'Blues take me back to my childhood. I remember listening to the radio, waiting for Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" to come on.'


THE BIRTH OF THE BLUES Freeman recently checked out his blues joint, Ground Zero [Blues Alley; 662/621-9009], in Clarksdale. "I opened a restaurant here years ago, and people from all over the country—and even Europe and Asia—would stop in and ask, 'Where are the blues?' That's how the club came about."
HOME LAND "I once lived in New York, but I felt bound on all sides by concrete, people, noise, dirt, rush-rush-rush. My parents returned to Mississippi in the fifties; I bought their land and added to it. Now I have one hundred twenty acres here."
BACK IN THE DAY "When I was young, we didn't hang out at McDonald's like some kids today. On Fridays, I went to this little place called the Stand. It had a Wurlitzer that played all the best blues guys—Gatemouth Brown, Lightnin' Hopkins. We'd take over the back room and dance. To this day, I get energized by the blues; even if I'm tired, it's like something else is pushing me onto the dance floor."

—Steve Dollar