Take A Bayou Trip With Mr. Sipp

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Located right off Highway 55 in between Jackson and New Orleans, the past and future of the blues intersect in an old, forgotten building in Post to Post Links II error: No link found for term slug "Magnolia, Mississippi". The interstate carries drivers through the Big Easy and into the Delta where the history runs as deep as the Mississippi River.

Castro Coleman, known professionally as Mr. Sipp, is building a monument  to the blues legends of Mississippi and creating a sacred space to support and promote the sanctity of live music.

“There’s an old historical building that was sealed up in 1925, the old Norwood building in downtown Magnolia, Mississippi that I am bringing up a live music blues venue. There is nothing of that caliber in a 50 mile radius north, south, east or west,” he says. “People pass New Orleans and they want to drive up to the Delta to see the crossroads and they have to pass right by me,” he says.

“A lot of the great blues players actually come from Mississippi. Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and the list goes on. Sixty or 70 years later, I come on the scene walking in the footsteps of my forefathers who laid the foundation and paved the way for young musicians like myself to come in and do some of the things they did and take it higher if that’s possible.”

Coleman is among the lineup of artists to perform at the Belk Presents Springing the Blues April 1-3 in Jacksonville Beach.

MrSipp_sittingKnown as “The Mississippi Blues Child,” Coleman first picked up the guitar at 6, playing gospel as his mom sang in the churches of McComb, MS. “It was all love to me. I was able to do what I loved to do. After I turned 7, my auntie finally sat my mom and dad down and made them hear me play,” he says. “As a kid, I was told that the blues was the devil’s music therefore it wasn’t allowed. My dad had some old blues records that he had collected and I found that the music and the melodies were the same as what we were playing in the church. In gospel, we talk about a deliverer and blues is about being delivered. The content of the stories is the same. They’re so close, they’re like first cousins. It’s the same blood line.”

In third grade, his teacher Mrs. Williams was the wife of Doug Williams of Blackberry Records. She brought her husband in to speak to her students for career day and when he asked Coleman what he wanted to do when he grew up, “I told them I was going to play for her husband,” he says. “The kids laughed. She laughed and he kind of laughed. But he told me with hard work, anything is possible. In 1998, I delivered my own national gospel hit on the Blackberry label and in 2005, I became the Music Director for the Williams Brothers and I still hold that title. That’s probably my highest moment.”

Since then, Coleman has over 130 credits and has played on over 50 national recordings. He is currently a Malaco recording artist. He has been nominated for Best New Artist Album Blues Music Award 2016. In 2015 he won the JMA Male Artist of the year, National Artist of the year, Blues Artist of the year. He is also the 2014 International Blues Challenge and Gibson Best Guitarist.

“It’s a great honor. I’ve been doing the blues now for three years now. A lot of people think I’m an overnight success but I’ve been playing music for 30 years. I’m not new to the business. I’m new to the genre so it’s not an overnight success. It’s many nights, many miles and highways and byways before I decided in 2012 that I wanted to play the blues,” he says. “My style is Mississippi River blues. It comes from a deep place in me. I want it to flow like Mississippi River from one soul to another.”

Coleman is looking ahead to Springing the Blues as yet another outlet to deliver the blues with a sincere, high energy live performance and he’s coming in with his heart wide open. “It’s my greatest desire to make a personal connection with everyone who is focused on that stage. Everything I do comes from the heart and going into my fourth year of this blues career, I feel it every night,” he says. “My heart don’t change. I’m pouring out everything in me for that audience. There’s something about love. When it’s shared the right way, it’s received.”

As he continues to build his successful career, Coleman is investing his own money, time and energy into funding his vision for a live music venue. It will be a place for singers and musicians who love to play to come together and share a collective love of music. He’s still working out the bugs but one thing is certain: if he builds it, they will come.

“The way the music is changing nowadays, it’s putting the real musicians out of business. It’s cutting out a whole element.  If I can contribute a place for real live musicians to have a place to play, that’s what I’m going to do. I want to invest the money I’ve made sharing my music by putting it back into the music,” he says.

“I ain’t got it quite figured out but I know every step that we’re taking is a step in the right direction. I’ve learned to stop worrying about how it’s going to happen and just start walking toward the direction of making it happen. And it’s happening.”


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