Big Papa Stampley, Street Performer, Louisville, KY

Big Papa Stampley

One of the things I love most about traveling is connecting with people along the way.

As I walked past this gentleman playing the blues on the streets in Louisville, I was drawn in by the heart he put into his music.

He LOVES it.

He sways to the beat, smiles, with eyes closed while singing and strumming.
He goes somewhere.
He’s flowing with the frequency of full artistic expression through his heart.
He is one with the music.

As the song ended, I asked if I could take his photo. 

He so kindly said yes and asked if he could use my phone in return – his battery was dead.


Phone or photo first?
Photo, he said. And began to play.

I snapped a few shots, enjoyed the moment, and then handed him my phone.

He made his call, said thank you, and struck up a conversation.

A rich conversation about so many things: he told me about his career as a musician and how the 2020 lock-down took a toll on him, his livelihood, and how he worked through it.

We talked about current events – in a similar mindset. We didn’t 100% agree on a few things, and enjoyed the back and forth cadence of learning from each other.

Shared knowledge.
A new perceptive.
A deeper sense of curiosity.

Time flew by. 

I could have talked to him for hours, but he needed to get back to work.

We wished each other well, and I walked on. My heart is full and forever grateful for that beautiful interaction.

Thank you @bigpoppastampley for your time, for an engaging conversation, and for sharing your talent with the world.

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