Pascagoula musician Libby Rae Watson has stood on stages of major music festivals all across the world over the past three decades and won numerous awards for her live music along the way.
Watson is still gaining national recognition for her work as well and was recently featured in a story in one of the most well-respected bi-monthly publications in the United States.
The April/May edition of “Garden and Gun” Magazine has a two-page recognition of Watson in their “The Southern Agenda” section titled “She’s got the rhythm (and the blues)” which is very complimentary of Watson’s work.
“I really wasn’t expecting anything but maybe a name mention,” Watson said. “It was really a big surprise that they wrote as much as they did.”
Watson and her friend Colleen Buyers were attempting to create some publicity for an upcoming project in the Mississippi Delta named “The Woman in Blues Festival” that both will be involved in.
“She and I wanted to promote the Women in Blues Festival coming up in May in Clarksdale, so she had the journalist call me for a couple of quotes,” Watson added. “She asked me a few more questions and she ended the phone call with ‘“I need to call you back for a write-up about you!”’
Watson is a popular performer on the Mississippi Delta Blues circuit, winning several awards at the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis. She has also been a featured act at the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, was named Musician of the Year in 2016 by the Mississippi Delta Blues Society, and was featured at the 2019 Amal Blues Festival in Sweden.
Additionally, she has on multiple occasions been a finalist at the National Women in Blues Showcase in Memphis. She is coming off her second appearance at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival playing with her band “The Hoodoo Men” at the Fairgrounds in May of 2022.
A Pascagoula native, Watson began playing music as a child and fell in love with the blues as a young teenager.
“I didn’t plan to go ‘find’ the Blues. The Blues found me,” Watson said. “I’ve been consumed by it for over 40 years. Like the late, great Sam Chatmon said, ‘The Blues is my daily occupation.’”
During the 1990s, Watson and her band, The Liberaetors, released two critically acclaimed CDs, Saltwater Blues and Spur of the Moment, and created a major following throughout the Gulf South region.
She has also been featured at the King Biscuit Blues Festival and the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic among many other blues festivals, and 10 years ago she toured the Maritimes of Canada with famed Canadian blues man Doc McLean.
“She’s a pioneer,” McLean, said a few years ago. “She’s one of the only women to cross what were difficult racial and cultural boundaries. She’s a songster-storyteller in the delta tradition — part of an unbroken chain.”