Robert Johnson's Family

and the

Down at the Crossroads - Blues Meets Gospel Tours

Rory's award winning CD The Lady and Mr. Johnson features Rory performing 13 of Robert Johnson’s greatest classics. The following is an excerpt from the liner notes:

“From 1964 until the winter of 2006 I thought Robert Johnson had no surviving relatives. There was a sense of terrible loss and loneliness surrounding his tragic, early death. How could so great a musical giant have left us after only one recording?* Imagine my joy when halfway through the project I learned that Johnson’s family had been found, alive and well, in Mississippi. Heart pounding, I dialed the phone, and in a shaking voice I said, ‘You don’t know me, but to me, you’re family... I feel like I'm finding long lost kin!’ On the other end came a beautiful voice in a deep, mellow tone, and the hair stood up on my neck...”

* In 1964, “Robert Johnson/ King of the Delta Blues singers” was the only recording available

Robert Johnson's son Claud Johnson & Rory
Photo: Shonna Valeska
“Rory Block should have a Doctorate in my grandfather’s music.”
Steven Johnson, grandson of Robert Johnson

“When I hear Rory Block’s music, it’s as if my grandfather is here all over again.”
Greg Johnson, grandson of Robert Johnson
Rory & Michael Johnson
Rory & Michael
w/Richard & Michael Johnson
Richard Johnson & Rory
Steven Johnson & Rory
Rob, Steven & Rory
Rory and Richard Johnson, great grandson of Robert Johnson

Photo: Shonna Valeska

Down at the Crossroads

Blues Meets Gospel

Rory with Elder Steven Johnson, grandson of Robert Johnson, and the Straightway Ministries Choir of Utica, Mississippi.
Shortly after speaking with the Johnson family via phone, Rob and I traveled to Mississippi to meet in person. Robert’s grandson Steven Johnson suggested doing a concert together in New York City with words of introduction by a Johnson family member. Having learned that Elder Steven Johnson was a member of The Straightway Ministries Church and a singer in the choir, I thought we should bring the two elements, blues and gospel, together in one concert. We all got excited and the “Down At The Crossroads/Blues Meets Gospel” tour was born.
Henderson, KY WC Handy Blues and BBQ Festival
Kingsport, TN Twilight Alive
Tryon, NC Tryon Movie House
Warrenton, NC Warren County Celebration
Arlington, VA Columbia Pike Blues Festival
Louisville, KY Clifton Cultural Center
Savannah, GA Trustees Theater
Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
Wheeling, WV
Heritage Music Festival
New York City, NY
The Makor Center
Portland, ME
Maine State Pier
The Argent Theater
Arlington, MA
Photos by Shonna Valeska