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Steve Azar to Be Honored With Mississippi's 2018 Governor's Arts Award

The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) has announced that Steve Azar will be a recipient of its 2018 Governor’s Arts Award.

Established in 1988, Governor’s Arts Awards are given to individuals and organizations to recognize outstanding work in visual, literary and performing arts, community development through the arts and arts patronage in Mississippi. Azar’s current album, Down At The Liquor Store, was recorded on location at Club Ebony in Indianola, MS with backing by The Kings Men, veterans of B. B. King, Albert King and Elvis Presley bands.  

Azar returned to his hometown of Greenville, MS after a lengthy sojourn in Nashville and continues to serves as the official Music and Cultural Ambassador of the State of Mississippi. He’s been a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer and philanthropist who describes his music as “Delta Soul.” Earlier in his career, his song "Waitin’ On Joe" went to #1 on Country Music Television and, from the same album, the hit single “I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday)” received BMI’s Three Million-Air airplay award. Azar is also co-founder of the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, the Delta Soul Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation. He is the subject of a feature-length documentary that chronicles the recording Down At The Liquor Store and his enduring relationship with his home state titled Something In The Water

Down At The Liquor Store has garnered critical kudos including a review in The Morton Report in which music industry veteran Bill Bentley wrote "Azar is one of most astute and moving voices to come out of the Delta in the past 20 years,” noting, "Azar has the dirt-deep Mississippi feel, and while he's capable of sophisticated swinging he never gets too fancy. Instead, he digs down all the way and zeroes in on what he calls 'Delta Soul.' For those who've missed former heroes like Delaney Bramlett and Jim Ford, fret no more. Steve Azar is bringing it all back home…"

Azar and the four other 2018 recipients — Ballet Mississippi’s David Keary, painter Joe Overstreet, V.A. Patterson, former executive director of Very Special Arts Mississippi and the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi as well as the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council — will be recognized at the 30th annual Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Old Capitol Museum in downtown Jackson MS on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, at 6 p.m. A public reception at 4:30 p.m. will precede the ceremony.

“These five recipients have not only experienced great success in their respective fields, but each recipient has, in their own way, worked to effect positive change, using the power of the arts to make our state and nation a more colorful, expressive and just place to live,” said Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. “We are excited to honor these worthy recipients in a milestone year for the arts in Mississippi, the 50th anniversary of MAC’s founding and the 30th anniversary of the Governor’s Arts Awards.”

Azar commented, “It’s wonderful to be recognized by the Mississippi Arts Council for this honor, especially in light of the brilliance and dedication of the other four recipients. I could not be more delighted to be a Mississippian doing whatever I can to support arts in our communities.”