Tomorrow night, pastor, story teller and blue activist Rev. Robert B. Jones will play at Marietta High School in support of the Mid-Ohio Valley Blues, Jazz and Folk Society’s Blues In the Schools Program. (Submitted)

Musician, Pastor, Storyteller Rev. Robert B. Jones Visits Marietta Oct. 7

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Sometimes music is so deep, powerful and authentic that it speaks of experience in a way that no other art form could. Perhaps this could be said to describe the music of Detroit, MI-born Rev. Robert B. Jones.

More than a musician; the pastor, storyteller and blues activist has been deeply in love with blues music since his childhood, which he spent a great deal of listening to his grandmother’s record collection. By the time Jones was in his mid-twenties, he was already the host of the critically lauded WDET-FM show “Blues From the Lowlands.” He went on to perform all over the world, bringing his traditionally-based, but continually evolving, musical catalog with him.

In March, Jones performed at the River City Blues Festival in Marietta, OH. His set was so impressive that the Mid-Ohio Valley Blues, Jazz and Folk Society (BJFM) decided to invite him to perform as a part of the organization’s Blues in the Schools program.

Jones’ performance, which is a benefit for both the BJFS and Blues in the Schools, will take place tomorrow in the Marietta High School Auditorium, 208 Davis Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. A five-dollar cash donation is requested at the door.

“Jones brings a strong insight into blues music and the history of blues music,” said Jay Phillips, a BJFM board member and the chair of Blues in the Schools. “His music spans the spectrum from the acoustic blues of the deep south to what is current in terms of popular music.”

Phillips said that Jones’ presentation is focused on not only educating young people about the importance of roots music, but showing them how it is relevant today.

“He really explains the roots of blues music, but he also focuses on how blues music connects to the music of today, such as modern jazz and rap music,” said Phillips. “For example, he takes one song, which was performed frequently by Son House in the 1920s and ‘30s, and he performs it once the traditional way, and then he shows how it can be immediately turned into a rap song.”

Jones’ performance will be opened up by a set by Schools that Rock, a number of local school-aged children who come together once or twice a week under the direction of a local musician to practice rock music outside of their normal school day.

“For the past couple of years Schools That Rock has played on Saturday at our annual River City Blues Festival,” said Phillips, who said Jones will be sitting down with the kids involved in the Schools That Rock program to teach them about the art of performing confidently.

“For some of them, this will be their first live performance in front of a group of people, and they will get to share the stage with a professional musician,” said Phillips.

The Schools That Rock performance ties in nicely with the goal of the Blues In the Schools program.

“All the members of the BJFS are volunteers, and many of us are retired educators, so we have a special interest in promoting the educational aspect of blues, jazz and folk music,” said Phillips. “We focus on primarily middle school-aged children, trying to show them the importance of the roots of American music.”

Phillips said that Jones will be taking his presentation to several schools throughout West Virginia and Ohio, as well as to the Washington County Juvenile Center; presenting to a total of about 1,500 students.

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