Ironing Board Sam’s Long Road to JazzFest

inIroning Board Samon January 13, 2015


Ironing Board Sam performing at JazzFest in 2012. Photo by Tom Ciaburri

When the Music Maker Relief Foundation first started working with Ironing Board Sam he was in a pretty rough spot. He was being evicted from his trailer, had no gigs and desperately needed help. After receiving a call from Living Blues photographer Gene Tomko, Tim leaped at the opportunity to help Sam. Tim had seen Sam many years ago in New Orleans and also in Asheville, NC and could never forget Sam’s unbelievable performances. After getting a new keyboard, new clothes, a car, and a place to live, Sam was ready to start booking gigs. Ironing Board Sam was BACK! Sam was eager to perform, and the gigs began coming in. In 2012 Sam was invited to play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, also known as JazzFest. This is one of the biggest festivals in the world, and Sam was particularly excited to play since he had played the festival several times in it’s very early days. You can read about Sam’s underwater blues show during the late 70s here.


Ironing Board Sam performing at JazzFest in 1977. Photo by Walter Lenk

Sam wowed the crowd in 2012 and cemented his place as a New Orleans icon when he returned in 2014 with his golden keyboard. About a month ago the MMRF’s Artist Services Coordinator, Aaron Greenhood received a call from JazzFest to tell us that they were inviting Sam back for the 2015 festival. Sam was absolutely thrilled to hear the news, and we have already begun planning for his big show in May! Sam will be performing Sunday May 3rd – you can find out more details – here.

– Corn


Ironing Board Sam performing at JazzFest in 2014. Photo by Michael Weintrob


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