Saturday, June 2, 2007
The Oxford Sessions
Mississippi Public Broadcasting in conjunction with the University of Mississippi is producing a music series out of Mississippi ala Austin City Limits. The first two sessions were filmed at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts at Ole Miss Thursday and Friday night.
This series is the brainchild of Marty Stuart (rockabilly musician and host of the show) and Chancellor Robert Khayat.
I was lucky enough to attend both nights and I'm very excited to think of having a showcase like this of mostly Mississippi talent.
Thursday night the performers were Marty Stuart and his band, grammy-winning gospel group The Williams Brothers, and Kenny Wayne Shepard with Hubert Sumlin (lead guitarist of the late Howlin' Wolf, and most admired guitarist of greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton).
Friday night the performers were Marty Stuart and his band, Charlie Musselwhite and The Blind Boys of Alabama.
The audience Thursday night, mostly a mid-twenties and thirties crowd, was a little hard to warm up, which was pretty strange considering the line-up, but the Friday night crowd was not only much larger, but much older. To my surprise, the crowd Friday night was enthusiastic, loud, and having bigtime fun, age not-withstanding.
Major props to Marty Stuart for his deft handling of the audience Friday night, his folksy, down-to-earth attitude and some great music, to the Blind Boys of Alabama for putting on a hell of a show, and to Charlie Musselwhite for a smoking performance and a wildly dark and wonderful new tune, "Black Water", dealing with the New Orleans flood in the aftermath of Katrina.