Keeping the Blues Lamp Trimmed & Burning

The story of 83-year-old Mississippi bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch, who released his first album this spring after a lifetime of logging and farming


Crew & Credits

Director, Cinematographer, & Editor: Brent Foster

Audio, Color, &  Additional Cinematography: Nick Brokalakis

Original music by: Leo "Bud" Welch

Run Time: 5:32 min.


Filmmaker Brent Foster grew up in Canada. In his hometown, he knew a man named Frank who used to open his garage and sharpen the kids’ ice skates for free.

“He wouldn't accept a dime,” Foster says. “He was an icon in the place where I grew up, and I always wanted to tell his story while he was still here. Regretfully, I let time pass, and Frank passed away before I had the chance to tell his story.”

That missing story inspired Foster to create While I’m Here: The Legacy Project, a series of videos that, in his words, “profile living legacies while they're still doing what they do best.”

Those of us who live in the South are fortunate Foster chose, for his second subject, an 83-year-old Mississippi Hill Country bluesman named Leo “Bud” Welch.

Welch spent most of his life, which began in 1932, playing guitar in the church and at family gatherings. He made a living logging and farming. But finally, he decided it was time to make a blues album. He told his preacher of his decision, and the preacher replied, “I don’t prefer no blues,” thus unwittingly providing the title for his parishioner’s album. "I Don't Prefer No Blues” came out on March 23.

You would do well to spend five minutes with Foster’s movie about Mr. Welch, who is living proof there ain’t ever a need to give up on your dreams. Welch also wants to pass his music to a new generation, so he takes his blues to schools these days, too. To support Welch’s efforts to put the blues in schools, you can contribute to a campaign here.