Club Ebony, the historic Indianola, MS blues joint frequented by a slew of legendary musicians in the 1940s, ’50s, and 60s, is set to reopen in early June after more than a year of repairs and renovations with three days of music by Susan Tedeschi, Tony Coleman’s Silent Partners Band, The Neal Brothers, Mr. Sipp, and more.
The grand reopening festivities at Club Ebony will begin on Thursday, June 1st with a 10:00 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a 7:00 p.m. show by B.B. King Museum regulars Big Time Rhythm & Blues Band. Louisiana natives The Neal Brothers (Lil Ray and Kenny Neal) and Mississippi native son Mr. Sipp will hit the newly reopened Club Ebony on Friday, June 2nd. On Saturday, June 3rd, Tony Coleman’s Silent Partners Band will open the night and play a few numbers with the headliner of the grand reopening festivities, Tedeschi Trucks Band co-bandleader Susan Tedeschi.
Related: The Garden Parties: Tedeschi Trucks Band Plots TD Garden & Madison Square Garden Shows
Tedeschi has a long history of involvement with B.B. King and the historical preservation efforts of the B.B. King Museum. In 2016, Tedeschi and her husband/co-bandleader, Derek Trucks, performed alongside a long list of artists as part of Icon: The Life and Legacy of B.B. King at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA. Susan and Derek also performed with King on numerous occasions, including at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, in 2011 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and in 2012 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO.
Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, ZZ Ward, Keb’ Mo’, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Slash, Joe Louis Walker, Jimmy Vivino, Quinn Sullivan – “The Thrill is Gone” (B.B. King) [Pro-Shot] – 2016
Known as one of the South’s most important Black nightclubs and a staple on the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” Club Ebony was built just after the end of World War II by Indianola entrepreneur Johnny Jones. Under Jones and successive owners, the club showcased the likes of Ray Charles, Count Basie, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Rush, Little Milton, Albert King, and other blues legends. Among the notable musicians who used to frequent Club Ebony was local native B.B. King, who for years would host standing-room-only crowds at the intimate lounge after his popular annual homecoming concerts in Indianola.
When owner Mary Shepard retired in 2008 after 34 years at the helm, B.B. King purchased the venue to ensure that the vaunted Club Ebony tradition continued. In 2012, King donated the club to the Indianola museum which bears his name to ensure that the club’s history was preserved even after his eventual passing in 2015 at age 89. Read more about the history of Club Ebony here.
“We are so excited about being able to not only save Club Ebony, but to bring it back in a manner that preserves its ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ heritage, but blends all the conveniences of a modern club. We have made the club fully ADA compliant and added interpretive elements that outline the club’s history and all the great performers who once graced the stage,” said B.B. King Museum director Malika Polk-Lee.
Robert Terrell, the museum’s deputy director, added, “I think guests will really be impressed with the club. We have put the stage back in its original location on the west end of the building and have added a sound booth to provide a better experience for artists and patrons alike. We added additional exits and have installed a complete sprinkler system to ensure the safety of our guests. There’s a lot of history here, and we are excited about sharing it.”
See below for a full schedule of events taking place as part of the grand reopening of the historic Club Ebony. Purchase tickets for the grand reopening of Club Ebony featuring Susan Tedeschi and more here.