Rich Music History

The Delta blues style of blues is one of the earliest. It originated in the Mississippi Delta, a region of the United States stretching from Memphis, Tennessee, in the north to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the south and from Helena, Arkansas, in the west to the Yazoo River in the east.

King Biscuit FeStival

The King Biscuit Blues Festival attracts tens of thousands of Blues enthusiasts from all over the world to the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River in Helena, Arkansas. Featuring some of the most recognized blues legends as well as up-and-coming new acts, this iconic three-day festival, held the weekend before Columbus Day each October, continues to preserve and promote the music of the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta into the 21st century.


king biscuit radio show

The first broadcast of King Biscuit Time was on November 21, 1941 on KFFA in Helena, making it the longest running radio show in the United States. Since 1951 the program has been hosted by the "Sunshine" Sonny Payne who opens each broadcast with "pass the biscuits, 'cause it's King Biscuit Time!" Over the years the biggest names in blues have been associated with the program, and important blues artists continue to perform live.

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notable phillips county musicians

 

LEVON HELM

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1940-2012

Levon Helm was born on May 26, 1940, and grew up working on his family's cotton farm in Marvell, Arkansas. He was always encouraged to play and sing music at home and in church, and at age six, he saw bluegrass musician Bill Monroe perform.

Levon knew right then and there that he wanted to become a musician. Mark Lavon (Levon) Helm was best known as the drummer and singer for the Canadian rock group The Band. Following the demise of The Band, he continued to have a successful career leading his own band, as well as acting in numerous motion pictures.

 

CONWAY TWITTY

Even as a small child, it was apparent there was something special about Twitty. Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins on September 1, 1933 in rural Friars Point, Mississippi, the boy had uncommon abilities and a penchant for helping those around him.Given his first guitar, a Sears & Roebuck acoustic, at the age of four, Harold demonstrated a musical gift. He formed his first band, the Phillips County Ramblers when he was 10 after the family had moved to Helena, Arkansas. His mother was the breadwinner and his father found spotty work as a Mississippi riverboat pilot. 

 Helena-West Helena celebrated the first ever “Conway Twitty Day” this past June and hopes to build on the event each year.

Helena-West Helena celebrated the first ever “Conway Twitty Day” this past June and hopes to build on the event each year.