I've been invited to play the Mississippi Songwriters Festival this year in Ocean Springs, MS this weekend. I went last year just to listen, but it turned into a two day songwriting lesson. I'm so honored to be asked to be a part of it this year. I'll be playing hour long songwriter rounds at Tom's Extreme Pizzaria this Friday at 8:00 PM and Saturday at 7:00 Pm, if you happen to be on the Gulf Coast.
Great Show Coming Up
We're real proud of this one, folks! I'm honored to be opening a Mississippi songwriters night at The Link Centre in Tupelo, MS on Saturday, August 18, that features Clint Jordan and Mississippi Chris Sharp as the headliner. More later...
We have some great shows coming up! The Drifting Grifters are Playing at the benefit for Harvest Angels at the Oxford Community Market on June 26, with Jared Spears also on the bill. The next day I'll be part of the 7 Days For The Troops And Purple Heart Homes benefit in Tupelo, sponsored by Michaela Compton and the great people at Local Licks Songwriter Sessions. Other highlights include the Grifters at the Biscuits and Jam Market in New Albany on July 5 and a solo set as part of Bryan Hayes' Songwriter Night at the Pizza Grocery in Corinth, MS. I will also be part of the Local Licks Songwriter Sessions writers night at the Blue Canoe in Tupelo on July 12. More to follow!
I just finished a great twelve show run of Zombie Prom, the Ole Miss Theater Department's Spring musical. It was a great show and the cast knocked it out of the park! This has been the third production that I've played in the band with. I'm doing some cool songwriter nights that are worth seeing. One is in Corinth on March 2 and the other is in Memphis on March 30. Check the show list for times and locations. On March 8, I get to open a small intimate show with two of my favorite bands, The Tony Manard Band and The Blackwater Trio. If you haven't seen them, you must. Simply phenomenal. I'm quite honored to have been asked.
Here is the page with the right link for entering the Small Hall Songwriters Contest and Showcase. https://www.oxfordarts.com/24-slider/335-fall-2017-small-hall-concert-series. The deadline is this Tuesday, December 5, 2017. There is $1000 in prize money, and the winner gets to play a set on MPB's Thacker Mountain Radio Show. The recording quality is NOT judged, so even a phone recording is fine, as long as it is easily understood. Thanks!
The Square Rounders inaugural show at Small Hall last night was phenomenal! A great turnout, and the crowd was all in for the entire show. We saw some good friends and a bunch of folks we just met. Good chemistry, great energy. Feet were stomped and heads were bobbed. We'll have to do it again soon! The Square Rounders is J.T. Lack on banjo and dobro, James Daigle on upright bass, Andrew Gardner on fiddle, me on guitar, and everybody sings at one point or another. We are so appreciative of the enthusiastic crowd, which made the show such a wonderful experience for us!
I'm very excited to be opening for Slaid Cleaves next Friday at the Old School Theater in Water Valley next Friday. This will be an awesome show. Slaide is one of the songwriters that other songwriters listen to. Rolling Stone magazine keeps its eyes on him and sometimes plugs him. Here's an example: http://www.rollingstone.com/.../hear-slaid-cleaves-sharp... Here's a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/127314651361341
Yesterday was the second annual memorial to Jesse Lipe, who passed away way, way too young. It was a musical celebrations of his life, with Rooster's crammed with musicians, with bands, makeshift groups and jam sessions all going on for five hours. It was a celebration of Jesse, of music and of unity. There was some blistering hot funk jazz, some completely bad ass rock and roll, ending with a stage full of people playing Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here fading into Comfortably Numb. It turned into a sort of wild, pagan prayer, with the whole place near the stage, yelling out the lyrics in harmony. The spirit was definitely up in that place. Some great players, who I've heard rip out some amazing riffs in the past, played astonishing, almost transcendental solos, pulling tears and crazy laughter out of people at the same time. It was that way all night. I went home exhausted and full of electricity. Even though it ended at 9:00 PM, I couldn't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.
I didn't really know Jesse, although I'd had the honor of sharing a stage a few times with his mom and dad, Amy and Casey (both unbelievably talented musicians in their own right). I'd seen Jesse play a couple of times but had never met him. When I was making my record, I cut a few tracks at Tweed Studios with Andrew Ratcliff. I wanted to put together a great pickup band, get us all in a room without rehearsal and record it live. I got Zechariah Tillotson, one of my favorite drummers, and asked him who he'd like to play bass, (Thanks for that tip, Bud Bays!) and without hesitation he named Jesse. We got together at the studio on a Saturday. Zak was on drums in a booth where he could see us, and the rest of us literally stood around in a circle and recorded three tracks live, mostly acoustic. Some amazing things happened in that room. There were some great performances, but they were all sort of what I imagined in my head going in, if only a lot better. Except for Jesse. He did unexpected things. The song that made it on this album, My Blue Eyes, is a simple two-step with an obvious thumping country bass line. Instead, Jesse played a lot of long notes that faded into quiet, and used some warbley walks that I'd never heard before. It changed the feel of the song. Not in an obvious, noticeable way, but one that pulls you into a flow with the music. It opened up the song in a way I hadn't thought of, and made it more musical. From what I understand. That wasn't unusual for him. He held down the bottom and hit the one, but in unexpected, musical ways. He truly listened and didn't add anything that didn't honor the song. That's not that common a skill.
Sunday was a great night, honoring a kind and gentle man, who also happened to be a kickass bass player.
I'll be on Michaela Compton's great interview/music show, Local Licks, on WZLQ, Z98.5 FM next Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2:00 PM. I'll probably talk too much, but you'll hear the stories behind some of my songs. I'll try to be amusing in between playing all original music. The station has a wide coverage in north Mississippi and south west Tennessee. But if you can't pick it up, you can listen here: http://streamdb3web.securenetsystems.net/v5/WZLQ. Please come join us!
Well, not exactly a frenzy, but over the next couple of weeks I'll be pre-recording an interview on the Local Licks show on Z98.5, and then a segment on TV99. We've been on the cover of the Oxford Eagle a couple of times lately. Must be slow news days... Lisa Harrison and Amy Fisher joined me for a fabulous set at the CD release party as part of the Art-er Limits Fringe Festival last weekend. All-in-all, lots going on. I'll keep you posted on a show we're putting together down in Water Valley soon.