About Sunny Southern Productions

Sunny Southern Productions

Cotton bales on the Mississippi riverside. Photo by Coovert Jackson. Courtesy of D. Gorton. All rights reserved.

Sunny Southern Productions
Mission and Vision Statements

Our Mission: Blues Preservation

Sunny Southern Productions endeavors to recover and preserve the lost narratives and musical heritage of original blues artists from the late 1800s to mid-1900s in the Deep South.

Our Vision: Blues for All

We fill a niche in the early blues marketplace by publishing stories that are musically, culturally and historically remarkable, and educate the public through access to literature and media projects.

Sunny Southern Productions Presents
The Riverside Blues Series

Through The Riverside Blues Series, readers will learn about multi-instrumental bluesman Eugene Powell, his songstress wife Mississippi Matilda, his famous friends, and iconic performances in heavily segregated south.

These artists sang on the riverside, toiled in the cotton fields, and created a musical legacy that inspired the nation. We honor them by publishing biographies told from the first-hand accounts of family, friends, fans, contemporaries, and the artists themselves.

Learn more about the projects Sunny Southern Productions is involved in and authors Brian O’Connor and Melanie Saxton here.

Book One in the Riverside Blues Series

Published by Sunny Southern Productions. Photo credit: John Keen. All rights reserved.

The Original Rolling Stone: The Travelin’ Riverside Blues of Eugene Powell has been written precisely as Eugene Powell’s family envisioned—a powerful true-life backstory of faith and plantation roots that honor the oldest surviving blues pioneer of the Mississippi Delta and his cohorts. Read more about Eugene’s fascinating life here:

This Sunny Southern Productions biography includes never-before-seen photos, rare images, and information courtesy of:

  • The Library of Congress
  • The Mississippi Department of Archives & History
  • The Smithsonian Institution (photography by Diana Davies)
  • Former New York Times White House photographer D. Gorton
  • Renowned photographer John Keen
  • Curator of rare records, John Tefteller
  • Preeminent Researcher of Black History, Jan Hillegas


Book Two in the Riverside Blues Series

Published by Sunny Southern Productions. Photo credit: Carrie Powell. All rights reserved.

Hard Working Woman: The Life and Legend of Mississippi Matilda is an unflinching biography of a wife, mother, field hand, minstrel performer, and recording artist who survived the caste system of the Deep South.

Matilda Powell née Witherspoon’s journey is shared through family interviews and insights from her daughter Carrie Powell. Learn more about the songstress here.

We thank former New York Times White House photographer D. Gorton nad renowned photographer John Keen for the use of their images.

Many thanks to preeminent researcher of black history, Jan Hillegas, for locating vital records that helped fill in the puzzle pieces of Matilda’s complicated past.


Book Three in the Riverside Blues Series — COMING SOON!

Sunny Southern Productions

Book Three in the Riverside Blues Series. Photo credit: Diana Davies. Courtesy of the Smithsonian. All rights reserved.

America’s Unbeatable Musicians: The Original Masters of the Mississippi Riverside Blues features Eugene Powell, Mississippi Matilda, and their contemporaries:

  • Bo Chatmon (a.k.a. Bo Carter)
  • Sam Chatmon
  • The Mississippi Sheiks
  • Hacksaw Harney
  • Ernest “44” Johnson
  • Little Brother Montgomery
  • Richard Hill
  • Robert Nighthawk
  • And many more

The book details the close ties and friendships between the Powells and their playing partners, as well as the popular forty-four piano roll music of the early 1900s.


Many thanks to the blues fans and aficionados whose interest in original blues musicians inspired Sunny Southern Productions to compile and publish this book.


Contact Sunny Southern Productions

We welcome your interview requests about the Riverside Blues Series. Please email us here.