Women Behind The Blues

Tommy Shannon and Beverly Howell

Beverly Howell

Howell Productions

Where and when were you born?

April 2, 1955 in El Paso, Texas. I'm an 'old broad' in the rock circles, but a baby in blues scene. Heck, even if I didn't love the music, that would be enough to keep me happy!

What do you do "Behind the Blues"?

I wear quite a few different "hats" as needs arise, but my primary job is serving as Publicist to Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, aka Double Trouble. I also have a company called Howell Productions, Inc.; we specialize in website design, maintenance, and online promotion targeted to the blues market. I also have a website at www.BluesChat.com, where for several years I hosted online chats with nationally recognized blues artists, but Im having a hard time keeping it up, and it's future is uncertain. Since the site doesn't generate an income and isn't sponsored by labels, instrument manufacturers, etc., I dont have the financial resources to hire anyone to help with it, and my workload leaves me little time to do it anymore. It's quite frustrating, because it was an excellent vehicle to promote artists, their projects, tours, etc, not to mention all the wonderful memories from hosting Blues Chat over the years.

What motivates you to keep on keeping on?

I am, and have been, deeply in love w/this music, the artists, and wonderful people behind the scenes for a long time. As a Publicist, my job is to 'sing the praises' of the music and the people I love; what a blessing it is to come to work everyday! To be completely honest, I couldnt do it if I DIDNT love it as I do....the hours are long, and the pay is better in some of the other genres. However, it has been my experience that the core blues community is comprised of some of the most dedicated, down to earth, non-egotistical men and women I've ever met.

Over the years I've seen quite a few new faces come and go; folks whose hearts really weren't in blues, they thought they could play a few blues tunes, pick up a few bucks and call themselves bluesmen or blueswomen. What they learn pretty quickly that they're in the wrong genre...this isn't a big bucks business, and you can't lie to a blues audience...if you're not playing or singing from the heart, your audience will know it.

What are your views, perspectives on women in the business?

Over the years, I've witnessed many more incredibly talented, hard working women becoming a driving force in this business, both onstage and behind the scenes; labels executives, managers, booking agents, festival producers, artists, the list goes on and on. There are so many of my female colleagues I respect I couldnt list them all!

What are your future plans?

To keep doing my best to try to bring Blues - the music, the artists, and the industry - the respect and recognition they richly deserve and seldom receive.

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