The first time I came to Mississippi I was 15 years old and it was 1970. My nose was pressed to the window of a converted school bus on a family trip as I took in the landscape and the richness of the culture in the Deep South.
At that time, I didn’t so much hear the music as much as I felt it. Heartfelt and soulful, “it rang in my gut as much as in my ears.” And ever since then I have been unable to shake off the lure and charm, yet sultry mood of Mississippi and the Gulf coast.
The quality of light in the South, the weather and the “tragic and triumphant history of the people” have conspired to create an art form that has shaped the entire world of popular music.
However this musical viewpoint of mine is not just confined to the state, or the river or the delta. It’s also about the greater concept of Americana roots music formed in the headwaters of Muhlenburg County in western Kentucky and flowing through Nashville, Rosedale and all the way to mouth of the river in Louisiana.
I am certainly not the first nor will I be the last creative to fall under the spell of Mississippi. I have been playing guitar for 50 years and I am still curious about where it all started and how I got to where I am and how I am a part of the lineage from the “Cradle of American Music.” Knowing full well, it’s just as much about Twain and Faulkner as it is Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, I believe there must be something in the water.