Dinner in a Hidden, Magic Place: Chisholm Lake Store

Food, Parks, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Seafood, Steaks, Travel

053 Chisholm Lake054 Chisholm Lake055 Chisholm Lake056 Chisholm Lake057 Chisholm Lake058 Chisholm Lake Store059 Chisholm Lake060 Chisholm Lake061 Chisholm Lake062 Chisholm Lake063 Chisholm Lake Store064 Chisholm Lake Store065 Chisholm Lake Store1711 Chisholm Lake Store1712 Chisholm Lake Store
Chisholm Lake in Lauderdale County, Tennessee is not the kind of place you find by accident. In fact, were it not for a small sign along Highway 51 just north of Ripley, I might never have heard of it at all. But on a trip back from Dyersburg one evening, I noticed a sign for the Chisholm Lake Store Restaurant, boasting of steaks and seafood, so I had been telling myself for several years that one day I would try it, and the other evening, I finally made a deliberate trip to Ripley to do so. Once in Ripley, finding the way to get to the restaurant is not difficult, as the road is called Chisholm Lake Road, but the lake is fairly far away from the town, and it takes awhile to get there. Once you enter the state’s wildlife management area, the road narrows, and soon you see Chisholm Lake, a beautiful oxbow lake surrounded by woods that once was a channel of the Mississippi River. Here and there are isolated fishing cottages and cabins, and then at the end of the road, a small collection of cottages and one obviously commercial building surrounded by cars, the Chisholm Lake Store. Despite the name, the store is actually a restaurant and bar, with a fun, convivial spirit and sports on the flat screen TV’s. There are no menus on tables, as you actually walk up to the bar and order before getting seated. The choices are fairly limited, but steak and crab are what people come for, and the ribeye steak dinner with baked potato and a salad bar is a great deal, although keep in mind that they have no cuts of steak other than ribeyes, and they take only cash, no credit or debit cards. Because you’re literally off the beaten path in the middle of nowhere, there’s also limited phone access and no internet to speak of, but it’s worth it for the good food, fun, and views of the setting sun over the lake. The Chisholm Lake Store is open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It’s probably a good idea to call ahead to confirm that they are open.

Chisholm Lake Store
23 Chisholm Lake Camp Rd
Ripley, TN 38063
(731) 221-5999

On the Square in Ripley, Tennessee

Abandoned, Black History, Education, entertainment, Event, Gangs, ghost town, History, Photography, Restaurants

031 Ripley032 Ripley033 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Ripley034 Ripley035 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Ripley036 Ripley037 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Ripley038 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Ripley039 Ripley040 Ripley041 Ripley042 Ripley043 Russell's Kitchen, Ripley044 Ripley045 Babe's Place, Ripley046 Lauderdale County Training School, RipleyJPG047 Lauderdale County Training School048 Lauderdale County Training School, Ripley049 Lauderdale County Training School, Ripley050 Lauderdale County Training School, Ripley051 Lauderdale County Training School, Ripley052 Lauderdale County Training School, Ripley
Ripley, Tennessee is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Tennessee, and has a traditional courthouse square, such as is common in many areas of the south, but due to building restorations, it has a somewhat sterile and uptown atmosphere, completely different from Covington or Somerville, two other West Tennessee county seat towns. Although the weather was blue and pretty, rain was predicted and the courthouse square was absolutely deserted. Across the tracks in Ripley’s East End, I came upon the ruins of Lauderdale County Training High School, which prior to 1970 had been the community’s high school for Black students. The sign above the door of the old school reading “Ripley _____ High School” is probably not the racial slur that I initially suspected. Rather, that sign probably dates from the days when the school building was used as the junior high school for all of Ripley. However, today it and its gymnasium are both abandoned buildings, and their abandonment at a time when young people need knowledge and recreation facilities is sad indeed.

The Abandonment of Henning, Tennessee

Abandoned, Black History, Blues, entertainment, folk, Folklore, ghost town, History, jazz, music, musicians, musicology, night club, Photography, venues

001 Henning002 Henning003 Abandoned Mansion, Henning004 Abandoned Mansion, Henning005 Abandoned Mansion, Henning006 Juke Door, Henning007 Abandoned Juke, Henning008 Noel's Bar & Grill, Henning009 Abandoned House, Henning010 Henning011 Noel's Bar & Grill012 Henning013 Henning014 Henning015 Sir Charles' Place, Henning016 Sir Charles' Place, Henning017 Sir Charles' Place, Henning018 Sir Charles' Place, Henning019 Welcome to Henning020 Henning021 Main Street, Henning022 Poe's Bar, Henning023 Main Street, Henning024 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning025 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning026 Henning027 Henning028 Main Street, Henning029 Sir Charles' Place, Henning030 Sir Charles' Place, Henning
Back in the 1980’s, Henning, Tennessee became famous as the hometown of writer Alex Haley, whose genealogical novel Roots was a best-seller in the late 1970’s and which was later made into a television mini-series. A museum was opened on the Main Street of the little town just across the Forked Deer River from Tipton County, and residents of Henning waited for the tourists they hoped would be coming. They even renamed State Highway 211 “Chicken George Trail” after one of the characters in Haley’s novel.
But the tourists never arrived, and Henning seems to be in the grip of a depression, for some reason. Abandoned houses and ruins are everywhere in the little town, and many of the downtown storefronts along Main Street are vacant, or seem to be so. A block west of Main is a street lined with abandoned juke joints that were undoubtedly once full of large crowds, as Henning was a party destination for Covington, Ripley, and even Dyersburg and Brownsville. A couple of the bars seem to still be open, such as Sonny’s Smooth Jazz and Old School, or Uncle Charles’ Place, which has an elaborate painted mural that mentions Prince’s old movie Under The Cherry Moon, but the town has clearly seen better days.

Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough and Garry Burnside Live at Holly Springs

Artists, Arts, band, Blues, Concert Reviews, Concerts, Dance, Drummers, Drums, entertainment, Event, Folklore, music, musicians, musicology, night club, percussion

010 Cu-Man's011 Holly Springs012 Marshall County Courthouse013 Holly Springs014 Holly Springs015 Duwayne Burnside and Son016 Duwayne Burnside and Son017 Cameron Kimbrough, Kenny Brown & Garry Burnside018 Marshall County Courthouse019 Duwayne Burnside and Friend020 North Center Street021 North Center Street022 Blues in the Alley023 Duwayne Burnside and Family024 Oxford All-Stars Band025 Blues in the Alley026 Blues in the Alley027 Holly Springs Sunset028 Blues in the Alley029 Oxford All-Stars030 Blues in the Alley031 Blues in the Alley032 North Center Street033 Blues in the Alley034 Oxford All-Stars035 Oxford All-Stars036 Oxford All-Stars037 Blues in the Alley038 Blues in the Alley039 Blues in the Alley040 Oxford All-Stars041 Oxford All-Stars042 Blues in the Alley043 Oxford All-Stars044 Blues in the Alley046 Oxford All-Stars047 Oxford All-Stars048 Oxford All-Stars049 Oxford All-Stars050 Oxford All-Stars051 Oxford All-Stars052 Holly Springs Sunset #2053 Jukin'054 Blues in the Alley055 Blues in the Alley056 Kenny Brown & Cameron Kimbrough057 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside058 Cameron Kimbrough059 Kenny Brown061 Kenny Brown062 Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside063 Kenny Brown067 Blues in the Alley068 Kenny Brown069 Kenny Brown & Garry Burnside070 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside071 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside072 Blues in the Alley073 Blues in the Alley074 Kenny Brown Band075 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside076 Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside077 Kenny Brown Band078 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside079 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Garry Burnside080 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough & Duwayne Burnside081 Kenny Brown & Duwyane & Garry Burnside085 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside086 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside087 Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnside, Kent Kimbrough & Garry Burnside088 Cameron Kimbrough, Kent Kimbrough & Garry Burnside089 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside090 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside091 Kenny Brown, Cameron Kimbrough, Kent Kimbrough & Garry Burnside092 Blues in the Alley093 Blues in the Alley094 Blues in the Alley095 Blues in the Alley1701 Oxford All-Stars1703 Oxford All-Stars1705 Oxford All-Stars1707 Kenny Brown1708 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside1709 Kenny Brown & Duwayne Burnside
Going the Old Hudsonville Road from Hudsonville to Holly Springs proved to be a mistake, because more than half the distance between the two communities was gravel, but the road did take me into a neighborhood of Holly Springs that I had never seen before, an area to the east of the Rust College campus where there were several churches, a Roman Catholic school and a juke joint called Cu-Man’s. But for some reason, the crowd on the square on this particular Thursday was far less than it had been the last time I went a couple of weeks before. Through an error, the people in charge of the weekly event had booked two different bands for the same time slot, so the Oxford All-Stars opened up the evening, playing a lot of Motown and Memphis classics, and a couple of blues, and then they were followed by Hill Country veteran Kenny Brown, with Cameron Kimbrough (son of Kinney Kimbrough and grandson of Junior) on drums, and Garry Burnside ( son of R. L.) on bass. After a few songs, they were joined on stage by Garry’s brother Duwayne Burnside, who did several of the Hill Country classics with the band. As the temperatures cooled off, the crowd around the square grew larger, and the final song featured Cameron’s dad Kent “Kinney” Kimbrough on drums.

The Ruins of Hudsonville

Abandoned, Blues, History, Photography

001 Hudsonville002 Hudsonville003 Hudsonville004 Hudsonville005 Hudsonville006 Hudsonville007 Hudsonville008 Hudsonville009 Hudsonville
On my way to Holly Springs, Mississippi for a blues event, I decided to travel a slightly different way in order to check out the town of Hudsonville on Highway 7, intriguing to me as it was the place where the legendary Hill Country bluesman Junior Kimbrough was from. Unfortunately, not much of Hudsonville is left. There’s one small store at a crossroads on Highway 7 outside the town, but if one follows the road to the railroad tracks, there are only ruins of a couple of buildings beside the railroad track, which is itself abandoned as well. Because the buildings are in such poor shape, it is impossible to tell what they were. One appears to have perhaps been a store, and the other, maybe a railroad building of some sort. A short distance away is one other building, in relatively good shape, which a sign says is a polling place for local elections. Other than that, there is nothing left of Hudsonville at all.

Bringing Art To The Neighborhoods in Memphis

Art, Artists, Arts, Basketball, Community Organizing, Graffiti, Graffiti Art, Hip Hop, Murals, Redevelopment

1665 The Mound1667 Golden Wildcats1669 Community Pride1671 Melrose Friends1673 Dreams Matter We Matter1675 Beltline1677 Run It Back1679 Binghampton1681 D-Up Who's Got Next1682 Dream Big Work Hard1683 On These Courts1685 Herion Young1687 Revival1689 Evergreen Wall1691 Rex21693 Metal Fingers Krew1695 King Tut1697 Evergreen1699 Evergreen Wall
This has been a relatively rough year for Memphis, and yet one of the more uplifting things I have noticed has been the spreading of neighborhood-based outdoor artworks and murals. While this has been going on for several years, it has virtually exploded this summer. I was not pleased with the demolition of the historic W. C. Handy Theatre in Orange Mound, but it did cheer me to see the orange-and-white public art on the bricks that remain from the foundation at the site. The slogans emphasize pride in the Orange Mound community and its high school, Melrose. A brightly-colored mural a few blocks away carries a timely message: “Dreams Matter, We Matter”. Just north of the railroad tracks, the historic Beltline neighborhood is celebrated in a building-length mural on the wall of a grocery store. In Binghampton, the artwork near the basketball courts celebrates the game of basketball, for which The Hamp is known, being the neighborhood of Anfernee Hardaway. But perhaps the most striking effort was the long series of murals on the inside flood wall along Chelsea between McLean and Evergreen in the Evergreen neighborhood. The different panels celebrate many different aspects of hip-hop culture or Memphis culture, with the word “REVIVAL” prominently featured in the first one. It is an appropriate slogan for a city that is long overdue for renewal.

Hate at InLOVE Memphis with Jason Da Hater

Artists, Arts, band, drum solo, Drummers, drumming, Drums, Dub, entertainment, Event, Funk, Hip Hop, music, musicians, night club, R & B, rap, Reggae, Restaurants, soul, venues, videos

001 CCDE002 CCDE003 Hardface with CCDE004 CCDE005 Hardface006 CCDE007 CCDE008 CCDE009 Fuller's Back010 Fuller's Back014 CCDE015 CCDE016 CCDE017 CCDE018 CCDE019 CCDE020 CCDE021 CCDE022 CCDE023 CBeyohn024 CBeyohn025 CBeyohn026 CBeyohn027 CBeyohn028 CBeyohn030 CBeyohn031 CBeyohn032 CCDE033 CBeyohn034 Jason Da Hater035 Jason Da Hater036 Jason Da Hater037 Jason Da Hater038 Jason Da Hater039 Jason Da Hater042 Jason Da Hater044 Jason Da Hater045 Jason Da Hater046 Jason Da Hater047 CBeyohn & Jason The Hater048 Jason Da Hater049 Jason Da Hater050 Jason Da Hater051 Hater Swag052 InLOVE Memphis053 InLOVE MemphisThe Chinese Connection Dub Embassy live at @inlovememphis @ccdevibes #LiveFromMemphis #MemphisMusicMemphis rap artist Fulla at @inlovememphis #MemphisMusic #LiveFromMemphisPositive vibrations with @ccdevibes at @inlovememphis #LiveFromMemphis #MemphisMusicRapper @cbeyohn live at @inlovememphis #LiveFromMemphis #MemphisMusicMemphis MC @jasondahater at @inlovememphis #LiveFromMemphis #MemphisMusicMemphis hip-hop stars @jasondahater and @cbeyohn live at @inlovememphis #LiveFromMemphis #MemphisMusic #Memphop
InLOVE Memphis is one of Memphis' most elegant clubs, but it is not usually the venue for any kind of rap music, so I was somewhat surprised when I saw that a rap concert called Fall In Love Memphis was being held there. But it was also no ordinary rap concert, as the rappers were to be backed by the Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Memphis' superb dub band. The show was hosted by Memphis comedian/rapper/actor Elliot "Hardface" Nelson, and opened up with a rapper named Fuller's Back, who did a couple of songs. Memphis hip-hop artist CBeyohn was next, featuring the Chinese Connection's drummer Donnon Johnson on an amazing solo at the front of one of the songs. But the headliner for the night was Memphis veteran Jason Da Hater, well-known for his unique image and "hater" persona. Despite being introduced as the "worst MC in Memphis" and his appearance on stage being greeted by a chorus of boos (per his instructions), Jason is actually one of the city's most gifted MC's, and demonstrated that fact during his fairly brief set of some six or so songs. It was a night of great lyrics and great musicianship in an upscale, grown-folks environment.

The 4 Soul Band Live at The All-New Sports Junction In Midtown

Artists, band, entertainment, Food, Funk, History, music, musicians, musicology, night club, R & B, Restaurants, soul, Sports, venues, videos

001 4 Soul Band002 4 Soul Band003 4 Soul Band004 4 Soul Band005 4 Soul Band006 4 Soul Band008 4 Soul Band009 4 Soul Band010 4 Soul Band011 Otis Logan012 4 Soul Band013 4 Soul Band014 4 Soul Band015 4 Soul Band016 4 Soul Band017 4 Soul Band018 4 Soul Band021 Sports Junction022 Sports Junction023 Sports Junction024 Sports Junction
The old brick building at 1911 Poplar Avenue plays a large role in Memphis music history. It was the home of Kang Rhee martial arts, where Elvis Presley once took lessons. Then it became the Hi-Tone, one of Memphis’ most beloved music venues in the modern era. Finally, after a few years of vacancy, it has reopened as Sports Junction, ostensibly a sports bar, but with a music stage and hookahs. The live music policy is relatively hip, featuring the latest incarnation of Otis Logan’s 4 Soul Band, as the original line-up had lost members to the cruise ship business. This version featured a saxophone and a trombonist, the latter of which was also one of the evening’s two vocalists. The new 4 Soul line-up sounds as good as the old, and the new venue is pleasant, even if the old, divey feel it had in its days as the Hi-Tone has been replaced by a brighter feel. There is also a food menu, although I didn’t try any of the food options, and at least on this past Saturday, there was no cover charge for the live music. However, the venue is 21 and up only, and I did see two younger women turned away at the door.

Sports Junction
1911 Poplar Av
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 224-7904

Blues In The Grove At Oxford

Artists, Arts, Bands, Blues, Concert Reviews, Concerts, Dance, entertainment, Event, folk, Folklore, Funk, Gospel, jazz, music, musicians, musicology, rock, roots, soul, videos

001 Doc Prana Trio002 Doc Prana Trio004 Doc Prana Trio005 Doc Prana Trio006 Doc Prana Trio007 Doc Prana Trio008 Zediker Brothers010 Oxford Blues Fest011 Oxford Blues Fest012 Oxford Blues Fest013 Oxford Blues Fest014 Zediker Brothers015 Oxford Blues Fest016 Oxford Blues Fest017 Oxford Blues Fest018 Oxford Blues Fest019 Oxford Blues Fest020 Zediker Brothers021 Zediker Brothers022 Oxford Blues Fest023 Oxford Blues Fest025 Bobby Ray Watson026 Bobby Ray Watson027 Bobby Ray Watson028 Bobby Ray Watson029 Bobby Ray Watson030 Bobby Ray Watson032 Bobby Ray Watson033 Oxford Blues Fest034 Bobby Ray Watson035 Sherena038 Bobby Ray Watson039 Oxford Blues Fest040 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones041 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones042 Joyce Jones043 Joyce Jones044 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones045 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones046 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones047 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones048 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones049 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones050 Joyce Jones051 Bobby Ray Watson052 Sherena053 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones054 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones056 Bobby Ray Watson & Joyce Jones057 Oxford Blues Fest058 Bobby Ray Watson059 Oxford Blues Fest061 Cadillac Funk062 Cadillac Funk063 Cadillac Funk064 Cadillac Funk065 Cadillac Funk066 Cadillac Funk067 Cadillac Funk068 Cadillac Funk069 Cadillac Funk070 Cadillac Funk071 Cadillac Funk072 Cadillac Funk073 Cadillac Funk074 Cadillac Funk075 Cadillac Funk076 Cadillac Funk077 Cadillac Funk078 Cadillac Funk079 Cadillac Funk082 Cadillac Funk & Joyce Jones083 Cadillac Funk084 Sherena Boyce085 Joyce Jones086 Sherena Boyce & Cadillac Funk087 Joyce Jones & Cadillac Funk088 Sherena & Cadillac Funk089 Sherena & Cadillac Funk091 Cadillac Funk & Sherena Boyce & Joyce Jones092 Cadillac Funk093 Cadillac Funk094 Cadillac Funk095 Como Mamas097 Como Mamas098 Como Mamas099 Como Mamas100 Como Mamas101 Como Mamas102 Como Mamas103 Oxford Blues Fest104 Oxford Blues Fest105 Puppy Love106 Puppy Love107 Blind Mississippi Morris108 Blind Mississippi Morris109 Blind Mississippi Morris110 Blind Mississippi Morris112 Oxford Blues Fest1623 Doc Prana Trio1625 Zediker Brothers1627 Oxford Blues Fest1630 Bobby Ray Watson1632 Cadillac Funk1634 Joyce Jones & Cadillac Funk1636 Sherena Boyce & Cadillac Funk1638 Como Mamas1640 Blind Mississippi Morris
The Oxford Blues Festival was not held on the Square this year, as I would have expected, but rather on the Grove on the Ole Miss campus, and a good thing, since the entire Mid-South was under a heat advisory and the sun was beating down fiercely. Perhaps as a result, when I first got there, the crowd was rather small, and that despite the fact that the festival was also free. But as the day progressed, from the jazz of Doc Prana, to the bluesy rock of the Zediker Brothers, to the folk blues of Bobby Ray Watson (who had studied with Mississippi Joe Callicott), the crowd grew steadily in numbers and enthusiasm, and ever so slowly the heat began to subside. Female blues singer Joyce Jones was in the audience, and was called up on stage by Bobby Ray Watson and by Cadillac Funk to feature on a couple of songs. Then the Como Mamas came on stage to do some a cappella gospel numbers, and the afternoon was closed out by Blind Mississippi Morris as the sun was setting. Although there was a headline act for later in the evening, the people I was with wanted to head back to the Square for dinner. Despite the outrageous heat, it was a fun day of blues in a beautiful, shady setting.

Keep up with the Oxford Blues Festival:
http://oxfordbluesfest.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oxford-Blues-Festival/149263388461540

Keep up with the Zediker Brothers:
https://www.facebook.com/TheZedikerBrothers
https://thezedikerbrothers.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/randomiteversion2

Keep up with Cadillac Funk:
http://www.cadillacfunk.net
https://www.facebook.com/cadillacfunkband
https://www.reverbnation.com/cadillacfunk

Keep up with the Como Mamas:
http://daptonerecords.com/comomamas/
https://www.facebook.com/thecomomamas

https://thecomomamas.bandcamp.com

Keep up with Blind Mississippi Morris:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blind-Mississippi-Morris/180262462022644
https://myspace.com/blindmississippimorris

Hill Country Blues in Benton County on a Very Hot Day

Artists, Arts, band, Blues, Concert Reviews, Concerts, entertainment, Event, folk, Folklore, Food, music, musicians, musicology, videos

001 Ashland002 Willie Mitchell Marker003 Old Benton County Courthouse004 Arts Beats & Eats005 Ashland006 Ashland007 Ashland008 Ashland009 Old Benton County Courthouse010 Ashland011 El Rancho012 Hill Country Project013 Hill Country Project014 Snow Lake Building015 Ashland016 Ashland017 Ashland018 Old Benton County Courthouse019 Old Benton County Courthouse020 Ashland021 Old Benton County Courthouse022 Ashland023 Ashland024 Ashland025 Garry Burnside026 Ashland027 Ashland028 The Brooks Firm029 Our Club Constitution030 Ashland031 Ashland032 Ashland033 Ashland034 Sherena & Her Niece036 Garry Burnside037 Little Joe Ayers038 Garry Burnside039 Little Joe Ayers040 Ashland043 Garry Burnside044 Little Joe Ayers046 Mark "Muleman" Massey & Little Joe Ayers047 Mark "Muleman" Massey048 Little Joe Ayers049 Garry Burnside050 Mark "Muleman" Massey051 Mark "Muleman" Massey052 Mark "Muleman" Massey053 Mark "Muleman" Massey054 Mark "Muleman" Massey055 Mark "Muleman" Massey056 Mark "Muleman" Massey057 Ashland058 Mark "Muleman" Massey059 Mark "Muleman" Massey060 Ashland061 Ashland062 Ashland063 Ashland066 Mark "Muleman" Massey067 Ashland068 Mark "Muleman" Massey069 Old Benton County Courthouse070 Ashland071 Ashland072 Old Benton County Courthouse073 Old Benton County Courthouse074 Ashland076 Sherena077 Mark "Muleman" Massey078 Garry Burnside079 Mark "Muleman" Massey080 Mark "Muleman" Massey1601 Arts Beats & Eats1603 Old Benton County Courthouse1604 Garry Burnside1609 Little Joe Ayers & Garry Burnside1611 Little Joe Ayers1613 Mark "Muleman" Massey1616 Garry Burnside1619 Ashland
Just to the east of Marshall County, Mississippi is Benton County and its county seat of Ashland, which are also part of the Mississippi Hill Country. However, unlike Marshall County, Benton County is remote, and not as well-known, even though musicians like Nathan Beauregard and Willie Mitchell were originally from there. Sparsely populated indeed, Benton County has never been much of a destination, with the exception of visits from civil rights workers during the 1960’s. However, efforts are being made to preserve the history of Benton County, and toward that end, a festival called Arts, Beats & Eats was held on July 11th in Ashland, to attract people to the courthouse square, which has certainly seen better days. The Benton County Courthouse moved out of the historic structure on the square to a former manufacturing plant on Highway 370, and many businesses seem to have done the same. Worse, the extreme heat on Saturday kept crowds down to a minimum, with the exception of those who were running for office. But blues legends Little Joe Ayers and Garry Burnside were among the musicians who came out to perform with Mark “Muleman” Massey, and as the sun sank lower in the sky, the crowd increased and the temperature decreased. One of the purposes of the festival was to raise funds for the renovation and restoration of the square in Ashland, which is an extremely worthwhile goal. Here’s hoping this summer event becomes an annual thing. Blues belongs in Benton County as well as Marshall County.

Keep up with Mark “Muleman” Massey:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Muleman-Massey/149276125153436