Support this project by buying a recording or poster from our tribute concert!
From string band music in Mississippi to country blues in Memphis to jump blues in Chicago, Joe and Charlie McCoy played important roles in several musical genres. Their careers not only mirrored the "great migration" of African-Americans to the north, but also the development of African-American music from its rural roots to the foundations of rock and roll. After 20+ year careers, they both died in Chicago in 1950 and were buried in unmarked graves. This project had two goals: to raise awareness of their music and purchase grave markers for both of them.
The main event was a tribute concert on October 3, 2011 at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Performers included The Second Fiddles, Sule Greg Wilson, Rick Sherry, BLT, The Northside Southpaws, The Barehand Jugband, The Hump Night Thumpers, plus a house band featuring Hardscrabble, John Blegen, Andy Schumm and Chris Walz, and Arlo Leach served as emcee. The concert was preceded by workshops on the guitar style of Joe McCoy and the mandolin style of Charlie McCoy, and a walking tour of Restvale Cemetery with Steve Salter. Press coverage was excellent:
- Concert preview in the Chicago Reader
- Concert preview in the Chicago Tribune
- Concert preview in the Chicago Sun-Times
After a few more months of fundraising, two handsome granite monuments were purchased and installed, and were dedicated in an informal ceremony on May 22, 2011. Michelle Weinberg took these photos; you can view more here.