Robert and Bernice Jones
Gospel and Blues
Rev. Robert Jones is a talented multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, storyteller and educator, but he particularly loves working with the powerful and inspirational voice that is his wife Bernice.
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
A Detroit Story
This is specifically a Detroit story of the Underground Railroad. Based on the scholarship of Karolyn Smardz Frost and others, this program is a musical retelling of the story of Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, their escape to Detroit in 1833, and of their subsequent capture and journey
to Canada. This story uses period songs and instruments to highlight the importance of the slave songs and coded spirituals during America's first civil rights movement.
The Jones Family In Concert
The Jones Family combines the talents of Rev Robert Jones, his wife Sister Bernice Jones, and their children Robert II, Rosa Warner Jones and Arnesia Jones. In this clip they are joined by Peter "Madcat" Ruth and Matt Watroba. Whether in a church, at a festival or as featured performers, the Jones Family always bring the energy and joy of Gospel music.
The Movement That Sang!
“The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital role in our struggle. They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours”, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Of the many weapons of non-violent resistance one of the most powerful has been song. During the days of the Underground Railroad coded black spirituals passed along vital information of escape and perseverance. During the American Civil War songs were a powerful tool for recruitment and morale, and one-hundred years later these same songs were reshaped to serve as weapons of change during America’s Civil Rights Movement. Not only did music play a vital role in the life of African Americans, it also was an important part of labor organizing, giving names and faces to those had been previously powerless.
In “The Movement That Sang” Rev. Robert Jones, Sr, an acclaimed storyteller, musician and singer, takes you on this great journey of American history and song, sharing songs from the 19th and 20th century that have helped to shape the America that we enjoy today. "The Movement That Sang" is an interactive presentation that is, primarily, designed for adult audiences interested in learning how songs and music helped to change America's ideas about race, community and culture. The only thing that you will need to enjoy this program will be an open ear and a willingness experience this amazing period in American history.
“The freedom songs are playing a strong and vital role in our struggle. They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours”, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Special Programs for Museums and Libraries
Rev. Jones has been privileged to do various special performances for instances such as The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI; The International Storytelling Center, Jonesborough, TN; and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. The following article describes a recent presentation at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. Grand Rapids, MI.
An American Legend
Join Robert Jones in his musical portrayal of one of America's greatest performers, Huddie Ledbetter, better known by his stage name, Lead Belly. Lead Belly was born on Jan. 20, 1888 in Mooringsport, LA. He died December 6, 1949, but in his sixty years on earth he forever impacted the world of folk music.
The self-proclaimed "King of the 12 String Guitar", Lead Belly was the writer of many classic American songs including "Goodnight Irene", "The Rock Island Line", "Midnight Special". and "Take This Hammer"
BEFORE THE BLUES
Rev. Robert Jones, Sr
In a program that showcases the amazing variety of music that existed before traditional African American music became the cliché of 12 bar guitar blues. Using guitar, akonting, minstrel style banjo, fiddle, mandolin and harmonica, Robert performs seminal songs on period instruments.