Gibson, the iconic American instrument brand, has partnered with LUCK Presents, and the beloved Austin 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.
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.”
“Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe”
Sunday, March 19 | 11:00am CT | LUCK Ranch
Plus sets from:
Thee Sacred Souls
Special choir appearance from:
Adrian Reed and Anointed Praise
$1 from every ticket sold to LUCK Reunion, as well as fundraising on-site will go to the Gibson Gives—the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship--which honors the music legend’s contributions to gospel, rhythm and blues, and Rock and Roll, by supporting the next generation of players. As the philanthropic arm of Gibson, Gibson Gives’ Scholarship Program awards 15+ music scholarships annually comprised of both cash grants ($75,000), as well as instruments to students as they prepare to navigate their post grad education and careers.
At LUCK Reunion, attendees can explore Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s history at a special booth on the festival grounds. Epiphone guitars and Gibson’s Sister Rosetta Tharpe Collection--made in partnership with Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s heirs--will be on display to shine a light on and celebrate her music and cultural influence. Sister Rosetta played a variety of Gibson guitars--the most well-known was the Custom Shop LP SG--and fans can pick up and play Epiphone SG guitars in her favored Alpine White finish, and experience the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Collection, and memorabilia in person.
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.
Watch and share the mini doc "Shout, Sister, Shout! Sister Rosetta Tharpe,” Gibson’s tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, featuring Celisse--who also served as creative director of the SRT Collection--and Amythyst Kiah, which takes viewers on a journey of Sister Rosetta’s monumental and enduring impact on music: Shout, Sister, Shout! Sister Rosetta Tharpe.