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a u g u s t CONTENTS 2017 • VOLUME 14 • NO. 8

features 48 Last Man Standing Jerry Lee Lewis reflects on life

60 New Spin on Old Favorites Record shops make a comeback

54 Fit for a King 40th anniversary tributes to Elvis

departments 14 Living Well Benefits of Soothing Music

42 On the Road Again Canton, Mississippi

18 Notables Musician Bobby Wood

46 Greater Goods 66 Homegrown Crafting Beer at Mighty Mississippi

22 Exploring Art Guitar Straps and More

70 Southern Gentleman Tie It Up

26 Exploring Books Jimmy Buffett’s Good Life

74 Southern Harmony Next Generation of Blues

30 Into the Wild Casting Lines on the Coast

76 In Good Spirits Cat Island Cruiser

34 Table Talk Marshall Steak House

78 Exploring Events

38 Exploring Destinations Musical Tour Through Athens


80 Reflections Crafting Lyrics



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editor’s note } august Sweet Music

My father was a talented acoustic guitar player, and my mother was an accomplished pianist. Although I took piano lessons as a child, those musical genes skipped me. I loved music, but I was better at listening to it than playing it. From my dad, I inherited a love of bluegrass music while my appreciation for classical music came from my mom. In between, there was a “whole lotta shakin’ going on” as I discovered rock ‘n’ roll. Growing up in Mississippi i t was impossible not to know about the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis, one of our biggest musical icons. It was a very exciting moment for all of us at DeSoto Magazine when The Killer granted an interview to Karen Ott Mayer at his current home in Southaven. His former ranch opened to tourists a few months ago, but we wanted to catch up with Lewis himself. While he has slowed down a little, Lee’s charisma and personality still have that magical spark that Karen eloquently captured in her story. Unbelievably, it’s been 40 years since Elvis Presley left us, but his spirit will live on at celebrations commemorating his life in Memphis and Tupelo this month. Writer Jill Gleeson takes us inside the new Guest House at Graceland and gives us a preview of Elvis Week. If you’ve been listening to Elvis and Jerry Lee music for a long time, chances are you had a few vinyl records. Although phonographic records gave way to CDs and iTunes, record stores are

AUGUST 2017 • Vol. 14 No.8

PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Adam Mitchell PUBLISHER & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Paula Mitchell making a comeback. Music promoter Mark Parsell takes us on a tour of several Southern retailers where music lovers are discovering timeless reminders of a rich cultural past. As we planned this Southern Music issue, we had to make hard choices. The South has a rich musical heritage, and it was impossible to include everything we wanted. We believe we captured something for everyone, though, from our musical legends to our up-and-coming artists. So, turn on your stereo or open up your iTunes and listen to your favorite music while enjoying this month’s issue. Happy reading!

Mary Ann

EDITOR-AT-LARGE Mary Ann DeSantis ASSISTANT EDITOR Andrea Brown Ross CONTRIBUTORS Rebecca Bingham Robin Gallaher Branch Cheré Coen Polly Dean Mary Ann DeSantis J. Eric Eckard Jason Frye Jill Gleeson Alex Jacks Charlene Oldham Karen Ott Mayer Mark Parsell Pam Windsor Kathryn Winter PUBLISHED BY DeSoto Media 2375 Memphis St. Ste 205 Hernando, MS 38632 662.429.4617 ADVERTISING INFO: Paula Mitchell 901-262-9887

on the cover Rock n’ Roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis graces our August cover. Singer-songwriter, musician, and pianist, often known by his nickname, The Killer. He has been described as rock & roll’s first great wild man. Catch up with Jerry Lee at his north Mississippi home on page 48. Cover illustration by Adam Mitchell

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©2017 DeSoto Media Co. DeSoto Magazine must give permission for any material contained herein to be reproduced in any manner. Any advertisements published in DeSoto Magazine do not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s services or products. DeSoto Magazine is published monthly by DeSoto Media Co. Parties i n t e re s t e d i n a d v e r t i s i n g s h o u l d email or call 901-262-9887. Visit us online at

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living well } music therapy

​ ozart Dee, 16, is a singer, songwriter and actress, who grew up globally M as a digital nomad living in 48 countries. She speaks three languages and plays five instruments. Recently, Mozart recorded a TED Talk about how music enhanced her travel and ultimately led to her European tour this summer.

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​Dr. David Hulse, founder of SomaEnergetics and certified vibrational sound master teacher, uses tuning forks matched to ancient tones to facilitate health.

Music for Healing and Pleasure By Rebecca Bingham | Photography courtesy of Rebecca Bingham

“One good thing about music is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Bob Marley For centuries, music has been recognized as a potent source of pleasure and a powerful resource for healing. A landmark study released this summer from Montreal’s McGill University suggests the euphoria experienced while enjoying music is triggered by the same opioid-like brain chemicals that give humans the pleasurable feelings associated with sex and recreational drugs. A c c o r d i n g t o T h e A m e r i c a n M u s i c T h e r a py Association, the 20th century discipline of using music to boost mood and to change behavior emerged following World Wars I and II, when community musicians toured veterans’ hospitals to play for the thousands of patients suffering with physical and emotional trauma. The veterans’ positive responses to music were so significant that doctors and nurses urged hospital administrators to begin hiring musicians as part of structured therapy teams. Subsequent demand for a college curriculum to train hospital musicians prompted Michigan State University

to establish the world’s first music therapy degree program in 1944. Dr. Davis Bingham, my father, is a lifelong professional vocal performer and choral music educator. He and his wife Joan live in a North Carolina continuing care retirement community where the average age is 82. Earlier this year, the couple recruited several dozen residents to perform in a musical show featuring popular songs of the 1940s and 50s. “As the music evoked sweet memories of bygone days, the audience responded with exuberant applause, mixed at times with a few tears,” said Bingham. “What’s more, members of the chorale not only felt a sense of pride and accomplishment for having embraced the discipline of 17 rehearsals leading up to the show, but they also said the challenge to learn something new made them feel more alive.” Emily Gagnon, a Canadian nurse, agrees music is an audible tonic. Inspired by the documentary “Alive Inside,” DeSoto 17

Emily Gagnon founded the Music Memories Project to elevate the mood of Canadian nursing home residents by providing a way for them to listen to their favorite music each day.

Gagnon created a program called Musical Memories to give nursing home residents a way to listen to their favorite tunes each day. “I interviewed patients and their families to customize a playlist, and then uploaded it on listening devices purchased with donations,” she explains. “Providing familiar music to seniors evokes a sense of familiarity, stimulates joyful thoughts and reconnects them to their lifetime of memories. As Georgia Cates said, ‘Music is what feelings sound like.’” Affinity for music apparently begins in the womb. Although the science is limited, studies show at 33 weeks, some babies breathe in sync with music, and some even respond differently to various genres. Other research shows babies exposed to classical music from birth-to-six months have longer attention spans, as well as better motor skills, language development and cognition. Learning to play an instrument seems to have even more profound benefits – like improving a person’s listening and hearing skills over a short time. Dr. Bernhard Ross, senior scientist at Rotman Research Institute, is the senior researcher for a study published in the May 2017 issue of Journal of Neuroscience. In that article, he said, “Learning the fine movement needed to reproduce sound on an instrument changes the brain’s perception of sound in a way that is not seen when only listening to music. This study was the first time we saw direct changes in the brain after only one session, possibly because playing an instrument requires the brain’s hearing, motor and perception systems to work together.” Practitioners like Dr. David Hulse of Columbus, 18 DeSoto

Ohio, bridge the fields of metaphysics and holistic medicine with sound therapy. “SomaEnergetics – a combination of soma, the Greek word for body, with energetics, a reference to the body’s vibrational template – builds on the science that certain frequencies restructure the body’s energy systems to facilitate healing,” Hulse said. “We teach therapists how to use tuning forks matched to ancient Solfeggio tones as a tool to repattern energetic blockages in such a way the body can more freely to return to a natural state of vibrant good health.” Music also provides a pathway to vibrant mental health, especially for patients who are resistant to other treatment approaches. Under the guidance of a credentialed professional, clients with mental health concerns use musical interaction as a way to communicate, develop relationships and address issues without depending on words alone. Music therapy sessions include the use of active music making, music listening and discussion. To demonstrate the power of music to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope for both artists and audiences alike, acclaimed cellist YoYo Ma assembled an extraordinary group of musicians called The Silk Road Ensemble, so named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe. Collectively, their intensely personal journeys over 16 years paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind. “If you are aware of what you have and how precious it is – the breath you take, the music in your life, the people around you – it is enormous wealth,” says Ma.

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notables } bobby wood

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Making Legendary Music Robin Gallaher Branch | Photography courtesy of Memphis Archives and Graceland

Bobby Wood is an American original, gifted musician, and talented songwriter who was in the right place at the right time when music happened in the 20th century’s last decades. Now in his 70s, Wood is perhaps most famous as the piano player for the Memphis Boys and for his work with Garth Brooks and other rock ‘n’ roll stars. He also had nine number one hits. Roben Jones, biographer of the Memphis Boys, called Wood a consummate professional piano player. “He’s a true artist,” she said. “Bobby has a true talent.” The Memphis Boys played in the 1960s for Chips Moman, the producer and owner of the American Recording Studio in Memphis. Although the group varied, its mainstays were Wood, piano; Tommy Cogbill and Mike Leech, bass; Gene Chrisman, drums; Bobby Emmons, organ; and Reggie Young, guitar. “All virtuosos,” Jones said. She believes the Memphis Boys produced a sound equal to that of the Rolling Stones, the

Beatles, and the Eagles. Agreeing, Ezra Wheeler, program manager at Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Memphis Music Hall of Fame, noted that “theirs is a legacy that’s probably not as recognized as it should be.” Bobby Ray Wood was born in 1941 to a musical family living in the small community of Mitchell Switch, Mississippi. Many called it “a wide place in the road.” For everyone in the neighborhood, life had no frills, Wood summarizes in his biography (co-authored with Barbara Wood Lowry), Walking Among Giants: From Elvis to Garth. DeSoto 21

Early in grade school, Wood’s fellow students paid pennies, nickels, and dimes to hear young Bobby sing. At age 15, he started his own rock ‘n’ roll band. Walking Among Giants tells many stories that make a reader smile and laugh. For example, his teenage band was asked to perform during a 15-minute intermission at a school play. Wood had learned piano by listening and copying. He nailed the style of Jerry Lee Lewis and a current hit, “Great Balls of Fire!” Knowing the potential of that song to get a crowd going, Bobby played it in a way the high schoolers loved — but the administration did not. The memoir recounts, “The principal was furious. He immediately turned off the lights so that the students could not see the band. This, however, was not a showstopper. The band continued to play and the students went wild. Even in the dark, the enthusiasm could not be curtailed.” After high school, Bobby moved to Memphis and got a job at Standard Parts. He moonlighted by playing night clubs. He toured with a group in the years before seat belts. During one of these exhaustive road trips, an accident occurred; Bobby was partially thrown through the front windshield. He underwent many surgeries and an extensive recuperation period. He has a glass eye.

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“Bobby then became part of the Memphis Boys, a group of guys that changed a style and changed a sound,” Jones said. “The Memphis Boys had 122 hits from 1967 to 1971. They chose their songs this way: they had to be good and convey a message.” The group had what Jones called “a grown-up style” and sang about “sorrow, suffering, resignation, and despair.” The style fit Wood’s personality, which was “reflective and sad,” Jones said. Then she laughed and added, “Bobby was also the practical joker of the group. He often took out his eye and said, ‘My eye is on you!’” Wood continued writing, singing and playing. He moved to Nashville. Today he mentors aspiring songwriters, telling them to be themselves. Early in his career, he was told the world (meaning music producers) did not need another Lewis. Wood was encouraged to be himself and find his own voice. He did, and the public responded well. In essence he tells others, “Do your own thing; go with your heart; go with your soul.” Two of Wood’s gifts are knowing what makes a hit song and being able to write one. In Walking Among Giants, he tells of one such encounter on New Year’s Eve 1976 when he and Roger Cook brainstormed about situations in life people love to hear about. The conversation led to dreams and sleep. They started with the phrase, “three o’clock in the morning.” Over a short period of time, playbacks, overdubbing, and bringing in more band members led to the hit, “Talkin’ in Your Sleep.” Wood has many favorite artists but mentioned these he’s worked with in particular: George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Elvis Presley, Crystal Gayle, B. J. Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Garth Brooks. Commenting on his association with Wood, Brooks said of the music business that “it comes down to one thing— selling records. I bet Bobby Wood has played on more records sold than any other player…bar none.” Of his life and career, Wood says on a YouTube video that it was a process of the Lord opening the doors: “It couldn’t have been me. I’m not that good.” Another honor may be coming. Wheeler believes that the Memphis Boys probably may be inducted soon into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. “They’re a perennial name on the list,” he said.

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exploring art } hand tooling leather

Lankford Guitar Strap

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Lankford Hank Williams Jr Guitar Cover

Rhythmic Designs By Pam Windsor | Photography courtesy of Terry Lankford

The faint sounds of tapping start early in the shop behind Terry Lankford’s house in Franklin, Tennessee south of Nashville. He’s usually there by 7 a.m., ready to pick up where he left off the day before, or start work on his latest project. Lankford has been hand tooling leather since 1970. He started while working as a young bull rider, and he says it’s something that came naturally to him. “I was going to rodeos and I just started doing it,” he recalled. “I was a farm boy and we didn’t have a lot of money, so you had to make your own stuff. Next thing I knew people were asking me to make their stuff.” He began hand tooling belts, then moved on to chaps, saddles, and other rodeo equipment. Over the years, his focus has shifted from rodeo work to a wide range of other custom leather goods including guitar straps and guitar covers. That seemed a natural progression for someone living so close to Nashville. “Everybody’s a guitar player in Nashville,” he said with a laugh. “Some of the best ones you’ve never heard of.” Still, some very familiar names have bought his work. “In the 70’s, a friend of mine, Richie Albright, started coming by. He was actually Waylon Jennings’ drummer. So, he was getting guitar covers and straps for Waylon.” Lankford went on to do similar work for Hank Williams, Jr., Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, and others. Some of his custom pieces have also ended up in movies, including

some he made for Steven Seagal. Hand-tooling involves using a set of tools to create shapes and patterns in leather. It starts with a design or pattern, usually on paper, that’s transferred to the leather. Lankford’s been doing it so long he sometimes skips the paper, drawing directly onto the leather. Once the pattern’s there, a variety of tools are used to cut and shape it, then raise and lower different parts of the design. “You draw your pattern and you cut it with these small knives. Then you bevel it. You have bevellers that raise the edges up.” Raising the edges, by tapping the bevellers with a small mallet or hammer gives something, such as a flower, leaf, or perhaps letter in a name, its depth, its 3D feel. Lankford has more than a hundred different hand tools -- many that he’s made on his own -- to create a variety of textures in the leather. Every tool has its own special purpose. “These are called pear shaders,” he explains, referring to one of the tools used to create indentations in the leather. DeSoto 25

Table top

Terry Lankford Working

Hand tooled leather album cover

Lankford Purse

Lankford Saddle

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Those indentations are needed to change the color of that piece of leather once it’s stained. “See these little indentations? When you stain it, the stain will puddle in these little indentions and changes the color of it.” Lankford usually creates his own designs, but will sometimes duplicate something for a customer. “Sometimes someone will bring in an old belt Grandpa used to use and we’ll trace the pattern and use the same so it looks like an old belt. We’ll do that, too.” Hand tooling is intricate, time-consuming work, and something like a guitar strap can take an entire day to make, but the results are worth it. Lankford considers what he does more of a craft than an art and while he’s created some beautiful patterns, he says he never showed much talent for drawing as a kid. “I could draw stick figures,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t draw now.” He’s come a long way from those early days. Over the past fourand-a-half decades he’s hand tooled everything from notebooks to saddles, tables to mirror covers and much more. He’s been willing to do just about any type of custom hand tooling possible, including a tour bus interior for a musician. He admitted that initially hand tooling covers for cabinets and TV’s inside a tour bus did pose a bit of a challenge, until he and his son, Austin, who also works with him, figured out the best approach. Lankford said tackling new challenges and the variety of the work that comes his way are two of the things he enjoys most about what he does. “You get to think, you get to figure things out. You’re not doing the same thing over and over; it’s not a cookie cutter deal. You’ll do guitar straps a couple of three days, you’ll work on a saddle two or three days, chaps for a day or two. You’re always doing something different.” And the results are long-lasting works of art. Fo r i n f o r m a t i o n , v i s i t or contact Terry Lankford at (615) 573-1566. DeSoto 27

exploring books} jimmy buffett: a good life all the way

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Jimmy Buffet in 1974

Following the Margaritaville Trail By Mary Ann DeSantis | Photography courtesy of Inger Klekacz and Aquarium Drunkard

As a child, Jimmy Buffett visited his grandparents often in their Pascagoula home on Baptiste Bayou. One day his sea captain grandfather pulled out a nautical chart and led his grandson to a pier. When he asked the lad where they were, Jimmy answered, “on a crab pier.” The old man pointed to the chart and told him to look again. Jimmy traced his finger down the bayou to the Mississippi Sound and into the Gulf of Mexico. At the bottom of the chart, his grandfather had penciled, “Start here.” In “Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way,” author Ryan White writes that the only thing standing between the young Jimmy and the world would be a lack of imagination or an overabundance of caution. All he had to do was leap and the world would be his. For White, whose first book was the critically acclaimed “Springsteen: Cover-to-Cover,” taking on a book project about the larger-than-life Buffett was also a leap of faith. He had the idea in 2010 shortly after his daughter was born, but it was three years later – after being laid off from his newspaper job at the Portland Oregonian and while standing on a beach listening to

“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” – that he decided to make the book a reality. He already had an agent because of the Springsteen book and a kernel of an idea. “I wondered what would happen if I could explore the Margaritaville landscape,” said White. “I imagined a travel narrative about this piece of culture that represents the American story.” The book turned out much different, however, when many of Buffett’s friends and colleagues agreed to talk to White, who still lives in Portland. “Their stories were more interesting than mine could DeSoto 29

Author, Ryan White

ever be,” he said. “I wrote 30,000 words but threw them out because everyone else’s story was better than mine.” With a cadre of Buffett’s friends and colleagues – including Coral Reefers Mac McAnally and Michael Utley – offering candid interviews, White was able to piece together stories that traced Buffett’s journey from Pascagoula and Mobile to Nashville and, of course, Key West. He says without Tom Corcoran – a novelist in his own right and a close Buffett friend – the book would not have been possible. He also got an extensive inside look at the Margaritaville empire through interviews with John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings and Buffett’s business partner for 20 years. “John made it clear to me that I couldn’t separate Margaritaville from Jimmy Buffett. The book had to take on the shape of a biography even if I didn’t think of it that way,” explained White. “The book floats between genres, much like Buffett’s music. People are expecting one thing and get another.” Stories include Buffett’s first trip to Key West with country singer and 30 DeSoto

songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, his lovehate relationship with Nashville, and the formation of the Coral Reefer Band. Some of the most interesting passages describe the stories behind his songs, many of which die-hard Parrot Heads already know by heart. White also addresses the Parrot Head phenomenon that began in 1989 when Atlanta musician Scott Nickerson ran an ad in an alternative newspaper inviting Buffett fans to form a club. It was former Coral Reefer Timothy B. Schmit who coined the name “Parrot Heads” when he compared them to Dead Heads as Grateful Dead fans were called. Although White was unable to interview Buffett himself, he still captured the “mythical and mystical” history of the songwriter whose most famous hit song, “Margaritaville” was released 40 years ago this past February. “I had always seen the book as a cultural history – a history that encompasses my lifetime,” said White, who is 43. His first trip to Key West as a preschooler was shortly after Buffett searched for that lost shaker of salt. White always had his passport ready… just in case Buffett called and invited him to fly to St. Bart’s to talk. “It was a small fantasy,” he said with a laugh. The author said one of the highlights of his research was being in Pascagoula in 2015 when the city dedicated the Jimmy Buffett Bridge that crosses Baptiste Bayou, which splashes against Buffett’s grandparents’ old backyard. After playing “The Captain and the Kid,” for the event, Buffett signed a nearby mural with “Start here,” just as his grandfather had written many years before. The musician acknowledged it was worth looking back sometimes. “Let’s just say, the odds were long,” Buffett said of his long career. “I always wanted this book to be a beach read or a fun weekend read,” said White. “I didn’t want to write an academic treatise on Buffett, but it had to cover a lot of ground, just as he has covered a lot of ground.”

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into the wild } inshore fishing Sight-casting to redfish is especially popular with fly fishermen. Shrimp patterns, tan and/or orange Clousers and gold spoons using a 7- to 9-weight rod is a good combination.

Redfish are easily recognized by the spot on their their tail, and multiple spots aren’t uncommon.

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Speckled trout have a mouthful of sharp teeth with two very distinct teeth up top.

Go Inshore for Seatrout and Redfish By Polly Dean | Photography courtesy of Polly Dean and Winyah Guide Service

Too often, anglers visiting the coast overlook prime fishing right under their noses, instead opting for an extended boat ride offshore to drop a line for whatever is feeding in deep water. The locals, however, know the excitement of stalking fish inshore. It doesn’t get much better than spotting a 30-inch or bigger fish in a foot or two of water and tempting it to bite! When visiting the shore of any of our Southern states, especially those on the Gulf Coast, redfish and speckled trout are likely inhabitants and worth the pursuit. The flow of freshwater from rivers and inlets into the salt marshes create a rich habitat for crab, shrimp and the many baitfish that these two species feed upon. Year-round, the opportunity is present and fish are cooperative. The summer months and fall are especially good with an abundance of redfish and trout; and even into late fall

when the chill in the air is noticeably sticking around longer, the local anglers know this is the time for the ‘big boys’ – actually mature females - to make the move close to shore for spawning. Where and When to Fish The gear, bait and methods for a successful day of inshore angling varies depending on location, habitat and conditions such as air and water temperature, water clarity and time of year, to name just a few. The best investment one can DeSoto 33

make in time and money is to visit a local tackle shop. Even the experienced anglers know there is much to gain by talking to the locals. Booking a guide for a half or full day of fishing is an even better way to learn the ropes and the guide will provide all the necessary gear. There are some techniques and aspects that don’t vary much from place to place. The tails of redfish – also referred to as red drum, channel bass or simply reds - can be spotted as they feed nose down in the mud. This is known as “tailing” and it can be quite exciting to cast a lure or even a fly to the feeding fish. Louisiana has a reputation with fly anglers as being a prime destination for sight-casting to redfish. Throwing to grassy shorelines, along shell banks and oyster beds are also popular methods for finding the redfish. Indents or small openings in the grass almost always guarantee a fish. Birds “working the water” or actively feeding on baitfish is a good indication that larger fish are likely in the area as well. Schools of reds or even singles can be seen “pushing” the water as they cruise the shallows, and sprays of bait erupting is another clue that something is chasing them. The tides play a major role in when and where to look for redfish. The peak of the high tide is not generally an ideal time for finding them. The marshes are flooded, allowing fish 34 DeSoto

to get up in the grass making them difficult to reach or cast to. They’re just too scattered in general. An outgoing tide is usually preferred. Locate the channels of deeper water and those “cutthroughs” in the grass, and that is where a redfish or trout is likely to hold waiting for bait exiting higher ground as the tide moves out. Spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout, are found in much the same habitat as their larger redfish cousins. Unlike the name implies they are not members of the trout family, but in the drum family. The edges of barrier islands are a good place to find trout. And the larger specimens aren’t necessarily found only in deep water, but can often be found up in the shallows. A “mixed” bottom of hard rock, grass and/or mud is also worth making several casts over. Taking Fish Home Both redfish and speckled trout make excellent table fare. In fact, Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme’s popular recipe for blackened redfish in the early 1980s was believed to have contributed to the over-harvesting of the species, eventually leading to stricter regulations. Regulations vary from state to state on the number and size of fish that can be taken. Slot limits have been imposed as well, with the intent of allowing fish too small and those of reproductive age to be released. Mississippi’s slot limit for red drum allows anglers to keep three

fish no smaller than 18 inches and no larger than 30 inches in length. If harvesting fish for the table, keeping only enough for a fresh meal is the best option. If freezing some fillets for future meals, quickly getting them on ice and preparation are key. “Avoid trapping excess moisture and air when packaging fish for the freezer,” says Ken Chaumont, Louisiana native and creator of the popular Vudu Baits. “Vacuum sealing is ideal, but individually wrapping fillets in plastic wrap before placing in a resealable bag, also helps in preserving their optimal flavor.”

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table talk } marshall steakhouse

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Fine Dining with Rustic Flavor By Kathryn Winter | Photography by Adam Mitchell

Randall Swaney never really sought out to start a restaurant; it just kind of happened, he says with a laugh. Swaney, who owns a farm between Holly Springs and Oxford, wanted to build a barn so he purchased a sawmill to make the wood himself. Whenever he went to cut the wood, though, it would start raining. He then decided to buy a building where he could store his sawmill. He realized the building was much too big for that lonely piece of equipment. Swaney always wanted to have his own feed store but also wanted a gun store. Then, he decided it would be cool to have a place where he could cook hamburgers, but he realized there were no steakhouses nearby. And that’s how the idea for Marshall Steakhouse was born.

Some of the brand-new restaurant’s features include handmade tables, bars upstairs and downstairs, a concert area and dance floor, and a 3,000-square-foot patio that can be reserved for private events. A dining room on the mezzanine level surrounded by 250-year-old trees is also available for private parties. As far as menu options, Swaney said steak, prime rib, fresh catch of the day, Gulf seafood, grilled chicken, and grilled pork chops are all included. The manager is a chef who also has experience catering, which also will be offered. In addition, a pastry chef hand makes all kinds of cakes and pies for dessert. DeSoto 37

Marshall Steakhouse has the largest charcoal grille in the state of Mississippi, so almost everything is grilled. “Hamburgers are our specialty for lunch, and I really think it is the best hamburger anywhere,” he said. “Our food is as locally sourced as possible. We get our eggs and vegetables from farmers in the area and sausages and pork from Home Place Pastures, which is locally owned by Marshall Bartlett.” The restaurant also has a music amphitheater, where bands will play on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons (weather permitting). A large dance floor is available for two-stepping and line dancing. The interior dining room also will host live music. Musicians lined up to play at the restaurant include the band Almost Famous, internationally known saxophonist Pat Register, and fiddle-player Donna Wolf. “Inside the restaurant the music will be more of a background sound and not as loud, but outside we will have actual bands playing, including country and western bands and a little bit of bluegrass,” Swaney said. The restaurant’s décor looks like something from Montana or Colorado. Swaney bought trees from the largest old growth forest in Tennessee, also known as virgin timber. The trees have been growing in Collierville untouched for over 38 DeSoto

300 years. “They were clearing the space so I bought some, reclaimed the wood, and we made every table in the restaurant.” At the door is a wood statue of a Native American carved by artist Paul Moon to honor Marshall County’s first residents. Moon also hand carved a 6,000-pound grizzly bear for the restaurant. Heated by wood stoves in the winter, the dining room seats 350 people while the outdoor area can hold 300. Guests can even cook their own hamburgers or steaks and sit at one of 25 outdoor picnic tables. “Customers can pick their meats inside and then go outside to cook their meal on a state park grill. We have a number to call when your meat is almost ready, and we’ll run a batch of hand-cut fries out to your table,” Swaney said. Ready-made side dishes, including coleslaw and baked beans, are also available. “Our first goal is to become the number one steakhouse in the state. In order to be number one, that means we must have the best steaks, best service and best atmosphere,” he said. “It’s really unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been in. The menu is also not expensive. We offer moderately priced items.” The restaurant has been a project for Swaney since

last January. After he decided to make it a steakhouse, he developed the idea for a “72-ounce sirloin challenge.” “We’re going to challenge customers to eat a whole 72-ounce sirloin in an hour and it’s free,” he explained. “If they complete the challenge, they get their name on a wall plaque. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay for the steak.” One of the largest steakhouses in Mississippi, the new restaurant boasts a fine dining menu with a rustic setting, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Marshall Steakhouse is located at 2379 Hwy. 178 West, in Holly Springs, Mississippi. For hours of operation and to see the menu, visit

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exploring destinations } athens music tours

Paul Butchart with a photo of R.E.M.’s staircase

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Wuxtry Records

That Athens Sound By Jason Frye | Photography courtesy of

Something is in the air around Athens, Georgia, and it’s been there for a while. This college town in the rolling foothills of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains has a reputation for generations of musical acts that have helped define genres, drawn hordes of fans for can’t miss shows, entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and influenced the next wave of local bands. Yes, something here inspired the likes of R.E.M., the B-52s, Widespread Panic, Neutral Milk Hotel, Drive By Truckers, Vic Chesnutt, Danger Mouse, of Montreal and too many more bands to name. They’ve played the stages of 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre and AthFest, the town’s three-day music festival; dined on soul food at Weaver D’s; shot videos and album covers here; and roamed the streets perfecting that riff, that lyric, that beat. Visit this hip college town any weekend and you’ll find plenty of live music to keep you dancing till dawn. You’ll

also find one of the best ways to steep yourself in the town’s musical past, present, and future with the Walking Tour of Athens Music History, which leaves from the Athens Welcome Center. In many ways, Athens feels like any other college town. There are bars catering to the just-turned-21 crowd, upscale restaurants — 5&10, The National, Last Resort Grill — to celebrate graduation, craft breweries (don’t miss Creature Comforts), and the requisite record store and vintage shops. But the music provides a differentiator. DeSoto 41

R.E.M.’s “Murmurs” trestle

Ricky Wilson’s gravesite

In Athens, as in most college towns, you can hear live music any night of the week, but here there are more than 30 venues around town, not counting house parties, street performers or impromptu jam sessions that spring up. From acoustic singer-songwriters to endless open mics to college bands and national touring acts, the town’s awash in tunes. On the Walking Tour of Athens Music History you’ll find yourself standing in front of — or inside, if your timing’s right — some of the most important venues in the development and continued evolution of what’s become known as “that Athens sound.” 40 Watt Club, the longest-running music venue in Athens, has been at five other locations around town (don’t worry, you’ll pass most of them on the tour) and still fills a calendar with exceptional acts from up-and-comers to the marquee names nearly everyone would recognize. A block up from 40 Watt stands the Morton Building, an important structure to Athens’ well-known indie-alternative music. The building is also important to African American 42 DeSoto

music and performing history because it is one of the first African American constructed, owned, and operated theatres in the country. It opened around 1910 as a Vaudeville theatre, and from the 1920s to the 1940s, the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith performed here. Bands like the B-52s practiced here, and R.E.M. shot portions of the video for “The One I Love” here. Today, the venue hosts performances throughout the year and Flagpole, Athens’ alternative newspaper, holds its awards in this historic room. The walking tour covers plenty of ground relating to two of Athens’ most well-known bands: R.E.M. and the B-52s. From passing by their former homes to strolling by the sites of their first (or last) Athens gigs, you’ll learn more than you thought possible about these two bands. Your tour guide may even point out a trio of sites any R.E.M. fan will recognize: the kudzu covered field and the railroad trestle that illustrate Murmur, R.E.M.’s first album. The third site is Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods, a soul-food lunch spot that was the

Visitors recreate R.E.M.’s steps

inspiration for the name of R.E.M.’s 1992 Automatic for the People. We a v e r D ’ s c a t c h p h r a s e , “automatic for the people,” is echoed through the restaurant whenever customers order. This is one of the can’t miss places to eat in Athens, and not because of its part in the town’s musical history. The fried chicken is just that good. You can stop in Athens any time and get an earful of music, but if you want to ensure a full slate of tunes — 100 bands, a trio of stages, every venue in town hosting late night shows and dance parties — then make your way here for AthFest, always the third weekend in June. The three-day fest draws thousands to see the headliners, support the local acts, and find what’s new on the musical horizon. So, when you feel like dancing and hearing great live music, pack the car, turn on your favorite Widespread Panic songs, and hit the road for Athens. Want to go? Classic City Tours provides the music history tours, which depart from the Athens Welcome Center, 280 E. Dougherty St. The two-hour tours are $20 per person with a two-person minimum for all walking tours and a six-person minimum for driving tours. Call 706.353.1820 for information and reservations.

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on the road again } canton, ms

, n o t n Ca ississippi M

10:00 Canton has several museums that are worth a visit. Stop by the Canton Welcome Center on the historic square to get more information, purchase tickets and set up tours. Open Monday - Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 8am - Noon. Located in the same building as the Welcome Center is the Multicultural Museum and Canton Movie Museum. The Multicultural Museum offers interactive multimedia with interviews on topics ranging from slavery, civil rights, early African-American businesses, music and more. See sets and props from movies made in Canton including “A Time To Kill” and “My Dog Skip” at the Movie Museum. 12:00 Hit the square for shopping and small town charm. The colorful buildings that line the streets are filled with boutiques, gift shops and antique stores. 1:00 Go south on Highway 43 for lunch at the original Penn’s Fish House. For over 65 years they have been serving delicious catfish and southern fried chicken. They also have hamburgers, salads and their specialty, known as chicken on a stick. 2:30 After lunch head back toward the historic square. Enjoy looking at the beautiful historic homes near the square or drive down Hickory Street, which is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail. 3:00 Visit the newly opened Rich Grain Distilling Company, located in an 1880s building that has been completely restored and renovated by owner and head distiller, David Rich. All aspects of the production process are done onsite. Tours are given every Saturday from 11am - 4pm. At the end of the tour, visitors are allowed to sample all the products. 4:00 Travel back in time at the Canton Museum of History located in the historic Trolio Hotel. Each display is an exact replica of Canton stores dating back to the 1800s. Buy a bottle of Coca-Cola at the old-fashioned ice cream shop, see the bank teller’s adding machine, or buy your favorite candy at the mercantile shop. 5:30 Dinner at Two Rivers. In addition to the excellent and friendly service, the food keeps locals and visitors coming back. Owner and chef Johnny Stewart creates amazing dishes like duck breast with apricot sauce, peppercorn crusted tuna, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, and mouth-watering ribeyes.

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To plan your visit:

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Upcoming Events:

Canton’s 3rd Thursday Square Party Canton’s 3rd Thursday Square Party begins in April on the third Thursday of the month and continues through September. The family friendly event offers great food, live music and shopping around Canton’s Historic Square. Canton Flea Market Art & Crafts Show The famous Canton Flea Market attracts artisans nationally to showcase handcrafted items such as pottery, jewelry, and unique arts and crafts. This bi-annual event attracts over 1,100 superior artists and craftsmen to within walking distance of the downtown area. The Canton Flea Market Arts & Crafts Show, a one-day show, is held on the second Thursday in May and in October. Christmas in Canton - “City of Lights” November 24 - December 23 Canton, the “City of Lights,” comes alive each holiday season with attractions and events for the whole family. Enjoy the old-fashioned carousel rides, Animation Museum, over 200,000 glittering lights and decorations around the square. Other events include the Merchant’s Open House Weekend, Trolley Ride around the Square, Old Jail Museum, Log Cabin Behind the Old Jail, The Railroad Museum, and a light and character parade. Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Race This fun event usually is held around July 4th and features a fireworks extravaganza, colorful balloons of all shapes and sizes, entertainment, food and much more. Balloon pilots compete for valuable cash prizes and balloon glows at sunset are always popular.

For information on any of the events, call the Canton Tourism Office at 601-859-1307.

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greater goods } back to school

back to school









1. Loafers, SoCo, 300 W Commerce Street, Hernando, MS 2. Vera Bradley backpacks and totes, The Pink Zinnia, 134 West Commerce Street, Hernando, MS 3. Bella + Canvas Ole Miss t-shirt, Paisley Pineapple, 6542 Goodman Rd #115, Olive Branch, MS 4. Chala backpacks, Bon Von, 214 W Center Street, Hernando, MS 5. Daily Planner, Frank, 210 E Commerce St #7, Hernando, MS 6. Scout Lunch Coolers, Mimi’s On Main, 432 W Main Street, Senatobia, MS 7. Kate Spade Pens, Pencils, Notebooks and Pencil Cases, Mimi’s On Main, 432 W Main Street, Senatobia, MS 8. Agendas from Kate Spade, Band.o and Happy Everything, Merry Magnolia, 194 E Military Road, Marion, AR

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back to school









9. Laura Ashley backpacks, SoCo, 300 W Commerce Street. Hernando, MS 10. Backpack purses, Bon Von, 214 W Center Street, Hernando, MS 11. Mississippi State t-shirt, Ultimate Gifts, 3075 Goodman Road E, Southaven, MS 12. Capri Designs clear bags, Paisley Pineapple, 6542 Goodman Road #115, Olive Branch, MS 13. Skosh Game Day Necklaces, Paisley Pineapple, 6542 Goodman Road #115, Olive Branch, MS 14. Metalic notebooks, Cynthia’s Boutique, 2529 Caffey Street, Hernando, MS 15. Jadelynn Brooke Backpacks and Lunchboxes, The Bunker, 2631 McIngvale Road #106, Hernando, MS 16. Ruffle Top by 143 Story, Jeans by Rubber Band Stretch, Erimish Jewelry, Frank, 210 E Commerce St #7, Hernando, MS

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Last Man Standing By Karen Ott Mayer | Photography by Adam Mitchell

The gates opened onto a neat, quiet suburban community for retirees in Southaven, Mississippi, where, by all accounts, one house appeared like the others. Except here, Jerry Lee Lewis and his wife, Judith, live every day managing life as semi-retired seniors while navigating the later years of the singer’s legendary career.

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Jerry Lee Lewis with his wife, Judith

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For those whose only acquaintance with the singer is through a parent’s or grandparent’s personal memory, Lewis -known as “the Killer” -- has lived through as many highs as lows, became legendary for both his songs and fists, but perhaps has proven that his roots shaped everything about him. Even through the hardest professional times of his life, he persevered with a relentless pursuit. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, he wrote, recorded and performed at a feverish pace -- even when his fans gave him less than warm welcomes. But he never, ever gave up the stage, and at times, reclaimed fame that rivaled even his contemporaries, Presley and Cash. At nearly 82, Lewis rarely grants interviews but still occasionally travels and performs. “Now, I decide when I feel like going out and playing,” he said. Judith commented that he can “still play the piano like 40 years ago, but it’s the travel that’s hard now for us.” Two years ago, for his 80th birthday, the couple flew to England where Jerry Lee celebrated with many big names including Paul McCartney. “Guests were fighting over who would sit next to him,” she said. Married in 2012, the couple just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in March. While much has been printed about Lewis’ infamous marriages and even Judith herself, the couple nonetheless shares common roots and growing-up years in Mississippi and Louisiana. Extremely close to his parents, Lewis grew up in a poverty steeped in religion and music. It’s a path they both knew. “I think we’re just good for each other,” he said. While some years have been filled with glamour and travel, the pair is equally at home driving through Sonic or Chick-fil-A or settling in at the house for date night watching movies. The couple likes to watch movies. “I like to watch the old westerns and shows like ‘Gunsmoke’,” he added. While enjoying their young five grandchildren, the couple also enjoys their privacy and reminiscing about the past. Like anyone later in life, Jerry Lee cherishes those early memories that shaped his entire life. “I had the greatest parents who would do anything for me,” he said. In fact, proof of his statement sits in the other DeSoto 53

room from the couple. “When I was eight, they mortgaged the house to buy my first piano which we still have in this house,” Lewis said. The dark wooden upright sits quietly now in the corner with some keys yellowed or missing. It’s impossible to conceive of all the hours Lewis spent banging away as a young boy, developing his signature keyboard style that so captivated audiences. The piano, like so many of his prized possessions, lived at his ranch in DeSoto County where Lewis spent 43 years. The couple moved from the ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi, to their new home, dubbed Shangri La by Judith, about a year ago in order to be closer to medical facilities. Although it was a big move literally and figuratively, Lewis is still creating and influencing – just as he did in his youth. In late April 2013, he helped open Jerry Lee Lewis’ Café and Honky Tonk at the corner of Beale and Handy Circle in downtown Memphis. Another dream of his, the restaurant serves as a mix of museum, bar and music venue. “It’s doing great and I helped design parts of it,” said Lewis. Filled with memorabilia, the café also houses another piano the singer and his father brought to Memphis from his hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana, in the 1950s. Visitors can also see his 19 gold records, a 1980s two-seat Cadillac Eldorado, and a Harley Davidson.

Jerry Lee’s first piano

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Seated comfortably in their living room during our visit, the couple exchanges pleasantries with visible affection. As Li’l Jerry and Judith, a pair of miniature pinschers, play around the room and jump from one lap to another, it’s apparent his love of dogs hasn’t abated anymore than his love of the keyboard. When asked about those who are still around, Lewis points to the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Tom Jones. The pair had recently returned from visiting Jones in California. In his 2014 biography “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story,” author Rick Bragg recounts Lewis’ unbridled passions, both on and off stage, sharing personal stories from Lewis’ growing up years through his tragedies and triumphs to present day. His son, Jerry Lee Lewis III, understands the depths of his father. “He felt so strongly and had strong values,” he said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be part of rock’s first wild man, my dad.” If nothing else is apparent, it’s that Jerry Lee Lewis banged away endlessly at life as hard as he did on the piano keys. Maybe it’s survival, maybe it’s just the need to fulfill a Godgiven talent which few could dispute. Whatever the opinions, his legend lives on, just as he still lives in DeSoto County.

The Nesbit, Mississippi, ranch where Jerry Lee Lewis spent the better part of his life is not only open for tours, but also can be a sensational getaway for visitors who want to spend the night. Always a private residence with intermittent tours, Jerry Lee and Judith Lewis have decided to open ‘Killer Cottage’ in late summer or early fall for overnight visitors. Jerry Lee’s own father lived in the cottage for a time, and his son Jerry Lee Lewis III spent his formative years at the ranch as well. Lee III has returned to the area specifically to help run the new business. “I was in Michigan, but Dad asked me to help so I came home,” Lewis III said. With two young children of his own, he can completely relate to being raised on the land. “I spent a full 18 years here. There’s nothing like growing up on this property. We had horses and a dirt bike and a pool. But it was always more fun to jump in the pond,” he said with a laugh. Lewis III believes people who visit will gain a better idea about how his father lived beyond the music. “He was a Southern boy at heart. You’ll of course learn about his music past and present, but also be able to spend a moment on the back porch.” A lifelong animal lover, Jerry Lee Lewis created a pet graveyard for all of his dogs where visitors can stroll. Inside, his collections include guns, knives, belt buckles and sheriff badges. Lewis III said guests will be able to stay in the cottage and be a part of the lifestyle. “It has full amenities and everything anyone would need.” To learn more, visit

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Graceland Candlelight Vigil

Fit for a King

Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’s Death By Jill Gleeson | Photography courtesy of Graceland

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In the four decades since Elvis Presley died, John Lennon was shot to death. The Berlin Wall came down. Viagra was launched. New York’s Twin Towers tumbled. The Internet took over. We elected our first black president. We elected Donald Trump. The world has changed in a trillion ways, both small and significant since 1977.

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ETA (Elvis TRibute Artists) on Memphis’ Pyramid

Candlelight Vigil 2015

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But one thing has remained the same: Elvis Presley is one of the planet’s most beloved entertainers. According to Forbes, The King sold more than one million albums last year, and Graceland remains the second-most visited home in the United States, behind the White House. The mansion where Elvis hung his hat still hosts 600,000 visitors a year, 20 percent of them from outside the U.S. Fans hail from countries including Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil and Canada. It’s a safe bet at least a few citizens from those nations will be making a pilgrimage to this year’s Elvis Week in Memphis, which will commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death in a revitalized neighborhood that bears little resemblance to the one Elvis knew. Thanks to a $137 million overhaul, the Graceland campus now offers two new showstopping additions. The Guest House at Graceland, a 450-room luxury resort debuted last October. “That property was designed by asking questions like ‘What would Elvis had done in 2016’ and ‘what is the Elvis aesthetic’,” said Gary Hahn, Vice President of Marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises. The answer is a stunningly sleek, masculine retreat that pays tribute to The King in subtle ways, like the lobby’s mirrored ceiling that is meant to recall Elvis’ beloved capes, and the “Burning Love” outdoor fire pit shaped like a heart. The hotel also boasts a bar, two restaurants, an outdoor pool and a theater. And then there’s Elvis Presley’s Memphis, which opened its doors in March. According to Hahn, the 200,000-squarefoot entertainment complex is “five times as large as the original plaza across from the mansion that it replaced. Now we’re able to showcase the Graceland archives and tell his story in the way that we’ve always wanted.” To that end, there’s now a new car museum, Elvis Presley Motors, that’s double the size of the original. Smaller exhibits explore artists The King influenced, as well as his army career and the larger story of Memphis music. Elvis the Entertainer is what Hahn calls the complex’s centerpiece. “It’s our museum that takes you through Elvis’s entire career, using artifacts, gold records and his wardrobe,” said Hahn. “The other big anchor is the Graceland Soundstage, a 20,000-square-foot facility DeSoto 59

where we can host live events. That’s where the majority of Elvis Week activities will take place.” Those events, which run August 11-19, include the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, Conversations on Elvis panels, Elvis 101 and more. The Candlelight Vigil, as always, will take place at the mansion on August 15, the night before the anniversary of his death. Hahn expects some as many as 50,000 people at the Vigil, which can last until daybreak. The following night, Elvis: Live in Concert, an extravaganza featuring The King on the big screen, a visit from Priscilla and a full orchestra, will take over FedExForum in downtown Memphis. Tupelo’s Celebrations Meanwhile, the Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo will be marking the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death in its own way. Friday, August 11, four Elvis Tribute Artists will perform in the theater, followed by Fan Appreciation Day on August 12. Tickets will be reduced from $17 to $10, all the attractions will be open, and there will be food vendors on the property. “People can come, be a part of the program, have lunch and then spend the day with us,” said Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Birthplace. “Elvis gave back all the the time – we feel this is a way we can share that and give back to the community and the fans.” Of course it’s not only The King’s famously generous and humble nature, along with his unparalleled charisma, that so endear him to fans. “My philosophy is that there are two kinds of people in the world,” said Cote Deonath, who won the 2017 Ultimate 60 DeSoto

Elvis Tribute Artist preliminary contest in Tupelo. “There are Elvis fans, and there are people that don’t know they’re Elvis fans yet. His music speaks to you – it’s true music. There’s an Elvis song, I’m convinced, for everybody in this world. I believe that 10 years from now it’ll be the 50th anniversary of his death and we’ll still be here, celebrating his life.” Paying Tribute to a Legend Make no mistake, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest is a very big deal. This year, 20 winners from official preliminary rounds held around the world will converge in Memphis during Elvis Week. They will compete in the semifinals on Thursday, August 17, with 10 competitors advancing to the final round, which will be held on Saturday. The first place winner, among other goodies, will receive $20,000. In 2017, for the first time ever, all the champs from previous years will play one special night together, Friday, August 18. “These guys are incredibly talented performers,” said Hahn., “I defy anyone to go to a semifinal or final and not be impressed with the level of artistry. And, of course, there’s a live eight-to-10-piece band that backs them up and they’re wearing recreations of Elvis’ wardrobe.” All the eras of Elvis are represented, according to Hahn. “Somebody will sing “Suspicious Minds” from the ’70s in Vegas, and then someone else will come out who will be more of a ’50s Elvis. It’s a lot of fun.” Elvis Presley Enterprises kicked off the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in 2007 as a way to support and sanction the tribute shows and competitions that had been going on for

decades following The King’s death. That first contest, featuring 24 competitors,was an enormous success, paving the way for it to return every August during Elvis Week. While previous contests were mostly held at The Orpheum Theater in downtown Memphis, 2017’s event will take place in the new Graceland Soundstage. Among the countries to send contenders to the finals are Malta, Japan, Brazil, Scotland, Canada, Germany and Australia. Tupelo is a fierce competitor, supporting its winners with a “boot camp” to help them prepare. This year Cote Deonath of Dunnellon, Florida, is representing Tupelo in Memphis. A full-time Elvis tribute artist, Deonath, now 20, first stepped on stage at age five to perform as his hero and is a returnee to the competition. Last year, he won a preliminary event in Tampa. “Going back now is kind of a dream,” Deonath said, “because I thought, ‘Man, I went to the Ultimate! That was cool, that’ll never happen again.’ And now I’m going back! It’s surreal. I’m not going to lie – it’s a great feeling. I’m very proud to represent Tupelo.”

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Spin By Mark Parsell | Photography courtesy of Mark Parsel, End Of All Music, T Bones, and Monkey Business

Most baby boomers can remember spending hours combing through racks of vinyl phonograph records in stores looking for their favorite band’s latest release. Before most boomers even had their driver licenses, though, the music industry was already changing. Vinyl records gave way to eight-track tapes, then to cassettes, followed by supposedly superior sounding compact discs. And even those CDs seemed to be going the way of vinyl records because of digital releases and the popularity of iTunes.

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End of All Music listening station

T Bones

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But a renewed interest in vinyl recordings has been growing in recent years. Once on the brink of extinction, vinyl record stores are, in fact, rebounding. Scattered around the South are several well-known retailers where music lovers are discovering timeless reminders of a rich cultural past. The following “must-visit” record stores just might be the perfect places to search for a 45-rpm of Elvis Presley’s 1956 hit, “Blue Suede Shoes” or The Beatles 1967 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band Club” album.

GRIMEY’S Nashville, Tennessee

Doyle Davis and Mike Grimes founded Grimey’s in 1999. The present location opened in 2002, and Grimey’s Too was added in 2012. The addition of the Frothy Monkey Coffee shop and a Howlin’ Wolf Bookstore have also helped attract crossover customers, who have been crucial to success. “Mike caught the music promotion bug, and it gave me the chance to quit working for someone else,” said Davis. “When Frampton Comes Alive (’76) and Saturday Night Fever came out (’77), we realized we could make big money at this. But record stores got too big and then came digital.” Like the music itself, independent record stores have gone back to their roots, and are surviving and thriving today. “In the beginning years, it was mostly used albums but now with so many new releases on vinyl, we sell more new albums and re-releases than used,” said Davis, who noted that United Record Pressing – the largest vinyl record manufacturer in the country – is just blocks away. Half of Grimey’s customers are female, following breakout stars like Margo Price whose autographed picture is on the wall. Price was one of the live performances that Grimey’s hosted. “Yeah, she’s played here and we really like Margo,” he said. “Luke Schneider who plays in Margo’s band still does a shift behind the counter when they are in town. “We have the pleasure of working with some amazing talent at Grimey’s.” Grimey’s 1604 8th Ave. South, Nashville DeSoto 65

Shangri-La Records Memphis, Tennessee

Located in the heart of Memphis, Shangri-La Records has quite a history. The site originally featured sensory deprivation tanks prior to becoming a record store and later a label. Shangri-La Projects was formed as a publishing arm for books and documentaries about Memphis Music. “The store has hosted countless free shows from past luminaries like Ike Turner, Jim Dickinson, Little Milton and many more,” said John Miller co-owner of Shangri-La. “This tradition continues today with the likes of Luther Dickinson playing shows on the front porch.” Miller, who co-owns the store with Jared McStay, said about 75 percent of the records sold at the store are used. “We sell tons of records by classic independent Memphis labels like Sun, Stax and Hi records,” he said. “These include Elvis, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Albert King and Ann Peebles for starters.” Miller is also seeing a trend of younger collectors purchasing modern records from a wide variety of genres. “You just have to adapt,” Miller explained. “We’ve taken down many of our CD racks and added 45s and album box sets.” The owners believe the future is bright for the record industry. The explosion in interest in vinyl records brought a complementary boom in record pressing. The nearby Memphis Record Pressing is a partnership between Fat Possum Records (think Southern rocker Jimbo Mathus) and Audiographic Masterworks. 66 DeSoto

“This kind of partnership has allowed local, independent labels to expand their vinyl catalogues and reach a new audience of fans,” Miller said. Shangri-La Records 1916 Madison Ave, Memphis

End of All Music Oxford, Mississippi

“We take pride in being a top-tier record store with the highest quality new and used records,” said David Swider of End of All Music in Oxford. “When you come in, it’s an extension of our living room; it’s comfortable and very chill.” Only 1,200-square-feet, the store doesn’t have space to waste. Therefore, Swider pays close attention to the titles he stocks and keeps the inventory very organized. He estimates the inventory to be around 12,000 records, including a vast selection of 45s. End of All Music also stocks entry to mid-level turntables, a logical product extension. “When folks walk into our shop, we want them to know we mean business,” Swider says. “There is no denying you’re in a real record store.” “The store sells new releases from Chris Stapleton and Alex G, to reissues of The Beatles and Bob Dylan,” added Swider. “We also have a classical music section.” End of All Music opened in 2012, and Swider thinks the storm of transition has already passed for stores like his. “I feel pretty confident that vinyl is going to outlast all the other physical formats of music,” he said. “The digital

world and streaming services are going to be constantly changing while vinyl will always be here.” End of All Music 1423 N Lamar Blvd, Oxford

T-Bones Hattiesburg, Mississippi

T-Bones is more than a record store and café. Open since 2002, the store has become a social center for Hattiesburg where shoppers can find a large inventory of vinyl records as well as books and food. “We get a lot of curious shoppers who like to flip through the vinyl just to bolster conversation,” said Mik Davis, record store manager. “Once we make a connection, they visit again and again.” Rock ‘n’ roll maintains the crown with stalwarts like Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones and Beetles as top sellers, but there is also a bit of a formula at work. “We buy across a wide spectrum in hopes of lighting up a country release like Chris Stapleton or hip-hop like Kendrick Lamar,” Davis explained. The stock changes daily and T-Bones can have a huge week based on new releases or reissues that tilt the new sales even further. “As collectors ourselves, we purchase new and used vinyl that we too would want,” he said. Like others in the business, Davis believes the future of vinyl is the future of music because of the realistic sound and improved quality. “All the other media only approximate the sound and impact of a song, album or the artist can have,” he said. “Drop the needle on a record to enjoy the experience, free of internet drops or signal degradation.” T-Bones 2101 Hardy St, Hattiesburg

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homegrown } mighty miss. brewing company

Mighty Miss. American Pale Ale

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Pouring the New Brews By Charlene Oldham | Photography courtesy of Mighty Miss. Brewing Company

Much of the Magnolia State remains an attractive untapped market for craft breweries, but the folks behind Greenville’s Mighty Miss. Brewing Company are fermenting plans to change that. As one of the first craft breweries in the Mississippi Delta, Mighty Miss. is poised to take advantage of changing state laws that, as of July 1, allowed breweries to sell their beers on site. Mighty Miss. founder Jon Alverson said prohibitions against beer makers selling their wares directly to customers at breweries, either by the pint or in growlers, cans or bottles, stymied the state’s craft beer industry. Had those restrictions not been in place, he estimates Greenville would already have two or three craft brewing companies. Nationally, the U.S. craft beer market grew by 10 percent, to $23.5 billion in 2016, according to 2016 statistics from the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group representing the craft brewing industry. That same year, the number of craft breweries expanded by more than 16 percent, to 5,234 nationwide.

With only nine, Mississippi had fewer craft breweries than any other state as well as the District of Columbia. But Alverson expects entrepreneurs will be pouring in now that laws have changed. “Those days are coming in Mississippi, and we’d like to be on the forefront of that,” said Alverson, who also serves as publisher of the Delta Democrat-Times. “There’s not another brewery for 120 miles or so. It’s new to the market.” The brewery is in The Lofts at 517, a rehabbed Sears building in downtown Greenville that’s also home to restaurant, retail and residential space. In the weeks following its official launch in late May, Mighty Miss. was available at restaurants DeSoto 69

Founder Jon Alverson gives a brewery tour

with keg taps. The fledgling brewery planned to can its products for sale in stores in addition to opening an on-site tap room where customers could also buy beers by the pint or growler. Eventually, Alverson hopes to expand distribution into Arkansas, Louisiana and beyond. “We don’t want to do anything in a small way,” he said. Mighty Miss. aims to woo uninitiated craft beer drinkers and craft connoisseurs alike with four brews that are interesting without being intimidating, said brewmaster Scott Hettig. The beers in the company’s inaugural lineup -- Mighty Miss. American Pale Ale, Pace Porter, Sledge Saison and Onward Amber Ale -- start at an easy-drinking 4.7 percent alcohol by volume for the amber ale and top out at 6.3 percent ABV for the saison, a notable contrast to some heavy-hitting craft brews boasting ABV percentages of 10 or more. “We want to produce beers that have a very broad appeal. This is not a criticism, but sometimes other breweries like to go to extremes that appeal to a really specific segment of the beer- drinking population,” said Hettig, a Wisconsin native with nine years of professional brewing experience who started making beer as a homebrewer nearly three decades ago. “We’re not that. I think we’re mostly true to making very drinkable, very approachable beers across the scale.” In addition to its four standard beers, Mighty Miss. will occasionally brew small batches that showcase seasonal styles or special ingredients. And, no matter what the style, the beer’s primary component will contribute to its unique, Deltadriven character. “Beer is about 96 percent water. The Greenville water is very, very soft. And it’s high in tannins, which are basically from the cypress trees that grow deep 70 DeSoto

underground here.” The water’s softness, or low mineral content, makes flavors from hops and other ingredients more pronounced, Hettig explained. And the city’s famously brown water isn’t the beer’s only influence from Delta roots -- both real and figurative. The name of the brewing company and its flagship beer is an obvious nod to the Mississippi River, which is within walking distance of the brewery. And its other brews bear the names of communities or small towns elsewhere in the Delta, said Melia Christensen, Mighty Miss. Brewing’s brand manager. “As we got into naming the beers and doing more intense branding work, we really felt like being in the Delta was a primary characteristic of the company and brand we were trying to build,” said Christensen, who also serves as executive director for the Leland Chamber of Commerce. “So we chose the slogan ‘Imported from the Delta,’ and we really want that character and that uniqueness to inform the products we were putting out. Authenticity of place is important to us in terms of being the first brewery in the Delta and being proud of the area we come from.” Indeed, civic pride and regional revitalization is central to the brewery’s mission, said Alverson, who, like Christensen, is balancing the duties of his other job with the demands of his new venture. “We’re learning a lot every step we take,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, it’s beer, and I love beer. So it’s a good business to be in.”

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southern gentleman } ties

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Tying on Your Personality By J. Eric Eckard | Photography courtesy of J. Eric Eckard

The death of neckwear has been greatly exaggerated.

Granted, neckties sales today are nowhere near the $1.8 billion in annual revenue generated in 1995. But after a dismal time during the Great Recession, tie sales bounced back to about $850 million in 2014. “We still sell a lot of ties,” said Joe Yarber, owner of MLM Clothiers in Tupelo. “But it’s true, you just don’t see people dressing up as much anymore. Today, it’s more casual.”  Yarber said he remembers his father, wearing a tie most every day. But then, Casual Fridays came along.  “Casual Fridays carried over to Casual Mondays, and then it was casual all week.” Yarber said. 

Bow Ties In recent years, ties have made a comeback of sorts, particularly bow ties – and particularly in the Southeast. In 2014, Bows-N-Ties, an online neckwear retailer, indicated that nationwide Google search data revealed that Mississippi men were all about bow ties.  The traditional Southern gentleman in his seersucker DeSoto 73

suit, bedecked with a colorful bow tie, apparently still resonates in Mississippi  – and other parts of the South, as well.  South Carolina, Alabama and Kentucky also are in the top five of that Google search analysis.  “There are more good men’s clothing stores in the South than any other part of the country,” said Randy Hanauer, who has been making neckwear since 1986. “Men in the Southeast just have more personal style than in any other place in the country. “The Northeast has some good stores, but not a lot.”  Stan Shanks owns Landry’s in Oxford, Miss. Landry’s started out as a dry goods store in 1891 in Clarksdale, Miss., and it’s evolved into a men’s clothing store.  “We do fairly well with our bow ties,” Shanks said. “It’s a traditional look – even a bit preppy.” Hanauer, who runs the South Carolina-based R. Hanauer company with his son, credits millennials for the resurgence of bow ties. Current sales figures indicate that bow ties account for about 10 percent of all tie sales in the United States.  “Bow tie sales are very strong among young people,” Hanauer said. “For college students, they’re a really big deal.  “And now, high school kids are wearing them.”  History of the modern tie The modern necktie originated with Croatian soldiers, and King Louis XIII popularized them during the 1600s. The 74 DeSoto

French dubbed it a cravate. Since then, neckwear has evolved into one of the most widely used accessories in men’s fashion. The four-in-hand, or long necktie, has gone through dramatic changes throughout the years. Each generation puts its own mark on neckwear. From the 1-inch skinny ties of the 1960s and ‘80s to the 5-inch wide ties of the 1940s and ‘70s, neckwear styles have been cyclical. Skinny or wide?  Today, long ties vary from 2-to-3-1/4 inches wide, depending on geography. Yarber said that skinnier ties are making a comeback in some metro areas.  Although there are plenty of wool, cotton and linen ties out there – and even some novelty materials like wood – silk rules the tie world. And the most popular colors are anything but basic. Pinks, purples and reds sell big, and paisleys and stripes fly off the shelves, Yarber said.  But bow ties remain a bit more traditional. Hanauer said that the width ranges anywhere from 2-to-2-3/8 inches. And although red and navy-blue bow ties are popular, black is the No. 1 seller.  “By far – we sell hundreds and hundreds of them,” Hanauer said. “But we like to do seasonal things. Like in the spring, there are lots of colors so it all doesn’t look the same.” 

Caring for ties Because ties are delicate, caring for them is vital so they’ll last. Removing a tie at the end of the day might seem simple, but experts recommend reversing the knot-tying process. Pulling the short end out and loosening the knot could damage the material over time.  Hanging the tie also helps its longevity. Rolling them up – skinny end first – is acceptable for traveling, but hanging them helps with any wrinkles. Hanging them while you’re showering also can help steam out some wrinkles.  Inevitably, a stain will make its way onto a tie. Whether you use an on-thego stain remover like Tide® To Go or Shout Wipes or natural cleaners like club soda or seltzer water, the key is to blot. Don’t rub.  And if you do take your ties to the dry cleaners, make sure they don’t iron them – a big taboo for most ties.  Special occasions  Ties have become so optional at work that it’s no longer a habit for men to wear them. So now, some men struggle with deciding when it’s appropriate to wear neckwear. It’s typically a good bet to don a tie at funerals and weddings.  For work or networking events – or even dates – things get a little vaguer. Unless a specific casual dress code is spelled out, Hanauer said wearing a tie is good for any occasion. “I think it’s strange that men don’t want to wear the greatest piece of apparel made,” Hanauer said. “It shows your personality.”

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southern harmony } keeping hill country heritage alive

Rising Star Fife and Drum Band

Stepping Out of the Shadows By Alex Jacks | Photography courtesy of Sharde Thomas and Cameron Kimbrough

The shrill sound of the fife floats down the Mississippi Blues Trail in Como, Mississippi, as drums resonate after it. Hundreds follow the music Sharde Thomas and her four drummers produce as they gather around the Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Otha Turner. 76 DeSoto

Thomas, a Mississippi musician and the fife player in the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, smiles up at the sky as she plays, thinking of her grandfather. Although it was not one of the biggest shows she has ever played, Thomas said playing to her grandfather’s Blues Trail marker on his birthday proved to be one of her best. “Every year, we walk from the Como library to my grandfather’s blues marker,” Thomas said. “This year, we did it on his birthday. That was so exciting because we were playing his band and his music to him on his birthday.” After learning to play the fife – a high-pitched transverse flute – at 7-years-old, Thomas became Turner’s protégé. By obtaining this position, she was left with the hefty responsibility of carrying on the Rising Star Band at age 13 when Turner died. “I didn’t really understand the task I had taken on when he passed,” she said. “It was difficult. It was hard. But I knew it was a job I had to do. I had to grow up very quickly and take on the band.” Despite the weight Thomas felt to carry on her grandfather’s musical traditions, she has made a name for the Rising Stars in the modern music scene and for herself outside of Turner’s shadow. She considers her style to be a more modern form of fife music. “Our music is similar to my grandfather’s because we still play the old traditional songs that he did and try to incorporate that sound into our other music,” Thomas said. “We do more modern songs — more pop songs, more hip-hop songs — to connect with today’s generation.” Fellow Mississippi Blues guitarist and drummer, Cameron Kimbrough, also understands the responsibility of continuing the tradition of his grandfather’s legacy, while creating his own sound. As the grandson of Junior Kimbrough — a Hill Country Blues musician whose Mississippi Blues Trail marker sits in Holly Springs — Kimbrough grew up watching his family make music in his grandfather’s juke joint. “Growing up, music has just been a big part of my everyday moves,” Kimbrough said. “Both sides of my family made music. My mom’s side influenced my vocals and my father’s side influenced my instrumentals.” Kimbrough considers his style to be past, futuristic and timeless. “I say timeless because I don’t want to be in a box, really,” Kimbrough said. “I want to be able to create everything, but keep that Hill Country Blues flavor.” Kimbrough said he plays similar music to that of his grandfather’s about 35 percent of the time. “I take more how he was as a person and use that to influence my music,” he said. “The older I’ve got, the more I really looked at what he did and realized how important he was to Blues. He only played his style. That influenced me a lot. I didn’t feel pressure in my career once I began to embrace myself like he did.” By developing this way of thinking, Kimbrough was able to overcome the shadow of his grandfather’s fame. “It was difficult to create a name for myself at first, especially around my family,” he said. “But now that people can see my passion and that I really love what I’m doing, I have been able to step out of it.”

Even with her own success, Thomas said she also struggled with stepping out of Turner’s fame and into her own. “It used to be extremely hard,” she said. “People didn’t really know my name or knew what I did. They just knew I was Otha Turner’s granddaughter who took over his band. It was difficult for me to stand in that shadow, because I knew I could offer so much more than that.” By focusing on developing her music and promoting the Rising Stars, Thomas believes she has started the process of being recognized as her own musician. “When I go to a show with the band, we always plan to give the audience the unexpected, instead of something they saw on the internet from one of my grandfather’s shows. I’m grateful for him passing the torch down to me, but I want to continue making a name for Sharde Thomas and the Rising Stars Fife and Drum Band. I want them to hear the story we have now.” As the popularity of both Thomas and Kimbrough grows, the young musicians strive to promote their bands nationally and in Europe. “I just got back from Switzerland, and I am motivated now more than ever,” Kimbrough said. “I think this is just the beginning for me.” “I feel like I’m in a great place in my career and so is the band,” Thomas said. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come and I think my grandfather would be, too.” Cameron Kimbrough

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in good spirits} cat island cruiser

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Coastal Cocktail By Cheré Coen | Photgraphy courtesy of Eat MS Coast

What cocktail exemplifies the Gulf Coast? Trying to find the “Official Cocktail of the Mississippi Gulf Coast” was the goal of two tourism organizations -- Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast and Eat MS Coast -- both known for exploring the flavors of the area. Submissions came from bartenders, chefs and cooks from restaurants in Mississippi’s three coastal counties. The cocktail recipes were then evaluated by a panel of judges comprised of culinary professionals from outside of the region who participated in a series of blind taste tests. This group included James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and six others. After weeks of testing recipes and through online voting the winner was “Cat Island Cruiser,” a cocktail created by Catherine “Cat” Ryan, bar manager at Bacchus on the Beach in Pass Christian. Ryan said she created the cocktail while watching the sunset over the Mississippi Sound. The three finalists also producing cocktails worthy of the title were Debbie Davis from The Sycamore House in Bay St. Louis, Jessy Gazaway from Patio 44 in Biloxi, and William Hennis from Murky Waters BBQ & Blues in Ocean Springs. The recipe for the Cat Island Cruiser includes Rougaroux Sugarshine Rum from Donner Peltier Distillers of Thibodaux, Louisiana, plus mango (fresh or pureed), mint and cilantro simple syrup, lime and club soda. For her winning creation, Ryan and the cocktail will be featured in numerous publications and artist Julie Trotter of Biloxi will create a painting of the drink. Bacchus on the Beach hosted the cocktail’s launch party.

Cat Island Cruiser

1 1/2 ounces Rougaroux Sugarshine Rum Fresh mango chunks (or 1/2 ounce mango purée) 1 ounce cilantro mint simple syrup 2 lime wedges Club soda Cilantro mint simple syrup: 2 cups water 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup fresh mint 1/4 cup fresh cilantro Cook all these ingredients, strain mint and cilantro from syrup. Muddle fresh mango and limes in the bottom of a 12-ounce glass. Top with 1 ounce cilantro mint simple syrup. Fill glass with crushed ice. Add Rougaroux Sugarshine Rum. Fill with club soda. Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro.

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exploring events } august The Taylor Swift Experience Through August 13 The GRAMMY Museum Cleveland, MS The Taylor Swift Experience gives visitors and fans an in-depth look at the 10-time GRAMMY®-winning artist as a singer, songwriter, musician and producer through personal photographs and home videos, interactive experiences, handwritten lyrics of Taylor’s top-charting hits, and iconic performance outfits. For more information, call 662-441-0100 or visit “Who, What, Wear?” Through October 22 Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Laurel, MS A collaboration with fashion and theater design professors and students from Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi brings to life paintings at the Lauren Rogers Museum. Students researched and then recreated garments, which are displayed next to the paintings that inspired them. For information call 601-649-6374 or visit Art Across Mississippi Through May 2018 Mississippi Museum of Art Jackson, MS Twelve Exhibitions, Twelve Communities. The Museum shares art from its collection with venues across the state. For information call 601-960-1515 or visit Water Valley’s 48th Annual Watermelon Carnival August 4 - 5 City Park Water Valley, MS Fireworks show, street dance, BBQ contest, music, arts & crafts, children’s activities and free ice cold watermelon slices! For more information visit the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook or call 662-473-1122. Bikes, Blues and Bayous August 5 Downtown Greenwood, MS The Money Road Cycling Club and the GreenwoodLeflore County Chamber of Commerce will host the 10th Anniversary of the Bikes, Blues and Bayous cycling event on Saturday, August 5, 2017. The rides begin on Howard St. in historic downtown Greenwood, Mississippi. Mississippi’s LARGEST RIDE saw record sign-ups of 947 riders in 2016 and this year will top 1,000. For more information visit or call the Chamber at 662-453-4152.

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James Taylor & His All-Star Band with Special Guest Bonnie Raitt & Band August 5 FedEx Forum Memphis, TN 7:30pm Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and five-time Grammy Award winner James Taylor and his All-Star band are bringing their talents to FedExForum on Saturday, August 5, 2017 with special guest, tentime Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt and her band. Tickets available at, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the FedExForum Box Office. Down on Main Summer Concert Series August 10 - Kingfish and Mr. Sipp Fairpark Amphitheater Tupelo, MS 6:30pm For more information visit Elvis Week August 11 - 19 Memphis, TN Elvis Week 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary since Elvis’ passing. Graceland in Memphis is anticipating this to be the largest Elvis Week ever with fans from around the world making the ultimate pilgrimage here in August to be with us during this very special celebration of the life and legacy of Elvis Presley. For a full schedule of events and tickets visit Live at the Garden Summer Concert Series: St. Paul & The Broken Bones/Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors August 11 Memphis Botanic Garden Memphis, TN Order tickets online or at the box office at 901-5764107. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Come early and get your picnic spread on the lawn or purchase your food from vendors offering tempting Garden treats. Call ahead and pre-order food from one of the caterers. Upgrade your lawn ticket for reserved seating at the box office the day of the show. Sorry, no pets or recording devices. Visit for more information. Elvis Week Kickoff Concert August 11 Elvis Presley Birthplace Tupelo, MS 5:30pm - 10:00pm Celebrating in concert this year with us are Elvis Tribute Artists Michael Chambliss, Jay Dupuis, David Lee, and Travis Powell, as well as the EAS band. Tickets are $50. Social hour is 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with cash bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Concert featuring Elvis Tribute Artists begins at 7 p.m. For more information call 662-841-1245.

Matchbox Twenty Twentieth Anniversary Tour August 11 BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove Southaven, MS 7:30pm Matchbox Twenty and special guest Matt Nathason. Purchase tickets at Snowden Grove Amphitheater box office 662-892-2660, or call Ticketmaster 1-800-745-3000. Dulcimer Festival August 17 - 19 J.P. Coleman State Park Iuka, MS For more information call 662-423-6515 or email

Live at the Garden Summer Concert Series: Seal August 26 Memphis Botanic Garden Memphis, TN Order tickets online or at the box office at 901-5764107. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Come early and get your picnic spread on the lawn or purchase your food from vendors offering tempting Garden treats. Call ahead and pre-order food from one of the caterers. Upgrade your lawn ticket for reserved seating at the box office the day of the show. Sorry, no pets or recording devices. Visit for more information. James Taylor

15th Annual Memphis Tri-State Blues Festival August 19 Landers Center Southaven, MS 6:30pm Featuring Bobby Rush, Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones, Willie Clayton, Shirley Murdock, Nellie Tiger Travis, J’WONN and Terry Wright. Purchase Tickets at: LANDERS Center Box Office,, Ticketmaster 1-800-745-3000, or Ticketmaster Outlets. In The Park After Dark August 19 - Finding Dory Latimer Lake Park Horn Lake, MS Join Horn Lake Parks & Recreation Saturday night, after dark, this summer for free outdoor movie night “under the stars.” Bring your lawn chair, blankets and picnic baskets. Alcohol not permitted. Concessions will be available. For more information, call 662-342-3468 or visit Panola Playhouse Presents “Next to Normal” August 25 - September 3 Panola Playhouse Sardis, MS Directed by Greg Earnest, Next to Normal is a show that enables a small group of actors to showcase powerhouse vocals while exploring pressing contemporary issues of trauma, loss, mental health treatment, and the meaning of family. For more information visit or call 662-487-3975.

Elvis Week

8th Annual Hernando Scavenger Hunt August 26 Gale Community Center Hernando, MS 9:00am - 12:00pm Teams of 2-5 will compete to win $1,000 cash prize. All ages welcome; each team must have at least one adult. Winner will be announced at 6pm at the Gale Center. For more information, call 662-429-2688 or visit

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reflections} crafting lyrics

Crafting Lyrics By Adam Mitchell

After two attempts at guitar lessons as a kid, I taught myself how to play when I was in college. After learning just enough chords, I began writing simple songs. My guitar playing and songwriting improved with practice, and I eventually became serious about it. I joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and I submitted recorded songs to receive feedback from professional songwriters. I thought I was a better songwriter than I actually was, and they were pretty critical with some negative comments. Nevertheless, I was excited to receive their feedback because I wanted to improve. NSAI had told me that songwriting is a craft, and only practice and persistence can make a novice songwriter into an accomplished one. They steered me in the right direction and recommended several books, which I eagerly read. I started writing again and practicing everything I had learned. Within a few years, I had written lots of songs. I thought a few of them were worthy of being sold to professional country music artists. I recorded several and submitted them to NSAI. I actually got great reviews on some of them. But then what? That’s where it gets really complicated. The legal issues in the music industry are a constantly changing, complicated web of royalty rights and issues that I can’t understand enough to even mention in this story. I eventually realized that if I wanted to be a professional songwriter, I’d have to move to Nashville. I would have to be playing non-stop in the bars and honky-tonks, knocking on doors and selling myself to the “it’s who you know” business. I didn’t want to take that risk. I still love songwriting, and I’m always working on one. You may even see me driving around singing in my truck trying to figure out how the next chorus will start. It’s a fun, creative hobby that I’ll always enjoy, but only as a hobby. 82 DeSoto

One of my favorite songs I wrote is a simple little lesson about women, called “If You Love Her, Listen.” Even if you never hear it on the radio, perhaps these lyrics can help you rekindle a fading love. Most girls wanna talk until the days at end, With no chance of any romance when it’s bottled in. So, if you want a woman’s loving, I’ve discovered something, They’d love nothing more than a friend. Chorus:

If you love her, listen. Give your attention, To every word she says. Little details about her long day. Every worry in her head. Just listen. Don’t give your opinion, They don’t want a man’s point of view. If you love her, listen. Crazy women. Listen and they’ll love you too. Get off the phone and the social site, Light the candles, open the wine. But, if you want a connection, show some affection, Ask a deep question, talk all night. Chorus: Bridge:

If you love her, listen. Hear what you’ve been missin’. That old spark that’s dimmin’ might shine like new. Chorus:

DeSoto Magazine August 2017  

Southern Music - We invite readers to learn about the rich talents, both new and old.

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