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Rise for Relief

Thank you to everyone that called, texted and went online to help those in need during the Rise for Relief telethon.  You can see some backstage photos of the event at


Recently, our region of the United States has seen some of the greatest devastation since Hurricane Katrina due to tornadoes and floods.  This year, we have been impressed by images of rising water, flattened communities, and individuals who have lost loved ones, property, and livelihoods.  At MPB, we feel like there is something we can do to help.  That's why we've partnered with stations across our region to produce Rise for Relief, a telethon to benefit flood and tornado victims in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  

Funds raised during the telethon will go to the American Red Cross.  The funds raised will help the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee chapters of the Red Cross meet the needs of those affected by this spring's disasters.  Click here to make a donation.

To give by phone call 1-855-449-2554.

You can also text 90999 to give an automatic $10 donation- regular text messaging fees may apply


Brandon Bennett - Brandon Bennett has the distinct honor of being named the “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist for 2008.” This is the official title given by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Bennett is now taking his talents on the road in a high energy show that features all the eras of Elvis's career. His uncanny ability to entertain an audience is unmatched. Bennett’s ability to recreate Elvis's performances from the 50's to the 70's concert years has his audiences on the edge of their seats.

Hailing from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Bennett's southern roots bring the essence of Elvis's charm and charisma to the stage, with multiple costume changes and a full back up band and singers.

During “Rise for Relief,” viewers will see some of the highlights of Elvis’s career. Bennett will perform songs from some of these different Elvis eras - the King of Rock and Rolls introduction to the world in the 1950's, the hits from some of Elvis's 33 movies, the famous 1968 television appearance that marked Elvis's return to live performances. Bennett performs all of these with high energy stage performances and the legendary jumpsuits.

For more information on Bennett, please visit


Eden Brent - Eden Brent's piano playing and singing style ranges from a melancholic whisper to a full-blown juke joint holler. She's simultaneously confident and confiding; ably blending an earthy meld of jazz, blues, soul, and pop as she huskily invites listeners into her lazy, lush world.

That world lies just north of Greenville, Mississippi on the two-lane Highway 1, which follows the twists and turns of the river through fecund swampland, time-forgotten plantations, and blink-and you'll-miss-'em communities like Rosedale, Benoit, Wayside, and Grace before it dead ends into Highway 61 at Onward.

It was there that Brent was able to develop her gutsy vocal-and piano chops via family sing-a-longs and a 16-year apprenticeship with the late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, who ultimately dubbed his protégé "Little Boogaloo."

"Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie," says Brent, who appeared alongside her mentor in the 1999 PBS documentary Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound and in the 2002 South African production Forty Days in the Delta.

For more information on Brent, please visit


Breeze Cayolle-Saxophonist, singer and songwriter Brian "Breeze" Cayolle is soulful, strong and deeply rooted in the rhythm & blues, jazz and rock and roll traditions of his native New Orleans.

Cayolle studied music at the University of New Orleans and honed his craft in the clubs of the Crescent City. He performs with many of New Orleans finest artists and with his own group, affectionately known as the French Quarter All-Stars. R&B impresario and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Allen Toussaint, made Cayolle a fixture in his band for recording at his famous Sea-Saint studio and for his NYNO Records sessions.

Cayolle has recorded two albums, 1999's Soul Time and his latest effort, State of My Heart.

A glance at some of Cayolle's musical achievements reveals a road map of American music. He opened in rock halls for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Roy Buchanan and Leon Russell as a member of the Dino Kruse Band and played the blues with Clarence Gatemouth Brown and the Blues Queen of New Orleans, Marva Wright. Cayolle toured with Zydeco King C.J. Chenier and had a cameo role in the Tina Turner biopic “What's Love Got To Do With It.”   He performed with the legendary Jazz and R&B musicians Cornell Dupree and Chuck Rainey and appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with Allen Toussaint, arranging and performing on Willy Deville's Victory Mixture album. Cayolle was a member of the Dr. John horn section and backed an all-star line-up featuring Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Sam Moore and Billy Joel at the Newport R&B Festival.

For more information on Cayolle, please visit  


Grady Champion - Compared to the legendary Mississippi, African-American , blues  harmonica player, singer and songwriter Sonny Boy Williamson, young Grady Champion of Canton, Mississippi will be sharing his soulful blues and harmonica playing for us in Rise for Relief. People can hear exactly why Champion parallels Sonny Boy Williamson in Champion’s 1999 debut album, Payin’ for My Sins.  Including a version of “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’,” this album displays Champion’s high-energy singing and harmonica playing. 

Known as “The Mississippi Bluesman,” Champion will be entertaining viewers with his theme song “Weight of the World.” In singing this song, Champion hopes to ensure victims that people are willing to help carry the weight they are experiencing from these natural disasters.

Dave McIntyre of Blues Access magazine commented in the summer of 1996 issue, “On Saturday’s midnight cruise, I was immediately drawn to the upper deck, where I found Hawkeye Herman and T.J. Wheeler, two great pickers, engaged with a younger harpist from Mississippi, named Grady Champion, exchanging songs and doing requests.  Champion’s voice not only made me think of Robert Johnson, but the  way he worked the crowd seemed as though Johnson’s, or Luther Allison’s, fire and raw sense of what the audience needs was being born inside him.”

For more information on Champion, please visit


John Milsted - Sometimes you can tell where an artist is from simply by listening to their music. That could be said about John Milstead, who hails from the state of the Mississippi.

Rarely does a debut album by an independent artist sound as compelling as Milstead’s debut offering, Sides of the Soul. Performing all of his own backing vocals, organ, piano and acoustic guitar, this Tupelo, Mississippi native finds a way to add a touch of classic soul vocally around his own pop melodies and riffs.

Heavily influenced by the likes of Sam Cooke and Don Henley, Sides of the Soul was written and produced Milstead.  “He has released an album that is pretty much incredible. In fact, the album is a little more than what you would expect from a ‘new’artist, as Milstead has what is called an ‘old soul,’” said Chuck Dauphin of Music News Nashville.

Milstead was a winner of the 9th Annual CMT NSAI contest for his song, “Don’t Believe in Love;” a finalist at Atlanta’s Eddie’s Attic singer/songwriter competition in July 2009 and November 2009; and he was’s October 2009 vocalist of the month. "Dont Believe in Love" won again in 2010 ranking in the top 2 songs with NSAI/CMT with over 200,000 votes online.

For more information on Milstead, please visit


Chas Sandford - Veteran artist/songwriter/producer/engineer/guitarist Chas Sandford’s sophomore album, Wag More, Bark Less, includes songs that were covered by John Waite, Sammy Hagar, Rick Springfield, and Sheila B. Devotion. When three of the songs he was writing for a planned second album turned into a #1 hit for Waite (“Missing You”) and Top 5 singles for both Stevie Nicks (“Talk to Me”) and Chicago (“What Kind of Man Would I Be”), Sandford found himself one of the most in-demand producer/songwriters in the business, his songs recorded by a list that includes Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Melanie, Roger Daltrey, Millie Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Alison Krauss and David Wilcox.

Now living in Franklin, TN, outside Nashville, the Atlanta-born Sandford has enlisted an all star line-up of the city’s best musicians for the album, anchored by bassist Davis Santos and drummer Nick Buda, with cameos by friends and colleagues including Chicago’s Bill Champlin and James Matchack, Survivor’s Jim Peterik, recording artist/slide guitarist Lee Roy Parnell and singer/songwriter Nicole Witt on background vocals.

For more information on Sandford, please visit


Doug Williams of The Williams Brothers - Mississippi’s Doug, Melvin, Henry, and their musicians travel around the world to spread the word of Jesus Christ through their Grammy nominee winning, Gospel music.  Performing for all ages, their distinctive Gospel music has been performed at some of the nation’s most prestigious concert halls along with some of the most talented artists: Stevie Wonder, Jars of Clay, Mary Mary, Luther Vandross, Kirk Franklin, the Mississippi Mass Choir, Patti LaBelle, Amy Grant, and James Taylor to name a few.  

Few gospel groups can equal the Williams Brothers in terms of longevity and popularity. The trio dates back to 1960, when Doug and Melvin's father, the late Leon "Pop" Williams founded the group.

In April 1991, Melvin, Henry and Doug decided to merge musical talent with industry expertise to form their own label dedicated to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ through anointed music. As a result, Blackberry Records was born.

Blackberry Record’s first release, This Is Your Night, received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Soul Gospel Album and won two Stellar Awards.  Since that time, the Brothers have earned a gold record for the WOW Gospel project.

When not on the road, the Brothers spend their time running Blackberry Records and recording music at Terminal Studios, their Grammy award winning record studio in Jackson.

For more information on Doug and the Williams Brothers, please visit


  • Howard Ballou of WLBT in Jackson
  • Donna Britt of WAFB in Baton Rouge
  • Karen Brown of MPB’s Mississippi Edition
  • Tanya Carter of WABG in Greenwood
  • Bill Ellison of MPB’s Grassroots
  • Walt Grayson of MPB’s Mississippi Roads
  • Amanda Mills of MPB’s Mississippi Outdoors
  • Paul Ott, Mississippi Singer and Songwriter
  • Tim Van Horn of WMC-TV in Memphis
  • Maggie Wade of WLBT in Jackson

This program was made possible in part by:

  • Cellular South
  • Farm Bureau

Additional support also provided by: 

  • Clear Channel
  • Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center
  • Mississippi Association of Broadcasters
  • Mississippi State University

Special thanks to Paul Ott. 


Rise for Relief will air across Mississippi on MPB TV and also on the following partnering stations:

  • WABG Channel 6-Greenwood
  • WAFB Channel 9-Baton Rouge
  • WCBI Channel 4-Columbus
  • WDAM Channel 7-Hattiesburg
  • WHLT Channel 22-Hattiesburg
  • WKNO Channel 10-Memphis
  • WLBT Channel 3-Jackson
  • WLOX Channel 13-Biloxi
  • WMC Channel 5-Memphis
  • WTOK-TV Channel 11-Meridian
  • RFD-TV (