When you believe that looking back is a great way to celebrate what has been accomplished, you tend to do so every now and again. Today, we look back on the Black Diamond Blues Festival of 2007. With the tagline of “Keepin’ the Blues Alive in Pittsburg, CA”, they do so with grace and pizzazz.
Established in 1997, this festival which was held on June 2nd and 3rd of 2007 was a grand celebration of established and up and coming Blues talent.
This amazing woman was born in Gary, Indiana as Monica C. Parker on April 27, 1956. She is an important American electric blues and soul singer, songwriter, and record producer. What most people don’t know about her is that she joined the United States Marine Corps.
It was her neighbor, MC Hammer, who truly inspired and encouraged her to pursue her singing career. She landed a regular singing stint at Emi’s Bar and Grille in Santa Cruz, California. It was in 1995 that she launched her debut album entitled “Get Out of My Way”. What made this move so revolutionary was that she did so using on her own independent record label: Mo Muscle Records. The success of her first album birthed a follow up album the following year entitled “Sista Monica”.
The world lost a musical great on October 9th, 2014. Sista Monica died from lung cancer. The following year, she was posthumously won a Blues Music Award.
Knowing all this about her makes it even more humbling and inspiring that she was a headliner for the Black Diamond Blues Festival.
This ever talented man was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on September 10th, 1951. He is a well-known American soul Blues singer, guitarist, record producer, and so many more. A twelve-time nominee for a Blues Music Award, you just know that this man has blues seeping from his pores.
It was in 1996 that he launched his solo album “Here We Go”. This album showcased much of his soulful vocals and earned him much praise. He goes on to launch other songs which all added to his soulful legacy. He is quite the prolific songwriter. He is an artist that has produced over 100 of his own songs.
His presence in the Black Diamond Blues Festival made it all the more special.
The first day of the festival focused more on the sassy women of Blues. With headliner Sista Monica, she led the powerhouse listing of other stellar female blues artists. Café R&B, Zakiya Hooker, Pure Honey, and Tia Carroll were all in attendance to provide their wit, glamour, and class to the Saturday night of Pittsburgh.
The last day of the festival showcased the men. Led by Johnny Rawls, audiences were treated with the masterful Blues performances of Sonny Rhodes, Caravan of Allstars, Bobby Webb & Smooth Blues, Bernard Anderson, Eldridge “Big Cat” Tolefree, Layce Baker, and Louis Jones & the Cavaliers.
With food and craft vendors in attendance, it was truly a weekend to remember.