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Blues musician John Cephas to be honored in Bowling Green

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

IMG_9268The Bowling Green Arts Commission is proud to sponsor the dedication of a historical marker honoring Bowling Green local and legendary blues guitarist, John Cephas, to take place Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11 a.m.

The marker itself is being paid for by the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) through a transportation enhancement grant.

The dedication will be held at the site of the marker, located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broaddus Avenue and Main Street. Following the dedication, a musical program will take place on the Caroline County courthouse lawn in the Town of Bowling Green. Attendees will enjoy live music paying tribute to the genre of blues that Cephas is world-renowned for pioneering, known as Piedmont Blues.

John Cephas was born in Washington, D.C., but reared in the Town of Bowling Green. Having a rich history of gospel and blues music in his family, Cephas developed a banjo-like technique of playing guitar.

John Cephas and harmonica master, Phil Wiggins, teamed up after meeting at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1976 and released several albums through German record label, L+R.

Cephas and Wiggins enjoyed their breakthrough to American blues enthusiasts with “Dog Days of August,” winning the W.C. Handy Award for best traditional blues album in 1987.

Cephas’s influence in Piedmont Blues was further recognized by The National Endowment For the Arts when he was presented with the National Heritage Fellowship award. Cephas and Wiggins went on to release over a dozen albums.

John Cephas died on March 4, 2009, in his home in Woodford, just outside of Bowling Green. However, the Bowling Green Arts Commission hopes to keep his legacy alive through the dedication of the Virginia highway marker.

For more information, contact Jo-Elsa Jordan, Town of Bowling Green events coordinator, at or (804) 516-5045 (office/cell).