Blues Music

Gibson Presents ‘Strange Things Happening A Tribute To Sister Rosetta Tharpe’

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Strange Things Happening A Tribute To Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Gibson has partnered with Luck Presents and the beloved Auston Blues venue Antone’s for a special concert “Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe” during SXSW 2023 to celebrate the music icon Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of Rock n’ Roll. A trailblazing performer, Sister Rosetta Tharpe forged a style all her own that influenced countless musicians, including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Etta James, Little Richard, and more.

A mid-day gospel brunch, “Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe” will begin on Sunday, March 19, at 11:00am at LUCK Ranch and feature a parade of artists alongside an all-star band finale to honor the legendary SRT including Amythyst Kiah, Abraham Alexander, Betty Harris, Ruthie Foster, Valerie June, Thee Sacred Souls, Gypsy Mitchell, Cookie McGee, as well as Adrian Reed and Anointed Praise, and more. Binky Griptite and his orchestra will be the band leader and MC for the SRT tribute. To purchase tickets to the tribute event, visit: HERE.

Strange Things Happening A Tribute To Rosetta Tharpe, flyer

Born in Orlando, FL in 1939, legendary deep soul vocalist Betty Harris’s father Reverend Rufus Crews was a booking agent for gospel artists Sam Cooke, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. “Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first artist that encouraged me to keep singing,” says Betty Harris. “Later, she became the godmother to my son. This show gives me the opportunity to say thank you!”

“Sister Rosetta Tharpe is the Alma Mater to every rock, blues and soul fan,” says Abraham Alexander. “Every musician playing today is a biproduct of the doors that SRT has knocked down and the grounds she paved. She is a spirit that lives on today in every guitar player whether they know it or not, and it is an honor to celebrate her legacy.”

2023 marks 50 years since the world lost Sister Rosetta Tharpe and March 20th would have been her 108th birthday. Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s immense talent and confidence arrived during an era when women, and especially women of color, had no voice. An era where no woman dared play guitar at the front of the stage, let alone front a solo act. No woman except Sister Rosetta Tharpe. From a gospel background, she was a forerunner in electric guitar playing. She played the guitar as its own distinct instrument, with the first use of distortion. She was a pioneer in her guitar technique. Tharpe influenced early rock and roll musicians including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Eric Clapton.

“Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe”

Sunday, March 19 | 11:00am CT | LUCK Ranch

“Shout, Sister Shout!” Sister Rosetta Tharpe

About Sister Rosetta Tharpe
An audacious performer from Cotton Plant, Arkansas who became a gospel superstar, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is an artist that rarely comes up in debates about the true founding father of rock ‘n’ roll. SRT fronted her own band, she was one of the first artists of note to play the iconic ‘61 Les Paul SG Custom electric guitar, she was a headlining, black female artist who toured through the segregated Jim Crow South, and she has been largely overlooked as a seminal figure in the creation of rock music. As it turns out, the founding father of rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t a father at all – that distinction belongs to Sister Rosetta. A gospel-trained force of nature that broke barriers, stereotypes, and norms with astonishing regularity, her electrifying music predates the work of like-minded guitar legends including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Elvis. Sister Rosetta Tharpe unequivocally remains the textbook definition of an iconoclast – The Godmother of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe:


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