Following the opening of Grammy Museum® Mississippi on Saturday, March 5, a benefit concert will be held that evening at Delta State University’s Bologna Performing Arts Center, headlined by eight-time CMA Musician of the Year recipient Mac McAnally and multiple Grammy Award nominees The Williams Brothers. Also performing are Mississippi-born slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and friends, and rising female soul rock duo Muddy Magnolias. Titled “Back Where I Come From,” the concert will explore these artists’ Mississippi ties through a special evening of music and conversation.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to pay respect to the people who have brought us so much enjoyment through their music than to have them perform during this exciting weekend,” said Lucy Janoush, President of the Cleveland Music Foundation. “There will also be special guests in attendance who will be recognized for their lasting contributions to the music we all love.”
“As native Mississippians, we are truly honored to be a part of this grand opening,” said The Williams Brothers’ Doug Williams. “The heritage of gospel music has very deep roots here in Mississippi and many gospel greats came from this state. We would like to personally thank the Grammy Museum for recognizing the rich musical heritage of this state, and for opening only the second museum of this nature here on these grounds.”
Doug Williams’ brother Melvin added, “There are artists that put a stamp on my heart and soul so deep ‘til this day; it still remains relevant after all these years, especially ones with Mississippi roots like Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke, and my dad, Leon “Pop” Williams, and the legendary Jackson Southernaires. Me being a country boy born and raised in Mississippi singing gospel music from the cottons fields to being recognized as part of such an historic event as the Grammy Museum Mississippi grand opening is priceless. I feel like Mississippi has been honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Williams Brothers are part of the presenters.”
“Back Where I Come From” will take place on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University, 1003 West Sunflower Road, Cleveland, MS. Tickets range in price from $50-$100 and can be purchased by the general public beginning Wednesday, March 2, by calling Bologna Performing Arts Center at 662-846-4626.
Malcolm White, Executive Director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, said, “The artists who will perform and be recognized represent the very best of Mississippi, our story and the goodness of our diverse and curious history. Mississippi’s rightful real estate in the American musical landscape is firmly anchored in gospel and country as well blues, rock, jazz and pop music. Every night is Mississippi Night in the wide, wide world of American Music.”
Chart-topping recording artist, accomplished producer, hit songwriter and studio owner Mac McAnally marked another note in history with a record-breaking eight consecutive wins as the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year in 2015. McAnally was first honored with the Musician of the Year award in 2008, and has won every year since. Beyond being one of the most respected guitar players and vocalists in Nashville, he has also been nominated for a CMA Award as an artist.
A.K.A. Nobody is McAnally’s latest solo album, sung, performed and produced by the session ace. All but one of its songs were written by McAnally, either on his own or with co-writers including Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, Sonny Landreth, Chris Stapleton, Al Anderson and others. Working with an all-star assembly of friends and studio colleagues, McAnally achieves a rare blend of deep soul and polished technique on each track. The ironic tile notwithstanding, the music of A.K.A. Nobody speaks to everybody.
McAnally’s depth and breadth as an artist are no secret with the recording community. McAnally grew up in Belmont, MS and was raised on church choirs and formal lessons, playing pro gigs at 13, tutored on the mysteries of session excellence at the historic Muscle Shoals Studios and relocated to Nashville, he was an essential ingredient on studio dates with Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, Randy Travis, George Jones, Billy Joel and many other headliners. In addition, he has been voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame with a track record that includes writing No. 1 hits on his own for Kenny Chesney (“Down the Road”) and Alabama (“Old Flame”) as well as penning chart-toppers for Sawyer Brown (“All These Years”) and Shenandoah (“Two Dozen Roses”).
Sonny Landreth was born in Canton, MS, but grew up in Lafayette, LA. The melding of those two places gave him the name “King of Slydeco” from his inimitable slide guitar technique together with southwest Louisiana influences of zydeco. He has enjoyed a prolific career for decades as a solo artist, celebrated sideman and session player. Over the years he performed and recorded with artists that include British blues innovator John Mayall and toured as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s band as well.
Landreth’s latest album Bound by the Blues was released in 2015. Vintage Guitar magazine said, “Landreth is arguably thefinest living slide-guitar player on the planet.” The instrumental “Firebird Blues” from that album was created for his hero and fellow guitar ace Johnny Winter, who also grew up in Mississippi.
As Landreth said, “It’s always been about getting out on the road and playing these songs anyway. For me, it’s a continuum of that, with the songwriting process, going in to record and taking that out on the road. That’s still a familiar format for me, although a lot of the other moving parts have changed. As long as it’s soulful and I can get the message out there, I’m in.”
Muddy Magnolias, the soulful duo of Kallie North and Jessy Wilson, are fresh on the music scene after meeting in Nashville just three years ago. Within six months of individually landing in Music City, North and Wilson met, became songwriting partners and bandmates. Before releasing a single, Muddy Magnolias had earned rave reviews from national press. Rolling Stone praised, "a sound that melds city grit and Delta dirt, exploding onstage not like two lead singers but more like parts of the same whole...performed as if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards inhabited the Indigo Girls.” They also landed a coveted spot in Elle magazine's 2015 Women in Music issue. Now, with new music produced by Butch Walker (Weezer, Pink, Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy), the pair is poised for their real breakthrough.
For a full schedule of Grammy Museum Mississippi grand opening events, visit grammymuseumms.org.