and Stolle earlier this week and asked a few questions about the upcoming series.  Here's what they had to say.....

Roger Stolle, Super Chikan, Jeff Konkel (Photo by Lou Bopp)

Friday Blues Fix:  What was the inspiration for Moonshine and Mojo Hands?  Was it something that came out during the making of the two documentaries?

Jeff:  Believe it or not, the biggest inspiration for the new show was Jerry Seinfeld! Last summer Roger got hooked on Seinfeld’s new web show, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. He turned me onto the show, and we both fell in love with the concept and Seinfeld’s DIY approach. We began to discuss how we could use a similar approach to explore all of the great music, food, culture and characters of Mississippi.

Roger:  Now, if we could just get some cool, vintage cars like Seinfeld has, we’d be all set! Actually, we also sound inspiration in reality TV shows like American Pickers and No Reservations since both are a similar travelogue narrative.

            FBF:    Will it be similar to the format of M for Mississippi and We Juke Up In Here?

JK:  I think anyone who has seen our earlier films will recognize our fingerprints all over Moonshine & Mojo Hands. Roger and I will once again be the “hosts,” and we will continue to travel off the beaten path to bring compelling stories featuring great music, quirky characters and plenty of humor. But there will be some differences. We’re approaching this project with more of a “television mindset.” The pacing will be faster and our production values will be a little higher, thanks to a larger production crew. But don’t worry: We’ll leave the “Jersey Shore” and “Honey Boo Boo”-type storytelling to someone else. Our reality show will put the emphasis on reality.

RS:  With all of our projects, we work very hard to bring the viewer — or listener, in the case of our recordings — on the journey with us. Jeff and I figured out a long time ago that it is the experience of visiting Mississippi and hanging out with all of the state’s insane blues characters that makes music fans travel to the Magnolia State over and over and over. This part of the world is like an onion; with every visit or project, you discover a new layer. Our goal is to capture these layers and present them to the blues-converted and the newbies alike.

FBF:  How much material do you have to work with?  Are there still a lot of Mississippi blues musicians out there waiting to be discovered?

Artheniece "Gasman" Jones (Photo by Lou Bopp)

            JK:  Plenty! In fact, we’ve already come up with too many stories to cover in our first season. This format allows us to tell some stories that simply didn’t fit into the narrower themes of our films. In addition, “Moonshine & Mojo Hands” isn’t just about Mississippi’s blues musicians, but also about the larger culture that helped foster that music. We’ll be visiting a lot of folks who make the Delta and surrounding areas so captivating: folk artists, juke owners, soul food cooks, farmers, card sharks … really anyone who contributes to the overall story of Mississippi.

            RS:  To some, “the blues” is just another genre of music. To us — and other deep blues fans — it is so much more than that. It is a culturally-connected art form, so the venues, personalities, food, chaos and history behind the music are every bit as important and interesting as the tunes themselves. We’ve got some amazing blues experiences scheduled for our viewers in Season One!

(Photo by Lou Bopp)

FBF:  So far, your fundraiser has been a success.  What other needs do you have to get the ball rolling on this series?

            JK:  In truth, we still need to raise quite a bit more money. Our Kickstarter goal represented just a fraction of the overall money we need to make the show. Whatever we aren’t able to raise through our crowd-funding campaign will have to come from marketing sponsors. We hope that blues fans will continue to support our effort at

            RS:  Jeff’s exactly right. It is crazy how expensive it is to do these types of projects correctly and on-schedule. The travel costs (from gas to hotels to meals). The talent costs (from musicians to juke owners to general characters). The production costs (from designers to cameramen to editors). Everything adds up very quickly. Our Kickstarter campaign is just about getting the project done. The more we raise, the better the episodes and, frankly, the better chance that we’ll see a Season Two!

Thanks for the info, guys.  We can't wait to see it.  For anyone interested in contributing to the cause, please go to the Kickstarter site.  They are offering some nice prizes in exchange for certain contribution levels, so if you've got a few coins to spare, you will be certainly be rewarded in the coming months.

Before we go for the weekend, a reminder for all you local blues fans in Mississippi, particularly the east central region, Friday Blues Fix friend Lenard Ingram is hard at work, putting the final touches on Philadelphia, MS's own blues club, the 424 Blues Cafe'.  The official opening is just down the road a piece, but Ingram is opening it up this weekend to welcome Jarekus Singleton and his band for a Saturday night, April 20th show, beginning at 8:30 pm.  Admission is only $10 and if you're familiar with Mr. Singleton, a former All State high school basketball star who recently made quite an impression at the 2013 IBC in Memphis, you know that it will be a great show (see below, courtesy of another FBF friend, Ms. Peggy Brown).  The 424 Blues Cafe' is located on 424 Beacon Street in Philadelphia, MS.  Just look for the blue and red sign and listen for the blues.

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