Frank Slake (right) and Ray Stratton gathered holly and mistletoe in the hills near Lerose, KY for Christmas 1907 when they worked for the K. & P. Lumber Company established there. Full caption at Owsley County Historical & Genealogy Society.
Before he passed away W.C. Handy wrote: “If my serenade of song and story should serve as a pillow for some composer’s head, as yet perhaps unborn, to dream and build on our folk melodies in his tomorrow, I have not labored in vain”.
I love this quote and I want to make sure that he did not labor in vain. He was the poet of the blues, in so many ways, and honoring his work is what Mr. Handy’s Blues is about.
W.C. Handy was a major force in the development of the blues and early jazz. He was a gifted man who had challenges throughout his life, but he handled himself with class and dignity. He was an American Original, a pioneer, charting unknown territory, and in the end a teacher. I believe his story will be inspirational on many levels.
We hope to complete the film by the end of 2014 to coincide with the centennial celebrations for “St. Louis Blues”. I have to admit part of me doesn’t want this journey to end.