Eric Deaton performs at the first night of the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic at Betty Davis’ Ponderosa in Waterford, MS, 6/28/13
In addition to all the events going on in Memphis, there also will be a considerable amount of arts and music fun at Oxford’s Double Decker Arts Festival, which begins Friday and continues Saturday. The line-up includes Shannon McNally, The Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans, Lee Fields and the Expressions, the Drive-By Truckers, and Hill country bluesman Eric Deaton. A complete music schedule can be found here: http://www.doubledeckerfestival.com/music.html.
Every year, the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic is closed with an all-star jam of many of the great blues performers that appeared during the two days of the festival. This year’s jam included appearances from Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnisde, Garry Burnside, Eric Deaton and Jimbo Mathus. It was definitely a great way to close out this year’s festival. 6/30/12
The North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic is an annual two-day outdoor concert at which most if not all of the living hill country blues performers appear, as well as many younger artists from the hill country of Mississippi, many of whom play styles of music influenced heavily by the hill country tradition. But unfortunately, not everyone has the time or money to travel to Marshall County, Mississippi in June for the picnic, so it is fortunate that Devil Down Records has issued a North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic Volume 2 sampler, which amounts to an aural record of the 2010 picnic. There is gospel here by artists like Rev. John Wilkins and Duff Dorough. There is music on the thin line between alternative rock and country, such as “Little Hand, Big Gun” by Jimbo Mathus, or “Midnight in Mississippi” by Blue Mountain. There are aggressive, rock-influenced readings of hill country blues by artists such as Eric Deaton, Duwayne Burnside, Hill Country Revue and North Mississippi All Stars, and there are traditional blues performances by Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, T-Model Ford and Robert Belfour. Of course, no recording can perfectly capture the thrill of being present at such a history-making concert, but this sampler satisfies with consistently-good music throughout. A hidden final track is R. L. Burnside telling a joke from many years ago, like a reminder of his spiritual presence giving approval to the picnic, and this recording.
Breakfast with Charlie Braxton and two of his sons at Broad Street Baking Company. Then I drove back to Memphis, but detoured into Water Valley to meet Justin Showah, the owner of Hill Country Records, who had an order of Eric Deaton Trio CDs for me to pick up for Select-O-Hits. The talk in the little grocery store there in Water Valley had been about the weekend death of Memphis music legend Jim Dickinson.