LELAND, MS – Blues and music enthusiasts will enjoy over 25 never before seen photos of local and national musicians displayed as part of the “Blues & Beyond” exhibit opening on Thursday, September 13. The event will be held at the office of The Leland Progress in historic downtown Leland and will include an opening reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
“I’ve probably taken over 40,000 photos over the years,” said exhibit photographer Billy Johnson. “I’ve just never stopped long enough to do a show. With all the excitement of the upcoming Highway 61 Blues Festival, I thought that now was the time to pull these photos out.”
According to Johnson, the photo exhibit will showcase artists such as Willie Nelson, Ferd Morse IV, Eddie Cusic, Cedric Burnside, Edgar Winter, and more. “You know, I’m excited about this exhibit, but a little sad, too, since many of the people in it, who always played our Blues Festival, are now gone,” said Johnson.
Johnson credits his start in photography to his father, Clint Johnson, a retired pharmacist in Leland. “Daddy use to take photos of weddings while he was in college, and that’s how I got interested in photography,” said Johnson. “Then, Butch Ruth encouraged me and said that the secret to taking great on-stage photos was having access. I’ve been fortunate to have access to some of the industry’s best musicians, and that’s where these photos come from.”
Johnson, who is also an award-winning outdoor writer and photographer, will be signing copies of his book, “Jus Fo’ Day” at the opening reception as well. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Ellen Ann Johnson. Jamie Isonhood will entertain with live music.
The Leland Progress is located at 119 E. Third Street in Leland, MS.