Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy KWP Day!

Wow! It seems like only 8 years ago we were getting ready for our first show. Oh, wait, I guess it WAS 8 years ago. Man, where does the time go?

I remember getting a phone call from the owners of (now defunct) 363 Blues Club asking if I could play that Saturday night for St. Patrick's Day. This was on a Tuesday (things haven't changed much in that respect, either!), so I got to work calling everyone I knew. Called up my buddy, Foosh, and he was down, and the following morning I asked a new friend I had met at work, Jimmy Karow, if he'd be interested in playing the blues for a night, to which he replied, and I quote, "Sure, why not. Sounds like fun."

We got together that Thursday evening and had one of our only rehearsals in the first few years, and it went great. What else would you expect from seasoned musicians.

On Friday, I bumped into "The Emfamus" Skip Oliver and invited him out to the show. "Oh, if you come, bring your harps and sit in." I also invited my friend Mark Coward to sit in.

I got to the bar early in the evening to start setting everything up. Foosh and Jimmy both arrived pretty soon thereafter, and we managed to get everything set up and sound checked with enough time to work over some of the trickier songs. About 5 minutes until show time, Skip shows up with his harp case and Green Bullet, plugged in, and ran a few lines to check his label. I believe his first words were, "What key we in?" B Minor.

I looked at Foosh and Jim and said, "Thrill Is Gone." As I hit the first chords of the song, Mark walks upstairs with his amp in one hand, guitar in the other, and starts setting his rig up. By the first solo, he's set up, tuned up, and ready to rip, and did he! 

The Bar area of 363 Blues Club was upstairs, and at one point in the evening, the center of the floor looked as if it would cave under the weight of all the people up dancing and bouncing around. The speakers (on poles) kept swaying the whole night, but not once did they give in to the momentum, standing strong under the wave of the hardwood floor.

Skip and Mark both played the entire evening with us, and we had a hell of a time. What was to be a one-time show got us booked for the B-Town BBQ Festival and the Okelala Festival in Baldwyn, Mississippi, and started a rocket that continues to this day.

Many of the area's finest musicians have shared the stage with us, preaching their own interpretations of the blues. I've never tried to name every one before, but here's a start: Chris Fooshee, Jimmy Karow, Skip Oliver, Mark Coward, Tom Sewell, Michael Brose, Jay Carroll, Gavin McGee, Blake Miller, Shane Rowe, Richard Sanders, David Miller, Matt and Chad Nolan and Shaun Miller (Spunk Monkees), Blayze Windham and Kelly Mauldin (Bikini Frankenstein), Rick Moreland, Monte Allums, Tony Caldwell, Chuck McArthur, Dennis Murphy, Richard Dabbs, Eric Stogner and Bob Steinmetz (Full Tilt), Jason Carter, Preston George, Joseph Lackey, Vinnie C., Pam Montgomery, Naomi Alexander, Savannah Smith, Randy Byrum, Wayne Victory, Desmond Smith, Brian West, James Pirkle, Derrick Boggan, Ronnie McGee. I've even had the privilege of playing the blues with both of my children, Eli and Michael. I know I'm forgetting quite a few names, and I apologize to you guys. Leave your name in the comments below and I will add you to the list. I'd like to see a complete list sometime, just for shits and giggles.

8 years later, our travel radius has grown exponentially. From the Tupelo-area to all of North Mississippi and into Tennessee and Alabama. Not bad for a bunch of guys doing it all by themselves. We've had some highs and had lots of lows, but ain't that what the blues is all about?

So, this St. Patrick's Day, as you're raise your glass in an Irish toast, raise it again, and help us celebrate our 8th Anniversary. As for me, I'll be celebrating our anniversary at IDK in Tupelo for the Open Musician Jam Night. Come on by and let's have a drink together. Here's to another 8 years!