Yesterday, Sunday, March 19 in Austin, TX, Gibson, Luck, and Antone’s offered the unforgettable, artist-packed gospel brunch and tribute concert "Strange Things Happening: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, 1915-1973". The event, which took place at Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch and capped an exceptional week of performances at Luck Reunion, honored the music icon Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the original "Soul Sister" who made an indelible impact on gospel and soul music. 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.
Binky Griptite and The Binky Griptite Orchestra helmed the concert, with special guests including Abraham Alexander, Amythyst Kiah, Betty Harris, Ruthie Foster, Valerie June and sets from Kam Franklin of the Suffers, Thee Sacred Souls, Gypsy Mitchell, Cookie McGee, as well as Adrian Reed and Anointed Praise, and Grace Bowers, took the Luck Reunion attendees to church with an unforgettable gospel brunch and performance to celebrate Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s birthday (March 20, 1915). Onsite at the event, Gibson Gives—the philanthropic arm of Gibson--announced the Arkansas Arts Academy as the 2023 partner school for the newly established annual Gibson Gives Sister Rosetta Tharpe Music Scholarship. This year, the Arkansas Arts Academy will receive a $5,000 music scholarship and a guitar in honor of Sister Rosetta, the Godmother of Rock n’ Roll.
“We came here today to pay tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. This is Sunday School for all of us. We’re going to show you what we learned from Sister Rosetta Tharpe.”
– Binky Griptite
Music was in the air as the performers shared stories of Sister’s influence and inspiration and performed her legendary songs to a crowd of adoring fans. The sun shone brightly as guests were greeted by the sounds of Adrian Reed & The Anointed Praise Choir bursting out of the Saloon Doors. Seated on the World Headquarters stage, the legendary Cookie McGee displayed an absolute mastery of blues guitar, followed by a set of straight shredding by Gypsy Mitchell who played his Epiphone Flying V guitar with his teeth! Betty Harris performed Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head” with Grace Bowers soloing. Thee Sacred Souls played an hour long set, rousing the crowd and providing equal parts heartbreak and love as lead singer Josh Lane took fans on a journey with his smooth vocals. Closing out the day was a two-hour multi-artist tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Helmed by Binky Griptite and The Binky Griptite Orchestra, and soul and gospel performances from Amythyst Kiah, Valerie June, Betty Harris, Ruthie Foster, Kam Franklin, Abraham Alexander, and Grace Bowers. For the tribute finale, Adrian Reed & Anointed Praise Choir joined all the performers on stage for an epic gospel jam session like no other.
In honor of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s official birthday today, March 20, fans can donate now to support the annual Gibson Gives Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship, at GibsonFoundation.org, and watch/share Gibson’s tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, as Celisse and Amythyst Kiah take viewers on a journey of her monumental and enduring impact on music: Shout, Sister, Shout! Sister Rosetta Tharpe.