Shot in the Mississippi Delta, with the small town of Clarksdale as the focus, ‘Where the Southern Crosses the Dog’ documents the shifting face of blues music and culture in the state.
What was once an area employing thousands on cotton plantations is now largely devoid of industry since its mechanisation in the 1940’s. This displaced many people to the North of the Country to the likes of Chicago and Detroit in search of work, notably including many blues musicians, who took their music with them. Still largely known for its ongoing struggle with poverty and as a region lacking in opportunity, Mississippi’s future is one that has always been hard to predict, and still is today.
However, just as the fertile land has remained, so too has its recognisable style of blues music, a genre long popular with International fans. With affordable airfares making it easier to visit America from overseas, Mississippi has enjoyed a renaissance in recent times, with foreign visitors visiting the state all year round. This has provided the blues with a much needed resurgence, offering opportunities for local musicians, both experienced and upcoming, to rise.
Combined with a powerful boost of new business start ups to the area, mainly by musicians and artists moving in from the East Coast, new live music venues and art galleries are turning Clarksdale into a creative and cultural hub, attracting increasing ‘blues’ tourism, both from across the pond, and from its own fan base inland. This regeneration is evolving an area famed for its rich musical and industrial history, into a place of exciting potential. In rural towns like nearby Tutwiler, community projects are also on the rise, focused on teaching music to the next generation, as a light now shines on the blues to thrive once again, providing hope for the future.