The NTSIB “offices” (i.e. my desk) are all abuzz at the moment. After a meeting with the taxman yesterday, it has been confirmed that the IRS has agreed to fund our proposed trip to Oxford, Mississippi, this summer (translation: I’m rockin’ out with my EITC out).
Why would this information be of any interest to NTSIB readers? While Oxford is most famous for being home to literary giant William Faulkner, Mississippi has produced more than its fair share of blues greats, and Ole Miss houses a blues archive that is purportedly the “world’s most extensive collection of blues recordings and related material”.
Nearby is the home of Fat Possum Records, a label that was started in order to give voice to great bluesmen of northern Mississippi – like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and T-Model Ford – who were going unrecorded and has since become the home of talent like the Black Keys, the Heartless Bastards, Andrew Bird and that A.A. Bondy guy we like so much. In the spring and autumn months, a visit to Oxford’s Square Books on a Thursday night will put you in the audience for a taping of the Thacker Mountain Radio Show, which has boasted authors such as Roy Blount, Jr., Rick Bragg and John Hodgman and musical guests like Lucero, Dent May and T-Model Ford.
We’ve mentioned Oxford’s free, springtime Double Decker Arts Festival in previous posts (which we will be sad to miss as we’ll not be hitting town until late summer), and the annual Blues Today! Symposium will be taking place on March 26 this year. We also heartell that the Lyric and Proud Larry’s regularly host great live music.
So if my travel cohort and I don’t come back with a few posts worth of Oxford-centric music goodness, I will consider it my fault and not the fault of Oxford.
Today, we leave you with this article from 2003 on Fat Possum (it’s British press, so take it with an exaggerated grain of salt) and this little NPR piece on Fat Possum’s shift to embrace acts outside of the Mississippi blues milieu. (Obviously, we love us some Fat Possum here at NTSIB and encourage you to visit their site and purchase copious amounts of exceptional music.)