Well despite it being nearly 100 degrees at sundown and air so thick you could nearly encapsulate it your hands, we made it back from Meridian, Mississippi in one piece (we think). Manuel was invited by the Jimmie Rodgers foundation to present a lecture following the opening exhibit of Marty Stuart's "Sparkle and Twang". Manuel and crew has traveled to nearly every opening for this incredible collection. It was formerly on display at Nashville's very own Tennessee State Museum, the Gene Autry museum in L.A., and also Cleveland's notorious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We arrived in town Thursday and met up with our dear friends Kay and Philip who met us from New Orleans. We were thrilled to be in downtown Meridian for the presentation of Marty's "star" and also the private opening. Who knew that Meridian was home to such stars? Mississippi's own Sela Ward was present and had received her star earlier on that week. She was extremely gracious and friendly--stunning in person! The reception was lovely and we had no problem making ourselves at home at the food stand and bar. Later on, we discovered Chris Ethridge (original bassist of the Flying Burrito Brothers) was playing a set at the Echo Lounge. It was very cool to see him play, an extremely talented musician and rock n' roll royalty. Not to mention, an excellent host! The next day, we traveled to the neighboring town of Philadelphia -- home town of Marty and Jennifer Stuart. We couldn't miss up the opportunity of Choctaw crafts and seeing where are dear friends hail... Our crew made a day of it which included snow cones, antique stores, and maybe a few slot machines! (Clearly none of us won big or we'd still be on vacation!) Also, we checked out the Jimmie Rodgers museum which is a MUST SEE! They have a very cool, quirky exhibit. We all enjoyed it! That evening I must admit that we all enjoyed the confines of our hotel rooms and such luxuries as cable television (Manuel, Lalie, and Lauren Wray do not have network television.) Manuel had several interviews over the weekend... from radio to PBS to a young Yale student.
That Saturday, we made it over downtown to the enchanting Riley Center. This place is wonderful and the lecture went off without a hitch thanks to an engaging audience and the moderator and organizer, Betty Lou Jones. Thanks to all who came and was a part of this event. If you're in Meridian late July, be sure to see our buddies Merle Haggard and Marty who are playing there on the 25th.
! BIRDS OF A FEATHER, SIT TOGETHER!