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As musicians and fans roll in for the annual Navasota Blues Festival this Friday and Saturday, I wondered: How did this town get its title as the “Blues Capital of Texas?”

Mance LipscombMance Lipscomb died in 1976 in his hometown of Navasota, Texas.

A key figure in the area's music heritage is songster and blues musician Mance Lipscomb, who was born in Navasota in 1895 and spent much of his life as a tenant farmer before releasing his first album 1960. (The term “songster” refers to traveling musicians who played in a wide variety of styles that influenced and blended with blues music as it's known today.) After being signed by a major label at age 65, Lipscomb became a regular at music festivals and blues clubs around the country before returning home to Navasota in his final years. Today, the city celebrates his musical legacy with a two-day festival featuring celebrated local and regional blues performers.

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