About The Blue Shoe Project
To introduce children to the history, evolution and global impact of Blues music by combining live music performances with oral history to captivate, educate and inspire students about music, learning, and America’s cultural heritage.
Since 2004 The Blue Shoe Project has provided Blues music education programs to 300,000 students and the numbers continue to grow. In the early years Blue Shoe was involved in a wide variety of activities to spread awareness of the organization’s mission, such as live concerts, community outreach, eduction workshops and master’s classes. Our programs featured a broad range of arts from National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship recipients to the next generation of Blues music legends.
These programs have employed hundreds of artists and production personnel and as many volunteers, served 300,000 children, enriched the lives of 15,000 members of our local community and provided a platform for America’s Blues artists to pass their stories and their legacy on to the next generation.
The Blue Shoe Project has been covered extensively across all media from radio, television, online and print publications including Billboard Magazine, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth and D-Magazines, The Dallas Observer and the Fort Worth Weekly, and numerous international publications.
Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen
Although The Blue Shoe Project is well known for our educational enrichment programs, we are also known for producing a Grammy winning album Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen – Live in Dallas.
The live album represents the recordings of our first education program held in October of 2004. This project brought together the last remaining Mississippi Delta Bluesmen who ranged in age from 89 to 94 years old when the event was held – Henry James Townsend, Joe Willie Pinetop Perkins, Robert Lockwood, Jr. and David Honeyboy Edwards to share their lives, their music, and their experiences with area students.
Founders Jeff and Michael Dyson felt it was critical to introduce these living legends to young audiences before it was too late. They assembled a team of volunteers to help stage the show and record the event. The resulting album went on to win a Grammy in 2008 for Best Traditional Blues Album and much deserved Grammy Awards for these national treasures. The Grammy award provided the much needed visibility to the entire Blues genre and the importance of the music to America’s cultural heritage.
Preservation Through Education
After these legendary Bluesmen passed away, Blue Shoe focused on developing programs that allowed younger artists the opportunity to “fill their shoes”. Seeing new faces playing the Blues really resonated with young audiences. Presentations in hundreds of school auditoriums and performing arts centers has helped to increase demand for our program.
As a result Blue Shoe went from reaching 84 children in 2004 to breaking the 300,000 mark in 2015.
It is our hope that as the program continues to grow, more children will become interested in the music and become inspired to pass on the tradition.