Documentary Film M For Mississippi Unites Independent Blues Labels



Today is the birthday for a brand new organization called Three Forks Music. The collective is a union of three record labels: Cat Head, St. Louis' own Broke & Hungry Records and Mudpuppy Recordings. The collaboration, inspired by the labels' work making the film M For Mississippi, is an effort to increase distribution and marketing for the works of many blues musicians. Dean Minderman wrote about M For Mississippi a few years ago. The DVD subsequently won "DVD Of the Year" at the 2009 Blues Music Awards.

*The official M For Mississippi trailer

(Read the full press release after the jump.)

Beginning July 20, we'll enjoy unprecedented CD and DVD distribution and a renewed marketing effort for our collective recording labels," explained Roger Stolle, owner of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and co-producer of M for Mississippi. "We believe this move will introduce a whole new audience to our chaotic collection of amazing Delta bluesmen."

The new Three Forks Music family of labels includes Cat Head, Broke & Hungry Records, and Mudpuppy Recordings. Products distributed and marketed through this effort include the film M for Mississippi: A Road Trip through the Birthplace of the Blues as well as CDs by Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, T-Model Ford, Big George Brock, Odell Harris, Pat Thomas, Wesley "Junebug" Jefferson, the Mississippi Marvel and more. All products in the Three Forks Music catalog will be distributed in the United States by California-based City Hall Records.

"We've united our labels under one overall umbrella to increase our collective visibility and our ability to market the region's surviving blues music," explained Kari Jones, Mudpuppy Recordings owner and "M for Mississippi" co-producer. "Three Forks Music allows us to take our marketing and distribution efforts to the next level."

Additionally, the new umbrella organization has several future projects in development. "While each of our individual labels will continue to offer new titles, from time to time our three labels will collaborate on larger projects that will be produced under the Three Forks Music brand," said Jeff Konkel, Broke & Hungry Records owner and "M For Mississippi" co-producer. "Our laundry list of 'must-do' projects is growing daily, and we're looking forward to teaming up to produce more rough and wild blues recordings."

That "rough and wild" aesthetic is what separates the Three Forks Music group from many of today's blues-themed record labels.

"If you prefer blues music that is smooth, clean and perfect, then I can absolutely recommend some other labels and musicians to go out and support," Konkel said. "But if you like your blues the way it used to be - full of feeling and attitude, ragged but right - then check us out. This is the kind of authentic roots music that the big-label marketing guys want you to think they're offering. The difference is: We actually have it."

"Look, 'the blues' per se isn't going anywhere," further explained Stolle. "But for this kind of blues - the music of Mississippi's cotton fields and juke joints - we've reached a threshold. The end of an era. Our mission is to capture it and promote it while the music is still living history."

According to Jones, Three Forks Music will soon launch a new web site to market and sell its releases and to inform the listening public about forthcoming titles. "There are still new discoveries waiting to be made in Mississippi. We're just glad to team up with such an experienced distribution partner as City Hall Records. We're looking forward to working with them on forthcoming releases."

City Hall Records is an independently owned and operated national independent music distribution company. Located in San Rafael, California, City Hall Records was founded in a San Francisco basement in 1973 and continues to move forward almost 40 years later.

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