March 12-19, 2020

Mr. Handy’s Blues

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William Christopher Handy is a larger than life figure in American Music History. For more than 100 years he’s been revered internationally as ‘The Father of the Blues’ but his story has never been told in documentary form until now. Mr. Handy’s Blues is an against-all-odds tale of family conflict, racial tensions and redemption. Born the son of a preacher in Post-Civil War Alabama, Handy rose to fame as one of the most beloved and prolific composers and music publishers of the 20th Century. Ten years in the making, the film includes never-before seen footage and photographs, and extensive rare audio and video recordings of W.C. Handy himself. Iconic Blues legends Taj Mahal and Bobby Rush appear in the film, which also features performances of Handy’s iconic songs {St. Louis Blues, The Memphis Blues, Beale St. Blues, e.g.} by current and past artists. The mission of Mr.Handy’s Blues is to entertain and educate audiences to the profound work of W.C. Handy, and preserve his legacy for generations to come.

Filmmaker Biography

In 2007, Joanne Fish completed her award-winning documentary on the ‘Queen of Rockabilly’ Wanda Jackson. The film, The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice, won Best in Show at the Oklahoma City Film Festival, a Cine Golden Eagle Award, and was an official entry at over 20 other film festivals. Additionally, the Smithsonian Network acquired the documentary as part of its premiere launch. Joanne has produced, written, and directed more than 250 programs for network television, including A&E BiographyModern Marvels, Lifetime’s Intimate PortraitRescue 911, and the History Channel’s special about George Washington Carver for Black History Month. She won an Emmy award for Class Acts, a documentary about Los Angeles’ first public high school of the arts and received seven Emmy nominations for her work. For Mr. Handy’s Blues, Joanne teamed up with Cinema South, a non-profit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee that acts as Executive Producer for the film.


  • Wingate University, Wingate, NC. Thursday 3/12/2020
  • Fuquay-Varina Arts Center, Fuquay-Varina, NC. Saturday 3/14/2020
  • Union College, Barbourville, KY. Monday 3/16/2020
  • Gateway Regional Arts Center, Mt. Sterling, KY. Tuesday 3/17/2020
  • University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY. Wednesday 3/18/2020
  • Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. Thursday 3/19/2020