It's a long way from the chitlins circuit to the Richmond Folk Fest, and no one knows that better than Mighty Sam McClain. The 70-year-old soul and blues legend has toured Japan, earned a Grammy nomination and recorded an album of duets with Iranian folk singer Mahsa Vahdat. And just last year he was nominated for a blues music award for "Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey)."
Is there any difference in soul and blues music?
I'm not really sure of the technical difference. They both come from the same place — spirit, heart and soul — but with a way of expressing it.
When you started singing as a teenager, what were your expectations?
I was impressed with the money and the way it attracted girls.
Would you be the same singer if you hadn't come up singing gospel?
Of course not. I think that everything that has happened to me in my life has played a part in my singing. I sang gospel in church and soul and blues in the cotton fields.
What does it mean to you to be on the world music chart?
Being accepted on the world music scene shows another side of me as an artist. I enjoy having the freedom to pick and choose what I want to sing. I like growing. I know that you can't please everyone, so I learned a long time ago to be happy and please myself and follow my heart.
Saturday: 2:45-3:45 p.m., Dominion Dance Pavilion; 7:45-8:30, Altria Stage.
Sunday: 5-6 p.m., Altria Stage.