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At the Gallery: Music of Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith poster
Craven Arts Council & Gallery is proud to present “At the Gallery: Bessie Smith” performed by The Heather Pierson Trio at the Bank of the Arts on January 22, 2022, at 7 p.m.

Bessie Smith was an American Blues singer who is regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era. When Bessie Smith was young, she used to busk on the streets of Chattanooga with her brother for pennies. Soon she began performing at the “81” theatre and the Theater Owners Booking Association which she would later become the headliner for. Her fame rose dramatically when a producer at Columbia Records noticed her and signed her. Columbia’s publicity department called her the “Queen of Blues” and the national press regarded her as “Empress of Blues”. Hits include “St. Louis Blues”, “Down Hearted Blues,” and “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle.”

Heather Pierson is a world-class singer and pianist, with her bell-tone, pitch-perfect vocals and her spot-on interpretations. “I’ll never forget it,” she recalls. “The very first time I played the piano – a real piano – I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do, every moment that I had the chance to do it.” Winner of the 2012 New England Songwriting Contest, Heather has multiple CD’s to her credit, in a variety of musical genres, which reveal her musical versatility, from New Orleans jazz, folk narratives, Delta Blues and, for us, Duke Ellington.

Tickets are $20 for CAC&G members and $25 for nonmembers, available in person at Bank of the Arts, online at, or over the phone at 252.638.2577.

The Craven Arts Council & Gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Bank of the Arts at 317 Middle St. in downtown New Bern.

By Mairin Gwyn Narron, Office Manager