Ealey brothers reunite at Natchez Bluff Blues Fest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2001

Of the many musicians who performed during Saturday’s blues festival, the day had extra meaning for &uot;YZ&uot; Ealey and his brother, Theodis.

The sixth-annual Natchez Bluff Blues Fest was only the second time the brothers, both Natchez natives, had played together since 1963.

&uot;It just makes me proud to be with my baby brother,&uot; &uot;YZ&uot; Ealey said.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;YZ&uot; taught his brother, the youngest son in a family of 11, how to play music.

&uot;I taught him – raised him and taught him too,&uot; &uot;YZ&uot; Ealey said.

Today &uot;YZ&uot; continues to play music around Natchez but Theodis now lives in Atlanta and performs at blues festivals around the world.

Theodis Ealey said Natchez is not the largest blues festival but he enjoys supporting his hometown.

&uot;I enjoy coming home (and) playing for my people,&uot; he said.

Theodis Ealey said he enjoys blues music because the genre is a good way to tell stories both good and bad.

&uot;Blues – its like country music,&uot; he said. &uot;(The songs) tell actually tales of people’s lives.&uot;

A crowd of people visited Memorial park in downtown Natchez Saturday to hear those tales.

&uot;I love it. It’s about like the balloon races,&uot; said Wendy Maples, about the blues festival. &uot;(You) sit around listen to the music and eat.&uot;

And &uot;take off your shoes and have fun,&uot; said 16-year-old, Stacey Schwager, adding to her friend’s comments.

Bridget Vestal said she attended the blues festival because she won tickets in a radio contest but she admits to being a blues fan.

&uot;I like to ride around downtown and listen to the blues,&uot; she said.

About seven blues bands played at Memorial Park Saturday until about 8 p.m. with the club performances taking place around town that night.

&uot;I like any kind of music but this is really good,&uot; said Cathy Walker, while listening to music at Memorial Park.

Eric Glatzer, event coordinator, said the Natchez Blues Heritage Association uses the festival to promote the blues.

&uot;It’s surprising how many people don’t really understand what a blues festival is,&uot;&uot;Glatzer said.

Blues festivals share the music’s heritage with the public, he said.

&uot;Blues is the basis of all modern music,&uot; Glatzer said. &uot;It’s more than just the words of the songs. It’s the structure of the music.&uot;

And everyone can relate to the music, he said. &uot;It touches all of our souls because it comes from the soul,&uot; Glatzer said. &uot;What’s real is real and there’s no mistaking that.&uot;

The Natchez Bluff Blues Fest will continue today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with blues brunches in various bars.