Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Whoa, Mule

Gov't Mule plays the Lyric for what will most likely be the first awesome Rock Show of the new decade on January 27. The last time I remember Mule playing around here, the band was in its nascent stages. Warren Haynes and Allen Woody were still playing in the Allman Brothers and the Mule was their side band. This was 1994. I remember the year because on the night Mule was playing, I was in Memphis watching the Rolling Stones play at the Liberty Bowl, back when they used to have concerts there and all the big stadium tours would come to Memphis. It was the Voodoo Lounge tour. Wikipedia tells me the date was September 27.

The Mule show was a late night show at The Turning Point on the Lafayette-Panola county line. Blues Traveler had played earlier that night at whatever the Library was called back then. Traveling back from Memphis, The Counselor and I spotted the commotion and the crowd on highway 6 and pulled in to see the best Rock Show we saw that night.

Afterwards, we stood in the muddy driveway that led up to the rambling plywood shack called The Turning Point and passed around a bottle of wine and listened to Warren Haynes tell us that he was thinking of making this band a full-time gig.

Here's a shaky video of the Mule doing "Broken Down On The Brazos" from their new album, By A Thread. The video is taken from the same vantage point I'll be watching them from next month:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feast Farmers' Market in Water Valley

Come gather local honey, preserves and pickles, eggs, breads and pies, produce and more in Water Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 24th, from 3-6pm at the WVMSA office (207 N. Main Street right across from where the summer farmers' market is held. There will be a sign in the road!).

Take the opportunity to check out our Main Street and its new coffeeshop, Main Attraction; get a milkshake in the old-fashioned Turnage Drugstore; and if it's after 5, head to White Star Tavern for some pool and beverages.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A hell of a lineup on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. The only trouble will be deciding on who to see. We have "Machine Gun" Kelley and the G-Men at Rooster's and T. Model Ford at Parrish's. Not to mention Cowboy Mouth at the Library. I'm leaning toward "Machine Gun" Kelley tonight, a terrific new band in town fronted by Kelley Norris, and then sliding over to Parrish's to see the old man play some gritty blues. Next week will be slow, so enjoy the Ditch tonight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Claudia Cardinale

Today's Hollywood can keep all the stickly thin, Botoxed women they want. I'll take the real women of 1960s cinema every time. How can you even compare today's actresses with Raquel, Pamela Tiffin, or the great Claudia Cardinale?

Claudia was almost superhuman in her heat and sexuality. If you need more than the photo above, make sure to check her out in Once Upon A Time in the West, 8 1/2, and the super kitchy Don't Make Waves with Tony Curtis.

There's a Claudia Cardinale fest on TCM tonight. I think the three films represent a nice assortment with her in a seminal western, a Fellini film, and then pure camp. Also highly recommended: The Professionals. A terrific gritty Western where I have no doubt men would risk their lives to save her.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rockabilly pianist Smoochy Smith at the Powerhouse Tuesday

On Tuesday from 7 - 9pm the Powerhouse, Oxford's community arts center, will host a "Rockabilly and Liquor" edition of its Troubadour Lounge series featuring Sun Records recording artist Jerry Lee "Smoochy" Smith. Also performing are Oxford's own Jimmy Phillips and Donovan McCain, who is leading the house band. The event, which costs $7, will also include tastings of Jeremiah Ward Sweet Tea Vodka and Catdaddy Moonshine.

Smith, born in 1939, began working with Carl Perkins when he was just 14, and first recorded for Sun a couple years later with Ken Parchman. He also recorded with artists including Ace Cannon, Billy Lee Riley and Warren Smith. In the early '60s he was a member of the Stax group the Mar-Keys, who had the hit "Last Night." In the '80s I remember being impressed by Smith's frantic piano work when he was touring with the Sun Rhythm Section, a group of rockabilly veterans that also included Sonny Burgess, Paul Burlison, Stan Kesler, and J.M. Van Eaton. Here's an article about Smith by Bob Mehr in the Commercial Appeal.

Here's some video of Smith in action.

Smoochy Smith from Southern Folklore on Vimeo.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Hell, yes. What could be better than a kick-ass rock 'n roll show with the Cooters on Halloween night? The boys will be at the Two Stick tomorrow night for what should be a wild show.

If you don't know the Cooters than you haven't been in The Ditch long.

But this is a little explanation from their myspace page:

The highway: you know, that striped concrete abomination between roadkill and chugged beer bottles, leading from the middle of nowhere to everywhere. Well, The Cooters are on it. They're on it more than other bands because they're from Mississippi, where rock and roll begins and ends. They're not from California, not New York City, not even Nashville, but from Mississippi, where you have to drive to make ends meet. These boys are used to drivin' long hours and workin real hard to get their music to the people.

The Cooters run the gamut of rock and roll styles; playing everything from punk to metal, making pit stops at all points in between.

The Colonel Reports to Proud Larry's Tonight

Ok. So it's a crummy, rainy night in the Ditch. But a fantastic show at Larry's. Col. Bruce Hampton and The Quark Alliance arrive in town. Nothing like good music and cold beer to make you feel good.

Col. Bruce Hampton has been making music since he formed his first band in 1963. Col. Bruce has been in constant motion ever since leaving a trail of memorable live performances with his many bands, including The Late Bronze Age and Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit.

Along the way he appeared in the movie "Sling Blade" as the poet and band manager Morris and starred in Mike Gordon's cult classic "Outside Out" as a mystical guitar 'out'structor.

Since 2006, The Colonel has been playing a unique blend of blues and jazz with his band Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance, featuring Kris Dale (bass), Perry Osborn (guitar) and Duane Trucks (drums).

Still rolling down the road, Col. Bruce continues his quest for the tonal center at each exit #6

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009


According to our friend, Cherry, there are two great shows well worth the cash: Hill Country Review at Larry's and Wiley and the Checkmates at the Library. She recommends checking out both shows, maybe get in a solid blues groove at Larry's and then slide over to the Library for some Southern Soul with Mr. Wiley.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Kenny Brown grew up in the hill country of northern Mississippi and knows the region's music well. As a 10 year old, he learned to play guitar from his neighbor Joe Callicott, and has played with Mississippi Blues Masters ever since. Kenny's musical style has been influenced by Jr. Kimbrough, Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill, & Muddy Waters to name a few. He played with R.L. Burnside for 26 years, and over the last few years he has traveled all over the world spreading the North Mississippi Hill Country sound. -- Music starts at 9 p.m. on a rainy Oxford night.

Loup Garou Lives!

In a land far, far, far away, the Loup Garou has reemerged. Thanks to the Tupelo Film Festival gang, we're just one week away from the screening of Micah Ginn's "Night of the Loup Garou", a B-movie styled horror romp filmed primarily in Taylor

Micah Ginn is going to be in attendance to talk about the film. Also, Tupelo Film Commissioner, Pat Rasberry, has agreed to award a prize to whoever shows up in the best costume.

The price for the event, held at the Tupelo Link Centre (1800 W Main) on October 22 at 6:30pm, is only $5 and includes complementary popcorn and soda.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Those Darlins are a pop group, if they are any one thing, which doesn't mean anybody with ears can't hear the country and rock 'n' roll in their sound and stance. Or maybe this trio of young women, who live a long stone's throw from Nashville, Tennessee in the college town of Murfreesboro, are punks straight out of London or Cleveland, 1977.

Informed by Nashville and its intersecting indie, pop, and country scenes—and aware of the twisted tradition of Appalachian roots music that stretches back beyond the Carter Family, Those Darlins are, nevertheless, not of Nashville. They write their own songs, record in New York City with producer Jeff Curtin (whose credits include Vampire Weekend's debut), and talk convincingly about female empowerment, music history, and egalitarian ideals of performance and business. And, in practice, they are rockers. In the backyard of their shared suburban house—which is littered with musical instruments and cast-off whiskey bottles, they stick wires in the spindle holes of old LPs, hang them from the magnolia tree, and shoot them with BB guns. They're good shots.


Friday, October 2, 2009


October 2, 2009: 60th Anniversary Screening of Intruder in the Dust, at the Lyric
7:00 p.m., $35/person (bundles of 10 tickets discounted)

To commemorate the anniversary of Intruder in the Dust, based on the novel by William Faulkner, the Oxford Film Festival is hosting a special screening of the film, on loan from MGM, at the Lyric Theatre, site of the 1949 premiere.

Local filmmaker Joe York’s documentary about the making of the film on location in Oxford will also be a part of the program. (Read more about that film here.) Special guest star Claude Jarman, Jr., Academy Award winner for The Yearling (Best Juvenile Star, 1947), will share his memories of being the teenage star of Intruder in the Dust.

This gala evening will begin with a reception catered by James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence. The menu will include many of the selections from the original cast party in 1949. Following the screenings, musical performances will close the night.

Schedule of Events

7:00-7:30 pm Reception for sponsors and ticket holders, catered by John Currence
7:30pm Premiere of Joe York's documentary about the making of Intruder in the Dust
8:00pm Watch the film, Intruder in the Dust, with Q&A following with Claude Jarman, Jr.
9:45pm Musical performances, TBD

Sponsorship opportunities are still available!

Please contact us at 877-560-FILM for more information.anceled. Apologies for any inconveniences.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Water Valley This Weekend

The last Farmers' Market of the season!

Saturday, October 3rd, 8am-12pm: Farmers' Market Fiesta and Antique Tractor Show
Downtown Water Valley under the Magnolias on Main

-last farmers' market: Brown Family Dairy, dressed quail, local honey, and more!
-potluck party: bring a dish or just yourself!
-antique tractor show: pre-1970 tractors from Yalobusha County

Sponsored by the Water Valley Main Street Association (

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kitty Snacks Kegger #2

Kitty Snacks #2 Release Party!

Tuesday, September 29 at 8 p.m. at Southside Gallery on the Square in Oxford with an afterparty at Ajax Diner right down the street at 10 p.m.

Readings by John Brandon (Arkansas) and Mary Miller (Big World), short films, raffles and booze at Southside Gallery from 8-10 p.m.

Admission: 10 bucks (gets you a limited copy of the magazine, free booze, and a raffle ticket)

The afterparty will start around 10 p.m. at Ajax and will feature Oxford's best country band Cowboy Maloney's Electric City...and it's free.

So come to Southside to get a copy of the magazine, mingle, drink, hear some readings, watch some films, and hang out. Then head down the street to Ajax for some music and more booze.

Kitty Snacks #2 features work by:

Mary Miller
John Brandon
Leni Zumas
Kevin Wilson
Ryan Dilbert
Suzanna Best
Krammer Abrahams
Savannah Louise
Isadora Bay
Ben Segal
Howie Good
Meg Pokrass
Phil Estes
Jimmy Chen
& Hastings Hensel

a comic by Kent Osborne

interviews with filmmakers Ross McElwee,
Matt Wolf, and Matthew Robison

art by Len Clark and Josh Burwell

If you can't make it to the party you can purchase a copy online at or at Square Books.

Shannon McNally news

Shannon McNally interview Sunday September 27th on Mississippi Public Radio at 3 p.m.

newsletter imageShannon will be discussing her new record 'Coldwater' and life in Mississippi with Malcolm White.


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Sam Carr, RIP

photo by Bill Steber

I’m sad to report the death on Monday of veteran Clarksdale area drummer Sam Carr, best known for his work in the Jelly Roll Kings together with Big Jack Johnson and Frank Frost. He had been ill for a long time, and died of congestive heart failure. A biography I wrote of Carr is at the website of the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Drummers and bassists generally don’t get the acclaim received by vocalists and lead guitarists, but in his final decades Sam and his wonderful skills were widely celebrated. In 2007 he was awarded a Mississippi Governor’s Award for the Arts, he was featured on the cover of Living Blues Magazine, he received multiple Living Blues awards and was a multiple nominee for W.C. Handy Awards (now Blues Music Awards), and for the last several years the Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale honored him with “Sam Carr Day” on the Sunday after the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival.

He was also honored on a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in Lula, not far from his longtime home in Dundee, and was in attendance at the unveiling of a marker in honor of his father, blues legend Robert Nighthawk, in Friars Point.

Sam was one of the few drummers who continually captured my attention during performances, and he was by no means flashy, though he did sometimes demonstrate his skills by playing on the wall behind him. In the last couple years Sam generally lacked the energy to play for an entire evening, but he was always impressive when he did come on to the stage. He was scheduled to perform next month at the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival in Helena, where he had played the blues since he was a child. He’ll be greatly missed.


The Davila 666 show tonight is one of the most anticipated of the fall here in The Ditch and should prove to be a wild, noisy, kick-ass night at the Blind Pig. The garage rock band out of Puerto Rico lists their influences from Iggy Pop to Lil Wayne with a little Bob Dylan thrown in. They calls themselves "Menudo on a lot of drugs.'' But if you listen to them play -- plenty of clips on youtube -- they prove to be a lot more interesting to that. Show starts late night on a rainy eve. Plenty of good cold beer on tap and loud music to shake away the gray days this week.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

State Wildlife and Fisheries to Oxford: Check Yourself

Before you wreck, uh, everything, you morons.

So last week, the powers-that-be here in the Ditch decided it would be a fabulous idea to arm a group of 20 self-appointed super hunters to gun down deer within city limits for such egregious offenses as daring to eat plants to sustain themselves. I know the parents in Grand Oaks subdivision were super thrilled that bow hunters would be slinging arrows of death around their children to make the world safe for shrubbery.

Turns out: that is a monumentally stupid idea, even according to the state of Mississippi.

As the Tupelo Daily Journal revealed today,
the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Oh no, they din't."

So, great move, new mayor. Way to ring in your term.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Stop by Square Books on Monday night for a 30th Anniversary party featuring many local authors and plenty of booze. Three decades in the book business is quite a milestone and an even bigger deal with one of the best independents in the nation. Starting at 6, there is a short reading of a poem/story/essay about Square. The reading will be followed by a documentary on the Howorths and the bookstore. The film by Joe York is just terrific and funny and should be the highlight of the evening along with some Four Roses -- the official bourbon of William Faulkner.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Real Southern Movies

The other day I heard that the city of Oxford was trying to lure Hollywood back to the Square with tax breaks and other incentives. It's been some time since they shot Intruder In the Dust -- a real classic -- and with some of those good incentives, we might just see a return of shooting in and around the city.

My only hope is that we don't find filmmakers who want to make films like Time to Kill or Fried Green Tomatoes with that ole cornpone quaint South that only exists in the minds of outsiders. I'm no fan of it in fiction or film.

I long for the great Southern films of the 1970s. Can anyone forget The Bandit racing through Oxford and saying how the girls loved him at Ole Miss?

But Smokey and the Bandit only continued a great tradition of B-movies and television of that period that many have forgotten. Everyone remembers watching Dukes of Hazzard but how many recall Six Pack Annie?

It seems many of my favorites starred the great Burt Reynolds. If you haven't seen Gator or White Lightning you've really missed out.

The films of this period showed the grit and realism of the fading South I remember as a kid. This is a world of muscle cars, beautiful girls in hot pants, and dusty back roads.

Forget the sippin' sweet tea on the porch swing with your momma. I want to hear the sound of big engines rev up on the Square. Where's Burt when you need him?

Top 5 Burt Reynolds Southern Classics (Anyone up to organize a Burt Fest at the Lyric next year? It's about time.)

5. Longest Yard
4. Deliverance
3. Gator
2. White Lightning
1. Smokey and the Bandit

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend roundup

5 Things I am loving about this Velvet Ditch of ours this weekend:

1. Naked lady runs around the Water Valley Farmer's Market
2. The new Rock Star Taxi with themed vans and costumes (A-Team driven by a Mr. T look-alike)
3. Oxford Music Festival highlighted all the best this town has to offer.
4. A new corn dog stand in the smelliest alley in Oxford.
5. Not Oxford - but the Como Blues Trailer marker unveiling and the Otha Turner Fife and Drum Picnic. Take the Blues Trail and discover some great music history in our state.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Otha Turner picnic, marker unveiling this weekend

Otha Turner looks on with pride at his granddaughter Sharde Thomas. Photo by Bill Steber

The Otha Turner fife and drum picnic takes place tonight and tomorrow night, and tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am there'll be the dedication of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in honor of Turner and the African American fife and drum tradition in downtown Como. For more information and directions to the picnic go here.


The 2009 Oxford Music Festival is being hosted by various Oxford Musicians and other local personalities, and is intended to showcase the wide range of musical talent that defines the Oxford music scene.

Many of Oxford's most talented bands are scheduled to play at two venues over the course of THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY. These bands represent many different genres from outlaw country, punk/metal, hill country blues, rock and roll, to bluegrass.

These are the Oxford musicians that make our town so cool and unique! SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!!!


Admission: $30 package for all 3 nights!! @

Thursday (8:00-1:00)- Proud Larry's - $10

Friday (6:00-1:00)- The Lyric Theater- $15

Saturday (5:00-12:00)- The Lyric Theater- $15

There will be food and art vendors and band and festival merchandise will be sold as well, so bring some cash.

This years schedule:

Thursday – August 27, 2009 (Proud Larry’s)
8-8:20 Kelley Norris
8:20-8:40 Moon Pie Curtis
8:40-9 Brad Hayden
9-9:40 Hemptones
9:50-10:30 Live Donkey Show
10:40-11:30 Jay Lang & the Ringers
11:45-12:45 Zoogma

Friday - August 28, 2009 (The Lyric)

6-6:30 Stork & Nick B.
6:30-6:50 Young Buffalo
7-7:30 Shannon McNally
7:30-7:45 St. Andrew
7:45-8:15 Sleepwalkers
8:20-8:50 Avenue Hearts
8:55-9:35 The Cooters
9:40-9:55 Patrick McClary
9:55-10:40 Charlie Mars
10:40-10:55 Afrissippi's Guelel Kumba
10:55-11:40 Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition
11:40-11:55 Tyler Keith
11:55-12:50 Colour Revolt

Saturday - August 29, 2009 (The Lyric)

5-6:00 Stork & Nick B.
6-6:30 Silas Reed
6:35-7:05 Sleeping Bulls
7:10-7:40 Kill the Ego
7:45-8:15 Sanders Bohlke
8:20 -9:05 Balance
9:10-9:55 Rocket 88
10-10:45 Mayhem String Band
10:50-11:50 Kudzu Kings