Bill seeks to help needy Miss. blues musicians

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi’s blues artists have won worldwide fame for their soulful music born out of the hardships of the state’s old plantation system, but many of them end up broke and hungry.

The Mississippi Legislature has passed a bill lawmakers hope will lead to financial help for the performers who established the state’s legacy as the “birthplace of the blues.”

The bill allows the Mississippi Blues Commission to raise private funding for struggling musicians. It amends the law that created the commission, which is charged with promoting the state’s blues heritage. The bill will allow the commission to “raise and expend grant funds to provide assistance to any blues musician in need.”