A good week’s work…

Many of you may know that I absolutely love being in a recording studio producing music.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to reconnect with my old pal, Davis Raines, and his group, The Band of Many Names,  to work on a new project called “Turquoise & Silver.” We locked ourselves up for a few days at Fighting Okra Studios and had so much fun that we barely came up for air. Great songs that are well-rehearsed by musicians who are passionate about and dedicated to their craft make for a great session.

Over the years, Davis and I have worked together on several projects which are some of my favorites…search the web to see if you can find them (“Big Shiny Cars,” “Going To Montgomery,” “Parts Unknown,” “Mockingbird,” and more). The Band of Many Names includes the wonderful Pamela Jackson, who recorded a project at Fighting Okra Studios a few years ago called “Red Rock Heart” (more great songwriting), the multi-talented Mark MacKenzie (here’s a link to his bluegrass band, Fade2Blue, doing a cover of the Ace Ford song, “Orphan Train“), and bass player David Conrad of the Americana duo Conrad Y Skordalia (a fine writer and singer in his own right).

Background vocals in progress

In this age where music is often streamed and consumed as ‘ audible wallpaper,’ it’s good to be reminded of the amount of work and collaborative effort that goes into creating and producing a new body of musical work. For me, it’s also important to not take for granted the small pleasure of popping an original CD, created with love, sweat and tears, in my car player (does your car still have a CD player?) and listening, uninterrupted, to some original music on the drive to Memphis and back.

What a privilege. Let me know if you’d like to work on a new record…I can be reached at…you guessed it…the Big Front Porch.

All is gift,

Tricia

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

My, how the summer has flown! School is starting up in a few days, and the next thing you know, it’ll be Christmas!

Summers are made for spending time on a place like the Big Front Porch, and in addition to summer camps and a few select music gigs, that’s what I had planned to do this summer, but a little “bump in the road” popped up…seems a shady lookin’ spot on a routine mammogram turned out to be a nasty little tumor that needed to be addressed, so here at the end of summer I have now added (ta da!) breast cancer survivor to my resume`…God is GOOD.

Faith

I had the great blessing to be able to stay at Harrah’s Hope Lodge in Memphis during my treatment…a wonderful opportunity that no doubt that saved my low back, ‘cause as much as I love making that drive up and down highway 61 between Cleveland and Memphis, having to make it every day for a month would have done me in!

The experience of the past month seemed like a combination of moving into a freshmen dorm, going to summer camp, and retreating at a monastery. It was a reminder that folks all over are fighting tough battles everyday, but there is still a great measure of goodness and kindness in the world. Of the patients and caregivers I met during my stay, I will particularly remember Sameh from Egypt, who has been at the lodge for over 4 months with his wife while his only son, Karim, battles leukemia. Met several Delta folks, too, while I was there, and they all commented on my Fighting Okra shirt:) I also got some time in to brush up on my mandolin skills…

I was visited by Ya Yas, a contingent of the Delta 7, and old friends from Nashville…we all sat on the Big Front Porch (figuratively), shared some belly laughs, enjoyed the precious bonds of friendship, and seized the day.

As for timing, I suppose summer vacation was the best time to deal with this ‘bump in the road,’ but now it’s time to go full speed ahead. I have a new record (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Eye) that’s almost mixed and ready for release (more on that soon)!

I hope your summer vacation was filled with things that make you happy…family, friends, mountains, beaches, music, food, and joie de vivre. Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers…Come join me on the Porch sometime and share your summer stories…I’ve got some catching up to do! 

All shall be well….pax, Tricia

Ya Yas and frocks…

Hard to believe that January is almost over…and thankfully, it’s been a mild enough month to actually sit on the Porch and do some pondering…nice:) Hope that February will follow suit, don’t you?

During the Christmas season, my two best ‘growing up’ buddies, Jackie and Paige, and I always get together for what we have lovingly termed, “The Gathering.” I’m not sure exactly what year we started, but it’s been going on now for at least half of our 50+ years. It’s a chance to put on our PJs, laugh a lot, and do pretty much NOTHING for about 24 hours. Pure bliss…

Ya Yas

Mom Walker and Luzon have gone on to heaven, and so our last remaining mama on this earth is the Matriarch, “Miss” Eleanor. We gather in her kitchen at Meadowview, and while she mixes together some homemade cornbread in HER mama’s cast iron skillet, we revert back to childhood and giggle uncontrollably at the retelling of some incident from forty years ago that still makes us act silly.

Mmmm....cornbread...

The focus of the Gathering was the impending nuptials this spring…the first born of the ‘petite’ Ya Yas (Jackie’s daughter) will be tying the knot in late March, and so this blessed event requires that we all go out to shop for a new frock. Yes, there. I said it. I have to go shop for a frock. I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” I don’t think she was speaking in the context of shopping, but whatever….

I was in Jackson yesterday and so I made an attempt to enter a mall and make a purchase. Lord, have mercy….there was a SALE on and there were hundreds of women who were in their element in such a situation while I, on the other hand, was about to break out into hives. I had to wait 45 minutes just to get into a fitting room…so while I waited, I fired a volley of texts off to the Mother of the Bride extolling how I was making close to the ultimate sacrifice for her firstborn:)

Ok…I didn’t fall out or throw up, so all is okay….found two items that I will live with for a couple of days to see if one of them will work for the happy occasion. I’m sure to be a lot more comfortable in boots and jeans for the rehearsal dinner at the fish house.

I also got off the Porch last week long enough to make a quick trip to our beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast to perform at a showcase in Bay St. Louis for the “Backstage Pass” arts event sponsored by our Mississippi Arts Commission. I am proud to be included on the Artist Roster of the MAC, and I appreciate all the work they continue to do to spotlight the arts and arts education in our lovely state. Executive director, Malcolm White, understands how valuable arts and artists are to our state and particularly to how they can impact the creative economy. Next time you have a little time on your Porch, take a few moments and read all about the Creative Economy in Mississippi and what it can mean to our future.

Showcasing at the Hollywood

Well, I’d better cut off the Porch light and get a little rest…looks like a busy week ahead. Y’all take care, and I’ll get back in touch soon!

Pax,

Tricia