PELL CITY -- Musicians Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson will perform at noon Wednesday at the Pell City Public Library.
Susan Mann, the assistant director for the library, said guests can expect the best of blues and more from this talented duo that has made it the mission to make sure blues music, and its history, is celebrated, recognized and remembered.
Blues music has been at the root of many popular music genres, including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll, and country music.
Bond was the co-founder, and for many years the executive director, of the Alabama Blues Project, an award-winning organization founded in 1995 to promote and preserve Alabama’s blues heritage.
Bond, a singer, guitar player and songwriter, has played with many of the older, traditional Alabama blues musicians for more than 30 years. Some of the performers she has shared the stage with include Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland and Willie King in clubs, schools and on festival stages.
Her performance and association with mentor Johnny Shines actually inspired the creation of the Alabama Blues Project.
Bond made her musical debut in West Africa where she lived as a child with her anthropologist mother, and formed her first band in Brighton, England, while attending college.
In addition to her talent in music, Bond, is also an award-winning videographer who worked for Tuscaloosa-based Alabama Public Television. Many of the independent projects she worked on there in the 1980s are archived at the Smithsonian Institute. More recently, she has presented live showcases of Alabama blues women.
Bond’s blues background has greatly influenced her musical style, richly flavoring her guitar playing, soulful voice and musical writing. However, her sound is also contemporary, embracing blues rock, soul and country. This unique synthesis is evidenced in her music albums, What Goes Around, Comes Around;Hearts Are Wild, That Thing Called Love, and her latest release, Enjoy the Ride, which came out in 2016.
Asherson has played harmonica, guitar and piano since the 1960s in his native city of London.
Since his move to Alabama in 2001, he has played keyboards and the harmonica with such blues greats as Willie King, Caroline Shines, Eddie Kirkland, Little Jimmy Reed and B.J. Miller.
Asherson has a background vocationally in computer programming, osteopathy and nonprofit administration.
He served as the assistant director of the Alabama Blues Project from 2003 until 2011. His skill in grant-writing greatly enhanced the growth of the Alabama Blue Project, as did his creation and development of the Alabama Blues Project’s educational program, curriculum and traveling exhibitions.
Asherson continues to instruct with the Alabama Blue Project’s award-winning after-school programs and residencies.
Together, Bond and Asherson performed at the 19th Annual Freedom Creek Festival in Aliceville in honor of the late Willie King, then toured throughout the summer in the UK, France and Ireland, performing at various blues clubs, taverns and festivals, including the Ealing Blues Festival — the biggest dedicated blues event in Britain — and for the “Fenetre sur Jardin” at the Jardin les Leliades in France.
The library’s Wild and Wonderful Wednesday series is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served afterward.