Finally  Podcast

 

  

Back about 14 months ago, on the day Peyton Manning played his last football game before retiring to the advertising business, we wrapped up the recording session for our second record, Shine. It was a whirlwind session in which we laid down eight tracks in five hours, in part just to see if we could do it, but mostly because we had the studio for only one weekend and had to get it done.   

So we found ourselves hunkered down all day Saturday, eight people recording at the same time, in four separate rooms, without a click track in our headphones to help us keep time. It was loose and organic, though nerve-wracking, as we had never attempted live recording, but it came together. Sunday we added keyboards, background vocals, and overdubs, and we left the studio elated. We're almost completely finished with this record!  

So we thought.  

In the intervening months, we mixed, moved the master tracks elsewhere for more mixing; did promo pictures and videos; send the whole thing to California to be mastered by a top-shelf company, one that has worked with some of the biggest names in music; scrapped the artwork; had the final product pressed; played gigs to earn more money to put into it; pulled our hair out, occasionally; finally found artwork; located the artist who took the cover photo we wanted to use and arranged permission, lo and behold, it's here.  

It was a learning experience, for sure; everything was new to us. So, it's our new old record. Old because it has an old sound to it. We recorded on fine old equipment and instruments: a National Steel resonator guitar, '53 Les Paul, Vox and Gibson amps, an old Hammond B-3 organ with a full Leslie cabinet, just to name a few pieces. The songs are classic and rootsy in their composition, the perfect collection of songs for the vintage equipment to which we were privy.  

And that's the new part, too: the songs. Our first record was basically a mix of blues and Americana country, with a little soul sprinkled in. This is rock & roll, just good ol', straight-up, put-the-needle-on-the-record rock & roll. Accordingly, we did a limited pressing of vinyl, probably the most exciting thing we've ever done. To see the artwork on this jacket, hold the vinyl in our hands, place the record on the turntable, set the needle, and hear our work emanating from the speakers is an unmatched musical thrill.  

Of course, this isn't the '70's, so each record comes with a download card, so you can take it with you and bluetooth it into your car stereo. Not retro, but very cool.  

And it's coming out this Saturday, April 22nd. National Record Store Day. Also the day we play our favorite gig of the year, the world-famous Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, which was the first gig we ever did as Mississippi Stomp.  

Talk about coming full circle.  

So, this Record Store Day, download, order, or come to Clarksdale and buy, straight from us, our new old record, Shine. We're very proud of it, and we hope you enjoy it. 

 

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  1. Train Song

East Meets West (Mississippi, That Is)   Podcast

 

EAST MEETS WEST (MISSISSIPPI, THAT IS)

The Fairpark District in Tupelo, Mississippi, is unique.  Situated just east of downtown, across the railroad track, the former fairground where Elvis set the crowd on fire in ’56 now teems with shops, offices, restaurants, a hotel, arena, conference center and, for good measure, a splash pad and statues of two area luminaries: Chief Piomingo (the Chickasaw chief who served under General George Washington and later signed the 1786 Treaty of Hopewell, laying the groundwork for peace between settlers and his tribe) and Chief Elvis, in a pose from the famous concert on the grounds.  About 20 years ago, Tupelo invested $20 million-plus to rejuvenate and extend the downtown area, creating this shiny new part of town.  For the project centerpiece, reflecting Tupelo's collective, pervasive belief in the strength of community, a brand-new city hall was built, and out in front of it, a concert area. 

They use it, too: the Tupelo Elvis Festival, named a top 3 Southern Event last year by USA Today, is held there, as are the Tupelo BBQ Duel (a USA Today finalist this year for top BBQ competition); a summertime Thursday night concert series; and Noleput, a New-Orleans-themed festival that was kind enough to include us among its offerings this year. 

The gig was splendid: nice big stage, the smell of jambalaya in the air, and, for the second gig in a row, a guy dancing his hind end off, right in front of the stage, for the entire show.  Other people were dancing, too, a sight we always love to see.  People just don't dance enough.   
The next day we crossed the state, east to west, to a festival venerated by many, and rightfully so.  The Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale (you know, home of the mythical crossroads and, many argue, the blues in general) is an international blues festival that draws blues lovers from around the world to hear over 100 different acts, many of them on small, makeshift storefront stages on the sidewalk downtown.  One has not fully lived having not experienced walking through the streets of Clarksdale, absorbing the blues from every angle, every few feet: here a blues trio; here a large family band; here an old, gray bluesman, harmonica rack ‘round his neck, old dog at his feet. The whole scene defies description, and one will not be attempted here; rather, a simple expression of our gratitude for being included in this most perfect of music events will be offered, though it, too, falls short of the mark.  There are not adequate words to express how much we love it and how much we love playing at it. 

Play at it we did, and did in fact love it, and then headed to Abe’s BBQ, a bucket list experience in its own right.  And playing outside, under a tent, was a sincere old bluesman, picking and moaning, announcing to the crowd that he was from…Tupelo.   

Many thanks to the folks at both festivals.  We had a blast, and look forward to returning.

Signing off....Til next time...Keep the Stomp On! 

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  1. Got My Number

Double Header in Meridian  Podcast

Double Header in Meridian 

In 1929, just before the American economy collapsed into ruin, the Threefoot family in Meridian, Mississippi, built a grand 16-story building in that historic city.  The family's successful grocery operation faltered in the face of the Depression, but the Threefoot building still stands in Meridian, a monument to the family's contributions to their community, going all the way back to the mid-1800s. 

Every spring, homage is paid to this majestic structure by way of the Threefoot Arts Festival, which your humble Mississippi rock band was fortunate to be a part of recently.  The crowd, as we have come to expect in Meridian, was exceptional, especially given the threat of rain and the gale-force wind that almost blew away the tent behind us as we played.  We appreciate everyone hanging on their hats and staying with us. 

The main event for the evening was our second gig of the day: a return to the Brickhaus Brewtique, a premire nightspot featuring over 60 craft brews on tap, a large outdoor courtyard, and, on this night, a guy shakin' it, all night long, from the first note til about halfway through the last set, right in front of the stage.  It was impressive.  We took note of this gentleman's moves and assumed that, as is usually the case with such footlooseness, that excessive libation was involved.  "No," said his wife, whom one of us spoke with between sets. "He just loves to dance.  When we get the kids put to bed at night and the chores done, we move the kitchen table out of the way and dance.  That's just what we do."

Signing off...Til next time...Keep the Stomp On! 

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  1. Pub Blues

Hog Heaven 

HOG HEAVEN 

 

In the lexicon of the food of the South, a region that prides itself in its vittles, there is nothing more emblematic than BBQ.  Not barbecue, spelled out; that would be too formal.  BBQ, the stuff of stained-brick diners and backwoods cafes, shabby tin buildings and shacks, food trucks and trailers with smokers strapped atop.  BBQ is legion in our parts, served for lunch and dinner and breakfast, too (you ain't lived 'til you've devoured a smoked-pork-loin biscuit); doled out at fairs and festivals and the omnipresent BBQ competitions, where smoke wafts high in the air for miles, like a burning building--if a burning building wielded succulent pork. 

This is what we anticipated as we approached downtown Corinth, MS, recently, to perform at the annual Hog Wild BBQ Festival.  What we found instead was smoke emanating not from smokers--due to the pouring rain that had descended upon this Mississippi/Tennessee border town--but from the stage, as local band Home Brew was burning up the stage with searing guitar licks, smooth-yet-smoldering vocals, and an all-around great vibe.  We went on right after them, to a soaked-yet-enthusiastic crowd, then stayed for country up-and-comer William Michael Morgan from Vicksburg, now making waves in Nashville.  We continue to be fascinated by the copious talent we find in all corners of this most musical state. 

Many thanks to the good folks at Hog Wild for the hospitality they showed us on a rainy night in Corinth.  We heartily recommend this festival to anyone who enjoys great music; we definitely heard our share there

And, yes, the BBQ was delicious.  We recommend it, too.

Signing off Until next time....Keep The Stomp On! 

 

Historic Night  Podcast

AN HISTORIC NIGHT

 

For the second year in a row, our humble band has received a grand honora chance to travel to lovely Hernando, MS, and play the Front Porch Jubilee, a benefit staged by the Friends of the Von Theater to restore that majestic old theater--which, in its heyday, played host to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others--to its former glory.   

This is a heck of an event.  Hernando's history as being, according to frontporchjubilee.ms, "a conduit between hill country music, delta blues music and Beale Street" lends it street cred as a bona fide center of American music history, not unlike other such wellsprings scattered throughout our native state.  A Blues Trail marker on the site of the Jubilee honors jug-band and blues pioneers Gus Cannon, Jim Jackson, and Robert Wilkins, all from Hernando.  The event itself is appropriately reverent and lively.  Scorching performances have been turned in over the last two years by the likes of hill-country-blues masters Kenny Brown, Dwayne Burnside, and Gary Burnside; master songstress Garrison Starr; Rev. John Wilkins (who blew everyone's minds this year with his electric performance)Albert King, Jr.; and a host of others.  Jerry Lee Lewis made an appearance last year, to be honored on his birthday.  We felt honored, as well, just to be a part of it all. 

The setting for this event is like none other we have taken part in: a stage set up on the front porch of the old Clifton Cotton Gin, a distinguished old building in its own right, situated right on Hernando's historic town square.  With the smell of barbecue and various other fair-like foodstuffs wafting through the air, lively conversation in the musician's tent (especially around the complimentary-beverage coolers) centered on stories about Mary's Cafe, musical legends from the area, the town's rich history, and of course tales of The Von Theatre. The Front Porch Jubilee brings an always-enthusiastic crowd, a festival favorite not to be missed.  We hope to be invited back next year, and we hope that any music fan within driving distance will come be a part of it.  We promise you won't be sorry.

Signing off.. Until next time...Stomp On
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  1. Hill Country

Keeping It Real In Meridian   Podcast




KEEPING IT REAL IN MERIDIAN
 
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
 

 It’s been an interesting two years.
 
For those of you who don’t know us, we are an eight-piece Mississippi rock band.  Five of us played together as a cover band, in one form or another, for over 20 years.  The other three members are, by blood or by friendship, family.
 
Four years ago, on the 4th of July, our drummer Kenny’s brother, Danny, passed away unexpectedly. A brother to all of us, and our de facto manager, Danny inspired us constantly in life—in his passing, even more so.  Danny was full of life, loved life.  His motto, constantly uttered—“Quit talking about it; do it!”—amused us always; after he passed, we decided, finally, that he was right.  We stopped talking about how nice it would be to make a record and play our own songs live.  With the help of our friends, Ryan Rogers and the incomparable Jimbo Mathus, we did in fact make that record,Chickasaw Lodge, and stopped booking cover gigs.  We changed our name from Dirty Side Down (don’t ask) to Mississippi Stomp, a fitting moniker, we reckoned, from all the genres of musical influences of our native stomping grounds. 
 
When we finished the record, we set about trying to find somewhere, anywhere, to play our original songs. Fearing we would find nowhere to play, we found quite the opposite: a musical landscape far removed from that of our cover-band heyday, when opportunities even to slip an original song into a set were scarce. 
(Actual exchange between our bass player, Charlie, and a local musician, about 15 years ago:
            CHARLIE: I really want to play more originals at our gigs.
            LOCAL MUSICIAN: Nah!  Nobody ever gets anywhere playing originals.)
To our surprise, we found clubs and festivals more than willing to hear originals, supportive club owners and staff, enthusiastic and encouraging patrons.  No longer content to get hammered and hear Brown-Eyed Girl yet again, the music fans we have since encountered all over our state are connected to the musical lineage of their town, wherever that town might be located: the blues-and-sun-soaked Delta, straw-hat Hill Country, chilled-out Coast.  The music lovers we now meet really do love music—not just the way it makes them feel after a few brews, but music itself.  More than anything, we have found, they crave authenticity.  They want something that’s real.
 
Which leads us to our most recent show, and our maiden voyage to yet another small-Mississippi-town-that-spawned-a-timeless-musical-icon (or two)—Meridian, home of Peavey Electronics, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Brickhaus Brewtique.
 
Situated on the edge of Meridian’s distinguished downtown, The Brickhaus is a solid nightspot. During the day, though, when we arrived, it was a solid inferno: 98-degree temperature, heat index of at least twice that, air so thick you could see it move.  The Brickhaus sports both an inside and an outside stage; we strongly favored the indoor, air-conditioned option, but, alas, it was too small for our oversized member count.  Plus, we were told that we would attract a bigger crowd outside, even in the heat.  So, we set about setting up our Western-Swing-size band on a small stage outside, sweating and panting and chugging water.  And out there with us, the entire time, was the general manager, Alan, to make sure we had everything we needed.
 
That’s the sort of place we have found to play these days—places with a wonderful spirit, and we’ve found plenty of them, all over our musical state (and one in the Arkansas Delta, a tuneful place in its own right).  And it’s what we found on this steamy July night in Meridian.  Beyond the many charms of this modern-day Mississippi nightspot—the rustic old building in a quaint-yet-vibrant downtown; the 60-plus craft brews on tap; the huge, fetching grass courtyard where we played—we found a staff that was kind; a club owner, Bill, who is enthusiastic about his operation, his town, and good music; a GM willing to stand outside in the broiling heat to make sure the band has what it needs.  We found, in short, good people.
 
As we reached the end of our set, rejoicing in the brisk 81-degree temperature at 1:30 in the morning, we asked Bill about the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center, a state-of-the-art, interactive museum slated for a 2017 opening in Meridian.  It is to be a brick-and-mortar tribute to the railroad workers, truck drivers, postmasters, farm laborers, and other everyday folks who became Fathers of Country Music, Kings of Rock-n-Roll, Nobel Laureates, Patriarchs of American Music, etc.—a shrine to the extraordinary achievement of ordinary people; a temple of what is and has always been best about our much-maligned state.  “Where will it be located?” we asked.
 
He simply pointed across the street, to an empty lot announcing the museum’s future location. “Getting ready to break ground,” he said.
 
Talk about a city block doing something right.  We can’t wait to come back. 
 
Many thanks to Bill, Alan, and all the wonderful Brickhaus folks.  Y’all are the best! 

Signing off Til next time...Stomp On!
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  1. Pub Blues

Coming Home  Podcast

COMING HOME
A recent Saturday evening found us in one of the premier music-spawning grounds of Mississippi, and therefore the world; fertile soil from which the likes of Paul Thorn and Elvis you-know-who have sprung; the place where tourists go to the local hardware store just to see the flat-top guitars: the great city of Tupelo, Mississippi.

The eight members of our band are scattered all over north and central Mississippi and northwest Alabama, but Tupelo is a sort of lodestar for 
us--each of us has personal or family roots there; half of us still live in the area.  A good many of the countless watering holes in which we've played over the last twenty-plus years have been in this town, and we've enjoyed every one, and none more so than our latest host establishment: IDK.  

A converted Indian restaurant, IDK is a cool room to play: big stage, nice staff, good sound equipment, and a sound guy who knows how to make it sound right, Stu.  Many thanks to him and the rest of the IDK Crew.  We always enjoy being there, and look forward to doing so again.

As always, though, the highlight of any visit to T-town is the chance to see our friends, who have come out for so many years to hear and encourage us.  Y'all know who you are and we love you all; we appreciate your support, your encouragement, and, most of all, your friendship.
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  1. Pub Blues

Underground Magic 

Underground Magic

 

So, we're driving through downtown Jackson, MS, on a recent Saturday evening, to the club where we will play, Underground 119. Robert, our resident Jacksonian, has played there before, and has assured us it is as nice a place as we will play, anywhere. We are ready. We have just left Robert's house, where we enjoyed a short rehearsal, a long game of HORSE on a 6-foot kiddie goal--won by Kenny with a Jabbarrian sky hook-- and a clothes change, and we are feverish with excitement to play at a place where folks dress up in suits and dresses just to hear music.

 

We pull into the back parking lot, and right off we like this place. The back door, where we will unload our equipment, is mere feet from the stage area. We walk in and are awed. Leather chairs and sofas compose a posh lounge area in front of the stage. A large mural backdrops a pub-table seating area off to the side. Framed black-and-whites of blues masters line a wall behind a row of dining tables. Art looms everywhere, on practically every remaining wall--funky headshots of blues greats; barroom scenes; an old-time scene of a guy at a table with his best girl, slipping his phone number to a mistress at the next table. And then, hanging on the wall right behind where we will be playing, is a whimsical print that stops us cold.

 

We have been told upon our arrival that the club's owner is up in Indianola, at the tribute to BB King that is taking place following the great man's burial. About to listen to Stevie Wonder, or some such thing. As we are told this, we spy the picture behind the stage. It is a large painting of King himself, eyes closed, clutching Lucille, coaxing from her, one can imagine, a sweet, sweet note. For the entire night, we will be playing with the King watching over us.

 

Much has been said, in the two preceding weeks since his passing at age 89, of the immeasurable influence this big man with the bigger voice and the biggest soul has had on the world of music. The world owes this man, and as we begin to play and the club fills to capacity with an enthusiastic suit-and-dress crowd we are humbled. We couldn't shine BB King's shoes, musically speaking—who could?--but here we are, playing and, like much of the world on this night, honoring him. We are grateful.

 

Many thanks to Dowden, Frank, Albert the bass-thumpin' cook, John the skin-slappin' sound man, Matt for booking us, and all the wonderful staff at 119. Everyone treated us like royalty, and we appreciate it.

 

Long live the King.


~Signing off, til next time...Stomp On!

Blind Railroad Man, O Brother Where Art Thou? 


"You will see a cow...on the roof of a cotton house..."   - Blind Railroad Man, O Brother Where Art Thou?

The Stomp has played some unique places in the months we have been out and about, playing songs from our record Chickasaw Lodge to anyone who will listen.  One of the most interesting is the venerated venue we visited last weekend, The Shed BBQ in beautiful Ocean Springs, MS.

Situated next to an RV Campground, The Shed is, quite literally, a long shed broken up into different rooms, extending from the entrance of the property all the way down to a bayou.  In between, one finds a rustic old wooden stage, endless rows of picnic tables and seating areas, and an incredibly friendly staff serving up world-class BBQ--we had the privilege of announcing that, earlier in the day, The Shed was named Grand Champion of The Memphis in May World Barbecue Cooking Contest.  (To the uninitiated, this is a BIG deal; Memphis in May is the world's premiere BBQ contest.)  All throughout the restaurant, both inside and out, are endless, tastefully-placed junk items: nick-knacks, broken musical instruments, ubiquitous signs and license plates, and, yes, a cow on the roof.

Most important to us, the folks were good to us, the crowd was stellar, and we enjoyed the heck out of playing there.  We are grateful to The Shed for having us, the staff for taking such good care of us, and, last-but-not-least, Flint, the sound guy for making us sound good.  We consider ourselves newly converted Shedheds,  and we hope to return soon.

~Signing off, til next time...Stomp on!