What do you think John Blind Boone and Sheryl Crow have in common? If you said they're both from Missouri, you're kind of on the right track. But, big whup? Right? What if I told you they're both members of the Missouri Roots Songbook, a sort of hall of fame for Missouri musicians. That's kind of a bigger deal. Right?

In 2018 the Roots n Blues Festival started a new annual tradition. Each year the festival management team selects one musician who is a native of Missouri, or who spent a significant part of their music career in Missouri, and puts them in the Missouri Roots Songbook.

Boone, who was born in Miami, Missouri. Grew up in Warrensburg. Spent some time in St. Louis and eventually settled in Columbia. According to the Blind Boone Home in Columbia. Boone overcame blindness, poverty, and discrimination to become an amazing composer and concert pianist. And his compositions provide a direct link between traditional African American music, classical music, and ragtime.  The Blind Boone Home also says that today jazz and ragtime historians are increasingly recognizing Boone's seminal role in the evolution of music. Boone also apparently had a natural gift for music his entire life.

Crow probably couldn't be much more different Boone. Yet, like him, was born in a small town. Kennett. Like many mid-Missouri teens, she ran track, was in the pep club, and was a part of the FFA. And like Boone, she discovered her knack for music early in life. Not as early as Boone, but her biography on the Roots n Boots website says her mother, a piano teacher, taught her to play and she was writing songs by the age of 13.

Crow would study music at the University of Missouri, then settled into teaching elementary school kids music in Fenton before leaving Missouri for L.A. In Los Angeles, she sang back-up for Michael Jackson, wrote songs for the likes of Tina Turner and Celine Dion. She's also picked up nine Grammys, released 11 albums, and worked with many other big-name stars.

When you look at both Boone's and Crow's life in Missouri. They come from different eras, played different music, yet both took to music early. Both lived in smaller Missouri towns for a while. And both achieved excellence following their musical passion. The similarities are kind of cool if you ask me.

Sheryl Crow is one of the many women performing at this year's Roots n Blues festival in Columbia at Stephens Lake Park. Other notable performers this year include Larkin Poe, Mickey Guyton, Mavis Staples, and Brandi Carlile. The festival runs this Friday through Sunday, September 24 - September 26. Sheryl Crow headline's Sunday's performances and closes out the festival. Tickets are available for all three days, or just one day of the event.

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