"The Cat Head Story"

Cat Head store photo by Steve Greer

(Clarksdale, MS - Summer 2009)

Seven years ago this July, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art started with a mission: "Promote from within." And that's what Cat Head has done -- promoting blues, Clarksdale, the Mississippi Delta and more by all means necessary.

I quit my corporate marketing life in May 2002 and never looked back.

Through Cat Head, I've helped organize blues events, co-founded Juke Joint Festival, recorded bluesmen, managed musicians, acted as a clearing house for live blues in the Delta, and oh yeah, strived to offer the best selection of Mississippi blues CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, T-shirts and artwork this side of the... well... Mississippi. Through Cat Head, I've also written about Mississippi blues for several publications (most notably the regular "Down in the Delta" column for Blues Revue magazine), broadcast the Cat Head Delta Blues Show (Saturday and Sunday nights on WROX 1450am), maintained a weekly call-in slot on Bill Wax's Bluesville radio show (XM/Sirius), co-produced blues documentaries ("M for Mississippi," "Hard Times"), booked Ground Zero Blues Club and more.

After seven years, I can say that things have begun to pay off. Cat Head-produced blues CDs have garnered 5 Blues Music Award nominations. Cat Head store received a Keeping The Blues Alive Award in the retail category, was named "One of America's 17 Coolest Record Stores" by Paste Magazine and was included in the book "1000 Places to See Before You Die." In addition, the Cat Head co-production "M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues" (DVD) has garnered multiple awards -- including a 2009 Blues Music Award (Blues Foundation), Made in Mississippi Award (Tupelo Film Festival) and Best New Roots Culture Film Award (Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival). It was an Official Selection at several film festivals and nominated for a Living Blues Award. Cat Head's own projects and its joint productions are now a mainstay of the brand, and there are more in the pipeline.

Filming "M for Mississippi" (L to R: Roger, Jeff Konkel, Terry "Harmonica" Bean) - photo by Damien Blaylock

So, how did it all start?

I was living in St. Louis with my now ex-wife (Jennifer), and after seven or eight years of visiting the Mississippi Delta, we started talking about moving there to start a blues business and try to support the far from flourishing blues scene as well as the culture and personalities behind it. I was running a marketing department at the time for a large retailer in downtown St. Louis, and the job was awesome -- the kind people kill over. Still, it just felt like at the end of the day I was really just punching a clock, trying to make the most widgets and amass bigger and bigger slices of the pie. At some point, it just didn't make sense to me anymore.

When I told people what I was planning to do, I usually got one of two reactions. "Wow, I'm jealous" Or, "Are you crazy?" The truth is probably somewhere in-between. As I told a newspaper reporter at the time, "A year ago, I was meeting with the CEO of May Company and traveling to Hong Kong on business. Last week, I booked a blues musician named T-Model Ford for our grand opening and set up a store display that included a chair made out of painted cow bones. You tell me which sounds more fun."

"M for Mississippi" Blues Music Award photo (L to R: Roger, Jeff, Kari Jones) by Dusty Scott

Today, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc. is a 6-day-a-week store that features a full selection of blues CDs, DVDs, books, magazines T-shirts, artwork and collectibles. It's kind of like shopping in a juke joint, I like to say. It's the kind of store I always dreamed of finding but never did. It has become a base of operations for other blues projects and a clearing house of information about area musicians, juke joints and festivals

The cool thing is that Clarksdale, Mississippi, has a lot to offer. Great blues music four or five nights a week, every week -- plus killer festivals a few times a year. Wonderful musicians, artists and characters live and work here. Since I moved here, I'm sure at least a dozen others have as well -- from the Netherlands and all over the United States. Clarksdale is lucky also because in addition to its rich cultural history, it's an hour or less from Memphis, Cleveland, Helena and Tunica. Because we're part of the "roots music corridor" that runs from Memphis to Chicago, we get tourists from all over the U.S., Europe and Asia every single week. They come in search of the "land where blues began" and when they finally reach the blues mecca of Clarksdale for the first time, and they drop by Cat Head, I know they're hooked!

I hope you'll visit Clarksdale and come by Cat Head to see the state of Mississippi blues for yourself.

Thanks for seven great years and more to come,
ROGER STOLLE (owner), Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art

PS - Thanks to my friends, family, Cat Head customers and supporters. Y'all have been great through the years.

PPS - Roger Stolle is now available for special blues projects and marketing. CLICK HERE for more information, and make the most of your next blues, music or tourism project or event.

YET ANOTHER PS - fyi... The original "Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art" store in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is not related to the new "Cathead Vodka" company based near Jackson, Mississippi. Thanks, and sorry for any confusion.

Cat Head Presents "Big George Brock" - photo/art by Chuck Lamb

Main store, www.cathead.biz
Movie project, www.mformississippi.com
Club bookings, www.groundzerobluesclub.com
Radio show, www.wroxradio.com
Area events, www.cathead.biz/livemusic.html
Clarksdale guide, www.cathead.biz/guide.html
Blues Trail, www.msbluestrail.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint
Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint Clarksdale Mississippi Tourism Blues Cat Head Festival Juke Joint

 

 
HOME, LIVE MUSIC, MAP, MUSIC, VIDEOS, BOOKS, ART, THE CAT HEAD STORY, CLARKSDALE AND DELTA TOUR, LINKS