ROGER STOLLE (commander in chief)
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc.
“My mission is to organize and promote the blues from within.”
blues retail • tourism marketing • project consultation • music/film production • artist bookings • journalism
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
After a successful 13-year advertising/marketing career in Corporate America, "Mad Man" Roger Stolle moved to Clarksdale in 2002 with a mission to "organize and promote the blues from within." He owns Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art ("Mississippi's Blues Store"), co-founded multiple festivals (Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale Film Festival, Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest, Cat Head Mini Blues Fest, etc.), writes for Blues Music Magazine and Poland's Twój Blues magazine, is a contributing editor to Delta Magazine, authored "Hidden History of Mississippi Blues" and "Mississippi Juke Joint Confidential" (History Press/Arcadia), has contributed to blues radio shows (XRDS.fm, Sirius-XM BB King's Bluesville, WROX, KDHX) and co-produced award-winning films like Hard Times, M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here. He is co-creator (with Jeff Konkel, Broke & Hungry Records) of the web series Moonshine & Mojo Hands. He produced three acclaimed albums on Big George Brock and has assisted other blues record labels. He's also toured Mississippi bluesmen to at least 8 foreign countries. Mississippi Book Festival panelist (2016, 2019).
Stolle has received a Blues Music Award (Blues Foundation), Keeping the Blues Alive Award ("Retail" category), Early Wright Blues Heritage Award (Sunflower River Blues Assoc.) and Small Business of the Year (Clarksdale Chamber of Commerce). His Cat Head store was called “one of the 17 coolest record stores in America” (Paste mag), is included in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Workman Publishing), and is listed in Lonely Planet, Blues Traveling and other travel guides. An authority on Delta blues and tourism, Stolle is a frequent speaker at events and has been quoted by The New York Times, Forbes, The Economist, PBS Newshour, NPR and Travel+Leisure. He is a present or past board member with non-profit organizations including Clarksdale Downtown Development Association, Rock & Blues Museum, Clarksdale Revitalization Inc. and Clarksdale-Coahoma County Tourism Commission; Black Prairie Blues Museum (advisory board). He was also a Mississippi Arts Commission 2020 Folk Arts panelist. Stolle graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1989 (English Literature/Journalism).
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store is open 7 days a week at 252 Delta Avenue in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi — 662-624-5992, www.cathead.biz. Stolle can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Other affiliated web sites include www.mformississippi.com, www.wejukeupinhere.com, and www.jukejointfestival.com.
PHOTO SLIDESHOW (ABOVE): 1) On-location with Moonshine & Mojo Hands web series... Cat Head's Stolle, bluesman RL Boyce, his wife Sheila and Broke & Hungry Records' Jeff Konkel. 2) 90 years old, 26 kids, married 6 times. T-Model Ford on left, not Cat Head's Stolle on right. At Clarksdale's Red's Lounge. 3) At King Biscuit Blues Symposium, bluesmen Rip Lee Pryor, "Gearshifter" Youngblood and Leo "Bud" Welch plus Red's juke joint owner Red Paden. Oh, Stolle is the white guy in the middle.
SELECT INTERVIEWS / ONLINE MEDIA / WEB LINKS
- MPB TV "MISSISSIPPI ROADS" episode on Roger Stolle/Cat Head, "Kingfish" Ingram and Delta Bohemian Tours at https://www.pbs.org/video/back-to-the-blues-yrf3on/
- DELTA BUSINESS JOURNAL: "Roger Stolle, All Things Blues and Clarksdale."
- PBS NEWSHOUR interviews Roger Stolle and others at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/with-the-juke-joint-festival-a-mississippi-city-aims-to-lose-its-economic-blues
- JUST PLACE on Stolle, Clarksdale and blues - https://www.justplace.us/the-blues-alright-clarksdale-ms
- WYAB RADIO "BLUES & ARTS" with Roger Stolle at http://wyab.com/twh/RogerS092719wyab.mp3
- MPB RADIO "MS ARTS HOUR" at shows.pippa.io/5c82f2befceee9b62daa0deb/episodes/the-mississippi-arts-hour-roger-stolle
- MISSISSIPPI BOOK FESTIVAL "MS BLUES PANEL incl. Stolle at https://vimeo.com/363422544
- DOWN AT THE CROSSROADS interviews Stolle about Cat Head and blues at https://tinyurl.com/CrossroadsStolle
- WBGO RADIO interviews Stolle about Juke Joint Festival and Mississippi blues at https://tinyurl.com/NPRstolle
- SOUTHERN ROOTS MAGAZINE interviews Stolle at https://tinyurl.com/RootsStolle
- NEW YORK TIMES juke joints article at https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/travel/driving-the-juke-joint-trail.html
- THE ECONOMIST on Clarksdale, MS, tourism at https://tinyurl.com/EconomistClarksdale
- TRAVEL + LEISURE visits Clarksdale at https://tinyurl.com/TLstolle
- VANITY FAIR Q&A - "M for Mississippi" project - at https://tinyurl.com/VFmforms
- UNITED AIRLINES "HEMISPHERES" magazine: "At the Crossroads."
- GREAT BIG STORY mini doc: "A Juke Joint's Field of Dreams."
- HISTORY IS LUNCH Mississippi History Museum lecture by Stolle at facebook.com/MDAHOfficial/videos/640826946439753/
- 'COVID' BEST WISHES video... to Italian blues friends at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aucUVS5PciM&feature=youtu.be
- MOONSHINE & MOJO HANDS web series co-hosted by Stolle at www.moonshineandmojohands.com
PRE-BLUESLAND WORK EXPERIENCE
Position: Director - Marketing
Time Period: July 1998 - May 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
Description: Led talented team of 15 managers, graphic designers, production artists and production coordinators. Maintained existing private brands for over a dozen department store chains; created new brands; managed creative process (packaging, labeling, product development, marketing, production); responsible for personnel development (hiring/firing/review process). Approved packaging/labeling/product during overseas trips (Europe/Asia). Reported directly to company president.
Position: Creative Manager
Time Period: February 1995 - June 1998
Location: St. Louis, MO
Description: Led talented team of copywriters, proofreaders, graphic designers and production artists. Managed direct-to-consumer print advertising process; facilitated radio/TV campaigns; coordinated corporate relaunch of company brand; assisted with in-storee signage/branding. Reported to VP of Marketing.
Position: Senior Copywriter
Time Period: June 1989 - January 1995
Location: Dayton, OH
Description: Led ad campaigns for new store openings. Teamed with copywriters, graphic artists, photographers and store buyers to create and execute all aspects of consumer advertising/marketing -- including direct mail, newspaper, magazine, in-store and packaging. Wrote creative advertising copy that drove store sales. Mentored new hires. Reported to VP of Advertising.
University of Cincinnati - English Literature/Journalism (1989 BA degree)
Vandalia-Butler High School (1985 graduate)
BLUES HISTORY AND BACKGROUND SINCE 2002
- Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc., store - called "one of the 17 coolest record stores in America" (Paste magazine), 2002-present
- Cat Head Presents record label, 2005-present
- Three Forks Music, LLC, joint label/distribution company co-founded with music producer Jeff Konkel and his Broke & Hungry Records, 2008-present
- Juke Joint Festival ("13 daytime stages, 20+ nighttime venues and over 100 blues acts"), Clarksdale, MS - co-founder/organizer, 2004-present
- Cat Head Mini Blues Fests (2-3 per year), Clarksdale, MS - founder/organizer, 2002-present
- Sunflower River Blues Festival, Clarksdale, MS - music bookings, 2002-4
- Roots & Blue Festival, Parma, Italy - bookings/artist liaison, 2005-8
- Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest, Clarksdale, MS - co-founder/organizer, 2006-present
- Mississippi Blues Marathon, Jackson, MS - co-producer soundtrack CD/artist liason, 2008-2017
- Wing Dang Doodle Festival, Forest, MS - PR/marketing, 2009-10
- Clarksdale Film & Music Festival, Clarksdale, MS - co-founder/director, 2010-present
- King Biscuit Call & Response Blues Symposium - co-founder/moderator, 2010-present
- Delta Busking Festival aka Busking Stages at Deep Blues, Clarksdale, MS - co-founder/organize, 2013-17
- Deep Blues Festival, Clarksdale, MS - PR/marketing 2016-present
- Mississippi Book Festival, Jackson, MS – blues music author panelist, 2017 and 2019
- Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale, MS - music bookings, 2002-10
- Red's Lounge, Clarksdale, MS - artist liaison/marketing, 2003-present
- Ground Zero Blues Club II, Memphis, TN - music bookings, 2009
ARTIST TOURING (booker/tour manager)
- International tours/shows including the Italy (Big George Brock, Bilbo Walker, Big A, Robert Belfour, Lightnin' Malcolm), Switzerland (Big George Brock, Duck Holmes, Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood, Terry "Harmonica" Bean), United Kingdom (Big George Brock), France (Big George Brock), Israel (Bilbo Walker), Brazil (Bilbo Walker, Big A, Super Chikan) and Norway (L.C. Ulmer, Robert Belfour, T-Model Ford)
- Also, Australia (promotion for John Henshall book on Clarksdale's blues-fueled revitalization)
- Domestic tours/shows including: Big George Brock at Chicago Blues Festival, Cincinnati Blues Festival, Ponderosa Stomp (Memphis) and Howlin' Wolf Festival (West Point). Bilbo Walker, Big A and Robert Belfour at World Café Live (Philly). T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour, Terry "Harmonica" Bean and Duck Holmes at 651 Arts in NYC/Brooklyn.
- "Mississippi Juke Joint Confidential: House Parties, Hustlers & the Blues Life" (History Press, 2019)
- "Hidden History of Mississippi Blues" book (History Press, 2011)
- King Biscuit Time Magazine - columnist, 2002-3
- Blues Revue Magazine - columnist, 2003-14
- Blues Festival Guide Magazine - contributor, 2003-5
- Blues Music Magazine - columnist, 2015-present
- Delta Magazine - contributing editor, 2017-present
- Twoj Blues (Poland) Magazine - columnist, 2017-present
- Assorted album liner notes for Big George Brock, Homemade Jamz, Super Chikan, "Live at 100 Man Hall," "M for Mississippi," etc.
SELECTED BOOK REFERENCES
- "Lonely Planet" guidebook - Stolle and Cat Head included
- "Blues Traveling" by Steve Cheseborough - Stolle and Cat Head included
- "Memphis & the Delta Blues Trail" by the Gages - Stolle and Cat Head included
- "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz- Stolle and Cat Head included
- "Mississippi: State of the Blues" by Murphy/Barretta - Cat Head included
- "Waking Up in Memphis" by Andria Lisle - Stolle interview
- "I'm Feeling the Blues Right Now: Blues Tourism in the Mississippi Delta" by Stephen A. King - Stolle quoted
- "Tommy Johnson" by David Evans - Stolle anecdote included
- "Highway 61" by Derek Bright - Stolle and Cat Head included
DOCUMENTARY BLUES FILMS
- "Hard Times: The Blues Story of Big George Brock" (2006) - producer/writer; Damien Blaylock, director
- "M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues" (2008) - co-director/producer
- "We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi's Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads" (2012) - co-director/producer/writer/narrator*
- "Moonshine & Mojo Hands: The Mississippi Blues Series" (2016) - co-director/producer
BLUES ALBUM PROJECTS
- Big George Brock, "Club Caravan" (2005) - producer/label owner
- Big George Brock, "Round Two" (2006) - producer/label owner
- Big George Brock, "Live at Seventy Five" (2007) - producer/label owner
- Broke & Hungry Records recordings (2005-present) - production assistant
BLUES WEB RESOURCES
- - online Music Calendar and Guide to Clarksdale
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - Cat Head blues promotion pages
- - MS Blues Trail Music Calendar maintenance/updates
- Sounds Around Town - Clarksdale's weekly music calendar (web posting, paper flyer, newspaper ad)
- KDHX, St. Louis, MO - Down in the Alley Show - deejay/engineer, 1998-2002
- WROX, Clarksdale, MS - Cat Head Delta Blues Show - deejay, 2003-2010
- Sirius/XM satellite radio - BB King's Bluesville - correspondent, 2004-15
- XRDS.fm/88.1FM - Clarksdale House Party - on-air contributor, 2017-present
- Also, past interviews on NPR, PBS, Mississippi Arts Hour, King Biscuit Time Show, etc.
SELECTED TV REFERENCES
- Blues Divas music series for Mississippi Public Broadcasting/Robert Mugge - artist liaison (Ground Zero Blues Club)
- Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain - music/location coordinator (Red's Lounge)
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern - music/location coordinator (Red's Lounge)
- Young, Broke & Beautiful with Broke-ass Stuart - music/location coordinator (Red's Lounge)
- NPR Jazz Night in America - music/location coordinator (Juke Joint Festival)
- CNN Great Big Story - music/location coordinator (Wonder Light City juke joint)
- Good Morning America Weekend Edition - music/location coordinator (Po Monkey's Lounge)
- Pilgrim Studios reality show project - music/location coordinator (Red's Lounge)
- PBS Newshour - music/location coordinator (Juke Joint Festival)
- Netflix - artist liaison ("Devil at the Crossroads")
- Blues Music Award (BMA) - "M for Mississippi" DVD (2009)
- Blues Music Award nominations - 5 in CD categories, 2 in DVD category (2006-13)
- Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) - Cat Head store in Retailer category (2008)
- Sunflower River Blues Association "Early Wright Award" (2013)
- Multiple film festival awards for blues documentaries, including festivals in Tupelo, Jackson, Lafayette, etc.
BLUES CHALLENGE JUDGE
- International Blues Challenge (Memphis) judge multiple times
- MS Delta Blues Challenge (Indianola) judge multiple times
- Sonny Boy Blues Society (Helena) challenge judge once
- Clarksdale-Coahoma County Tourism Commission - board member (present)
- Clarksdale Downtown Development nonprofit (Juke Joint Festival/Clarksdale Film Festival) - board member (present)
- Blues Foundation - member (present)
- Rock 'n Roll Museum nonprofit (Rock & Blues Museum/Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest) - board member (past)
- Clarksdale Revitalization nonprofit (downtown revitalization efforts) - board member (past)
SELECTED PRINT MEDIA ATTENTION (Stolle/Cat Head quotes/features)
- New York Times, Forbes, PBS Newshour, NPR, Great Big Story, Travel + Leisure, The Economist, Living Blues Magazine, Blues Revue, Blues Music Magazine, Rhythm & Blues Magazine (UK), ABS Magazine (France), Juke Blues Magazine (UK), The Blues (UK), Blues (France), Blues Matters (UK), Twoj Blues (Poland), etc.