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Bradfordville Blues Club is one of Tallahassee's best kept secrets

A haven for Blues artists
Posted at 9:34 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 21:34:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At the end of a long dirt road in rural Tallahassee, you'll find the blues.

"Since the 1990s this place has been a haven for some of the best blues artists in the world," Gary Anton, owner of Bradfordville Blues Club said.

A part of history, a throwback to the old juke joints you'd see in Mississippi and throughout the South.

"You just don't see these old juke joints - up back in the woods away from city centers. This one has a storied history to it and if you notice coming up here," Anton said.

Constructed in 1964 by the Henry family, the building was originally a community center.

A safe haven for African Americans, the racially integrated C.C. Saints baseball team played in the field not far from the front door.

In the 90s, David and Elizabeth Claytor owned the club; calling it the CC Club after the baseball team and had live music regularly.

When they moved in 2002, Gary and Kim Anton stepped up to keep the club — and the blues — alive.

For over 30 years blues legends have graced this stage.

Everyone from Grammy award winner Bobby Rush - King of the Chitlin' circuit - to Charlie Musselwhite - world renowned harmonica player - each of them leaving their mark here at the Bradfordville Blues club.

"There's the old school Blues that started out in Mississippi and migrated to Memphis St. Louis then Chicago. There's the more contemporary Blues that you're hearing from the younger players now and it continues to grow," Anton said.

Tammy Pierce is the bar manager.

She says no matter who you are - when you walk into the Bradfordville Blues Club, everyone is equal.

"Everyone is a family here. There's just something about this place that is magic," Pierce said.

She and her partner William are taking over the Club when the Antons retire.

"I'm hoping to keep the place exactly how it is - keep the vibe the history - everything the same. I'm just hoping we get more people in and in the seats so we can keep it going," Pierce said.

Anton calls the club an unintentional non-profit supported by the community, its donations and an audience of both old and young.

"I'm really heartened by the number of younger people who are taking to the Blues and there are many, many shades of Blues," Anton said.

An old cinderblock building on top of a hill surrounded by massive oak trees, there is no more perfect setting for the blues.

"For 30 years, the community has kept this place going - so the future looks bright. As long as people keep coming out, we'll keep providing the music. It's one of Tallahassee's best kept secrets," Anton said.

The Bradfordville Blues Club was awarded a Mississippi Blues Trail marker by the State of Mississippi Blues Commission for the historical significance of the club and the Blues to Florida.

It is the first Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Florida and the only one awarded to a club.

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