Eugene Powell

The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund placed a memorial headstone for Eugene Powell, who recorded under the name of “Sonny Boy Nelson,” on November 4th, 1998 at the Evergreen Cemetery in Metcalfe, Mississippi. Powell was born in Utica, Mississippi, in 1908, and he became a guitar virtuoso, recording only sporadically in his prime, most notably in 1936 for Bluebird records. At times a farmer and a bootlegger, Powell performed actively with better known artists such as Bo Carter (Armenter Chatmon), Sam Chatmon, Robert Nighthawk, Hacksaw Harney, and Mississippi Matilda, among others. He is credited for using a seventh string added to a conventional guitar, rigging up tin resonator plates on his guitars, and for an array of unusual tunings. The grave marker--financed through a grant from John Fogerty--was raised and leveled in 2015, due to the efforts of who studied under the elder musician.

Installation of the headstone of Eugene Powell

Photographs by Euphus Ruth and Axel Küstner



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