This research guide supports the Appalachian Heritage Project's Spring 2022 event Celebrating Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong with presenters Sean McCollough, Kelle Jolly, and Chris Durman. Explore this guide to learn more about LaFollette, Tennessee's own Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong - An Appalachian Original.
is an associate professor and coordinator of the George F. DeVine Music Library at the University of Tennessee. He has served on the Louie Bluie Music and Art Festival Program Committee since 2010 and has performed semi-professionally for over forty years as a singer/songwriter, as a guitarist, and as a member of various ensembles.
"The Tennessee Ukulele Lady", is an award-winning music entertainer and educator. Host of Jazz Jam on WUOT 91.9FM and founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival and Ukesphere of Knoxville, Kelle and her saxophonist husband, Will Boyd, have served as ambassadors of jazz from Tennessee to Japan. In 2021, the City of Knoxville proclaimed July 21st, "Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd" Day. Kelle is currently a graduate student in the Communication and Storytelling Studies program at East Tennessee State University.
is a musicologist, teacher, artist in the schools, musician, music producer, and festival organizer. With a master’s degree in musicology and ethnomusicology, he has taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville since 1997. A fixture on the music scene in Knoxville for decades, he is an award-winning children's performer, host of WDVX's Kidstuff program, and part of the acclaimed Americana band, The Lonetones.
The Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival is named in honor of Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong (1909 - 2003) who grew up in Campbell County, influenced by the many genres of music common to the area, and became one of the nation's finest black string-‐band musicians, a recipient of NEA’s National Heritage Fellowship, and the Tennessee Governor's Folk Heritage Award. Armstrong was part of a whole generation of African-American string-band artists who played Americana in the 1920’s and 30’s for black and white audiences alike, everything from Tin Pan Alley tunes to gospel and blues. Like “Louie Bluie” who was an accomplished musician, painter, and storyteller, the Louie Bluie Festival showcases the arts, crafts, music, and stories of our region.
Watch the festival in its entirety, featuring emcees Sean McCollough, Kelle Jolly, and Chris Durman. Performances from Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, the Armstrong Legacy Trio, the Louie Bluie Foot Stompers, Ramoth-Gilliead (the really bad), Dom Flemons, Kasey Moore with Tony Branam, and the Armstrong Legacy Trio.
Sean McCollough, Kelle Jolly, and Chris Durman explore the inspiring adaptability of Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong from his humble beginnings in LaFollette, TN to the world stage. This grant-funded educational video serves as curriculum for Campbell County schools.
The life, music, and story of Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong continues to inspire today. Helping us all learn how we may: "Adapt, Overcome, & Improvise" when we do so together. This grant-funded educational video with presenters Sean McCollough, Kelle Jolly, and Chris Durman serves as curriculum for Campbell County schools.
Crumb director Terry Zwigoff's first film is a true treat: a documentary about the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known black string band in America.
As beguiling a raconteur as he is a performer, Louie makes for a wildly entertaining movie subject, and Zwigoff honors him with an unsentimental but endlessly affectionate tribute. Full of infectious music and comedy, LOUIE BLUIE is a humane evocation of the kind of pop-cultural marginalia that Zwigoff would continue to excavate in the coming years.
Sweet Old Song is the story of Armstrong and Ward's courtship and marriage -- a unique partnership that inspired an outpouring of art and music. Their creative work draws on nearly a century of African American experience, beginning with Armstrong's vivid stories and paintings of his childhood in a segregated town in Tennessee. A tireless artist and collaborator, Ward encourages Armstrong to document their memories in paintings and illustrations for a children's book. For Armstrong, these recollections reach back to a pre-World War II era of black string bands when, along with his younger brothers, he performed on the street and at white society dances. Armstrong's recollections take on added poignancy when he is invited to his hometown of LaFollette, Tennessee, which declares a Howard Armstrong Day in his honor. The visit is bittersweet as he reminisces with old neighbors, and is honored at the local high school, which was closed to black students when he was a child.
Written by The Carpetbag Theatre's Artistic Director Linda Parris-Bailey, this play chronicles the life and work of African American Appalachian renaissance man Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong and his musical partner, Carl Martin and Ted Bogan. Together they formed one of the most famous string-band groups in the history of American music, The Tennessee Chocolate Drops.