Mississippi Deep Blues Fest 2015

What to say? Literally blown away by the place, just left it and already planning a trip back next year this time as a tourist but we'll hopefully organise our first proper US tour also.  

We played Juniors Juke Joint 2 in Holly Springs on the first night, fresh off the plane in Memphis and a drive to Holly Springs for that and what an honour it was for a couple of lads from Ireland to be invited to do that was immense and we felt priviliged to say the least.  By the time we arrived most people where pretty hammered but we played short set and loved it, got to say hello to a few heads we knew and headed to our hotel for a jet laggy sleep.  The next night we got to watch the Hootenhallers and our friends Left Lane Crusier at the Juke Joint Chapel at Hobson plantations Juke Joint Chapel, they were typically awesome and one of the best bands on any circuit. Friday saw us watch another musician we're proud to call friend Scott H Birim play a killer early set, that night saw us then play at the same venue with the awesome Henrys Funeral Shoe a duo like us and rocking it.  Our gig was an emotional one, we played a song we don't often play out, Just The Right Distance From The Sun, and due to the subject of the song Andy struggled to get through it without crying, tough, but we managed it. 

One of the big highlights of our job is meeting new people, new musicians with heir own stories and boy o boy did we meet some characters.  Dale Beavers, a musician of talent and stories, we got to hang with him and drink beers and tequila till the wee small hours on the porch of our shack, yes  shack. It was a lot of  fun and we became buddies with Dale and have promised to stay in touch, we hope to get him across the pond at some point. 

Another guy we got to meet was Rueben Glaser, we met him in Germany during the summer where he played a set at Deep Blues Europe with Johnny Walker of Soledad Brothers fame, it wasn't until we sat down with a beer in Mississippi that we realised he used to play in a band called "Pearlene".  We saw them play in Belfast years ago and they were awesome, very fucking cool in fact and one of the bands we can say that played a part in us ending up in a punk blues band.  He told us loads of great stories and we let him know how important he was in the history of us, maybe some day a complete stranger will be influenced or inspired to do it by us and we can tell Rueben that the lineage contnues.  

We visited Robert Johnsons crossroads in Clarkesdale.  Robert is one of our heroes to just be on the same roads he tramped was spine tingling, the thought that he lived on, walked on, played on the same streets was mind blowing.   

Next on the list was a trip up to Tupelo to play The Black Sheep Revival.  Unless we've visited a place at least once before we are playing to a brand new unknowing audience with maybe a handful of believers, not in fucking Tupelo, these beautiful fuckers have been listening to us for years.  When we arrived it became clear early on these guys are fans, know every word of every song and were foaming at the mouth to hear it live.  Check out the video and you'll see what we mean.  We drank moonshine out the trunk of car in the parking lot of Tupelo bar, its was delicious by the way, not the battery acid we were expecting.  These guys and girls were fun, wild, happy and friendly and we really cannot wait to get back to spend more time with them.   

Next up was a trip up to Saltillo to get a couple of tattoos but not before visiting "THE BIRTHPLACE".  A dozen people in Tupelo the previous night asked us if we had visited "The Birthplace" yet?, not Elvis' Birthplace just The Birthplace.  Elvis means so much to the town that they don;t even need to speak his name.  We got up there on the Sunday with David and Brandy Wilson (more about them next)  and it was beautiful, the legend is remembered there in bronze and the actual house he lived in as a child was lovingly maintained.  We highly recommend a trip out to it if you can, we loved it. 

David Wilson and Brandy are the owners of Iron Clad Tattoo in Saltillo, real southerners with the charm and hospitality that goes with the title.  David was raised in Greenwood, twenty miles from Clarkesdale and spent his youth tramping around the states before settling in Saltillo with Brandy to raise his family.  Saltillo is a sleepy little hamlet just outside Tupelo and not the sort of place you would expect to find a world class facility like The Iron Clad Tattoo but there it is, bold as one of the ships that it get its name from on the high street.  It was David and Brandy who brought us to Tupelo and they offered a couple of tattoos to sweeten the deal.  Chris being the uncarved block that he is and probably the last untattooed man in Belfast, which is cool too right?so he passed.  Janie, Andys better half, and Andy took them up on the offer and got a couple of stunning pieces.  

Sunday saw us head back to Clarkesdale for the last day of the Deep Blues Fest to catch headliner Tav Falco and Panther Burns and say adieu to all the folks we met. Tav was awesome and it was a privilge to catch the set of an originator and legend.  

We got to visit the Blues museum in Clarkesdale, see a dozen bands, met old friends and make new ones all under the Mississippi sun, all of which now seems like a dream.  The place names are familar in songs and film and the people are genuinely hospitable and friendly.  We loved it. 

Chris and the Deep blues Fest have played such a huge part in our band over this past year and half since we were first invited to play in Munich last year by Christian Steidhal.  We can point to that gig and say things started changing for us, so much so since then we've played in the USA and we've got a new record label to put our new album out (more on that later).  This is the last DBF, for now only we hope, and we have to say thank you so much to Chris Johnson and his family for their investment in the DBF over the years, we are genuinely grateful and can never repay them for their invite.  We hope we didn't dissappoint.  We are all men of the DBF now and will share that forever thanks to them. 

So to Christian and Mark, Rick Saunders, Dale, Reuben, David and Brandy WIlson, Seth, Spanky,Tenille and all the guys and gals in Tupelo, Left Lane Crusier, Scott Biram, Henrys Funeral Shoe and all the bands that played, we say adieu.  (hope we didn;t forget anyone) 



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