SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Blues legend B.B. King passed away overnight Thursday. A South Mississippi music teacher said as we mourn his loss, it's important to make sure his music continues to inspire generations of musicians to come.
Michael Myhres owns Myhres School of Music in Biloxi. Myhres said he feels it's important to incorporate the blues music into his lesson plan.
After decades of teaching music, Myhres said his words of wisdom for anyone starting out on guitar is to first get to know and appreciate the Blues.
"Kids nowadays, I always tell them to get a good grasp on the Blues," said Myhres. "It's the one thing B.B. King was talking about. It's simplicity. A lot of kids now days, they want to play five thousand notes a minute. You take that one note and just make it sing. Feeling. You can't teach someone feeling."
Myhres said King is the most genuinely kind celebrity he's ever met. Once, backstage after a show, Myhres and his wife, who also teaches music, asked the Blues legend if they could see his calluses. King eagerly showed them his hands.
"He goes, 'Mr. Guitar Teacher, let me see your calluses,'" said Myhres. "I'm sitting here freaking out. He's feeling my fingers. He said, 'I can tell you're a great guitar teacher by where your calluses are. That shows me that you're a great guitar teacher. You have proper form, and you teach them kids right.'"
Myhres said he was deeply touched by King's kind words.
"When you hear something like that, you can't put a price tag on that," Myhres said.
Myhres said he cherishes a pick King gave him that night.
"Everybody knew he was sick and stuff, but the fact that's he's actually gone, he's going to be missed," he said.
As news spread about the passing of B.B. King, some South Mississippians said they were grateful for the privilege of having seen the Blues legend perform live in concert.
Cassidy Owens was one of those fortunate ones.
"It's an important musician for Mississippi, and it's important to our culture," Owens said.
Fans said King helped lay the foundation for American music. Jefferson Rogers plays in Blues band.
"B.B. laid down the grooves that every guitar player in Rock and Roll has taken forward, and so everybody was touched by B.B.'s music," said Rogers.
Murky Waters is a restaurant in Ocean Springs with a Blues music theme. The only radio station customers will ever hear is B.B. King's Bluesville on XM Radio. The restaurant has a special item called the BBQ King Burger on the menu, named in King's honor.
"You can pretty much say that America's music came from the Mississippi Delta. One could argue that. So, especially B.B. King being 90 years old, he was part of that first to second generation that came out and started making Rock and Roll happen and making Rock-a-billy happen," said General Manager Caleb Story.
What many loved most is how listening to his songs could turn a bad day into a good day.
"It's more like it lifts me up rather than gives me the blues," said Story. "It lets me know that someone else has had the blues and been sad. So, you might as well look up and enjoy life."
"B.B. always brings you up," Rogers said. "You listen to him, and you think he's making life worth living regardless of what comes your way."