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ACTU brings Acoustic Blues to Thomasville

Belmont & Jones, Sir Charles Atkins to perform

Belmont & Jones along with Sir Charles Atkins will be the featured performers when Arts for the Community (ACTU) brings “Acoustic Blues” to its Sundays at Four series lineup on Nov. 19.

Belmont & Jones is the stage name for the Tallahassee-based country-blues duo of Charlie Engstrom and Carrie Hamby. The two play songs that were written before there were speakers and microphones while staying true to the authenticity of such music. Some of the music the duo performs includes songs that are more than a century old. Together they present early blues greats, such as Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, Charley Patton and Blind Willie Johnson.

Charles Atkins learned his craft at The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, just like Ray Charles before him.

“At the school for the blind, we had about 40 people in the dorm and one piano on the floor, so you had to wait your turn,” Atkins recalls. “I've been playing ever since then, in some way, shape, form or fashion.”

His playing and singing evoke the healing power of the blues and he has received the Florida Folk Heritage Award and was knighted an Official Florida Treasure under the Jeb Bush Administration.

Known as the Professor of Blues and Tallahassee’s Soul Brother Number One, Atkins earned a degree in music education from Florida State University. In addition to sharing his experience and teaching music, he also plays in various groups, duos and trios. His most recent venture is the Charles Atkins Blues Band.

“Acoustic Blues” will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, in the Flowers Foods Executive Classroom inside Smith-Bonvillian Hall on TU’s Forbes Campus. A reception will follow the performance. For more information, email or call 229-227-6964.

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