Homeboys Come Home
The “homeboys” are coming home to bring some down-home Blues to Bryan’s 1st Annual Blues Festival. The festival is being held at The Palace Theater located in the beautiful Historic Downtown Bryan, June 15th and 16th, beginning at 7:00 each night. The Brazos Valley African American Heritage and Cultural Society (BVAAHCS) are the hosts of the festival with support from the City of Bryan.
Musicians performing at the Blues festival have roots right here in Bryan, Texas! The artists of the “Homeboys Come Home” Blues festival are Nathaniel “Nat” Dove, Donald “Ray” Johnson, Sunny Nash, Damu Sudi Ali (Albert Griffin), William Walker, and Sterling Williams. Each of these artists ventured out after completing their education at E. A. Kemp High School to pursue their musical careers in the Blues industry.
Under the direction and instruction Dr. Waymon Webster, Nat Dove, Damu Sudi Ali, and Donald “Ray” Johnson began their musical aspirations. Dr. Webster held a dominant role in their musical careers. Not only was Dr. Webster their band instructor, he held his students to the highest expectations, encouraging them to dream big, work hard, and be ready to follow their dreams wherever they may lead, even if it is outside of Bryan, Texas. In making sure they were fully equipped to pursue those dreams, he taught them music harmony theory, conducting, orchestration, and music arranging. These teachings enabled these musicians to become professional musicians nationally and internationally. Nat Dove paid tribute to Dr. Webster in 2006 with the Bakersfield Blues Preservation Society Plaque.
The founding of Bakersfield Blues Preservation Society is one of Nat Dove’s accomplishments in the Blues music industry. This society was formed to promote Blues music as an art form through education, which lead him to begin the “Blues in the School” program. With his roots beginning at E.A. Kemp High School, he continued his musical aspirations at Columbia College, Los Angeles City College, and New York University. Donald “Ray” Johnson is known as a dynamic Blues drummer and vocalist. He has had three releases of his work in 1998, 2002, and 2006 as well as the recipient of a Grammy in 1979 while playing with a group called Taste of Honey. Damu Sudi Ali (Albert Griffin) is a Blues pianist and preforms in San Francisco frequently at Lazy Lees Jazz Bistro. Damu attended Texas A&M University and Laney College. His musical talents have lead him to be listed as a Soul Blues artist on the 21st Century Blues list with his top three albums being “Brand New Man”, “Grade A Quality”, and "My Baby's Love”.
Bryan’s 1st Blues Festival is sure to be a momentous and joyous event that can be shared with the entire family. Opening night is Friday, June 15th at 7:00 at the Palace Theater Downtown Bryan. On Saturday June 16th, come out to “Meet and Greet the Musicians” at the Brazos Valley African American Museum from 2-4. Then that night at 7:00 come back to enjoy the second and closing night of the festival at 7:00 back at the Palace Theater. To truly make this event a moment to remember, visit our website, www.bvaahcs.org to order Blues festival t-shirts and souvenier books (see website for pricing).