Rodney Block Rocks the Block


Phoebe Darley

The Rodney Block Collective brought the Jane Ross Plaza in Arkadelphia’s downtown to life on Thursday, June 3 with the blues, jazz, hip-hop and other musical stylings.

An Arkadelphia summer Thursday night is typically quiet since all of the college students have gone home. But last Thursday, June 3, the energy in Downtown Arkadelphia was an exception to the rule.

The afternoon was warm and humid in typical Arkansas summer fashion, yet that didn’t stop a small crowd from forming in the shade of the Jane Ross Plaza.

The gathering was there, at 3 p.m., on the corner of Seventh and Main, between the Beehive and The Groupliving Center. Downtown erupted in song as Downtown Arkadelphia hosted The Rodney Block Collective led by Rodney Block, a trumpet player, and singer from Dumas, Arkansas. The Rodney Block Collective is a quartet of rotating musicians who play various musical genres such as blues, jazz, and hip-hop. On their June 3rd appearance, the group featured vocalist Bijoux Pighee who provided both a musical flare and a stylistic one.

The crowd started small, but soon the music drew a crowd that lined the streets. People who were coming out of the downtown shops, or just were intrigued while driving through the town stopped and listened. For the next hour, The Rodney Block Collective played an eclectic mix of songs starting with 24K Magic by Bruno Mars, followed by What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. They even had the crowd sing happy birthday to an Arkadelphia resident who chose to celebrate their birthday at the show.

The show progressed, a brilliant sunset backlit the band and the crowd moved out from the shade, filling the blocked-off street. After their short break, Block and company continued with Amazing Grace and then closed the show with a second-line version of the Saints Go Marching In to get the crowd involved.

As Block played his trumpet and led the crowd marching through the street in true New Orleans fashion, Bijoux Pighee added her soulful vocals. After the second line, Block and Pighee encouraged the crowd to keep dancing, which resulted in one big Electric Slide. The band then closed the show with Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, which seemed fitting after all we have survived over the past 18 months.