B.B. King Homecoming Festival: Blues, Bikes & BBQ! – Indianola, MS

B.B. King Homecoming Festival: Blues, Bikes & BBQ! – Indianola, MS.

Steve Azar

Way back when I was too young to date, but certainly old enough to be interested in boys, there wasn’t a lot that you could do in my small town of Greenville, MS if you didn’t yet have a driver’s license. There were a couple of options. You could go to the Cinema 1 & 82 to see a movie, but that was a little dangerous when you’re weren’t quite sure how the whole “kissing” thing was supposed to work, or you could go roller skating. For timid yet eager pre-teens, this was the perfect opportunity to “date” without worrying about the logistics of it all. Our venue of choice was the Skate-O-Rama, and man, do I have some great memories of that place. You really weren’t anyone in the skating crowd unless you had a boy to hold hands with as you went round and round and round.  And if you got to skate with that boy when the lights dimmed and a cheesy song played, that meant you were “going together”.

One summer, when I was around 12 years old, I had the good fortune to catch the eye of a boy named Steve Azar, and we held hands and skated together for (get this) TWO SATURDAYS IN A ROW! But alas…I had to go out of town with my parents one weekend, and when I returned to the Skate-O-Rama, I discovered that my place in Steve’s heart had been usurped by another girl. A blond girl (oh yes, I remember). I was inconsolable as only a young girl can be…for about a week, until I found a new skating partner. Life did indeed go on after Steve, although I’m quite sure he regretted his decision to replace me for a really long time. (What? You think he doesn’t even remember me? No way!)

While still in high school, Steve formed The Steve Azar Band, which was THE local band of choice for several years. Because of his exceptional talent, extreme dedication to his craft, and a burning drive to succeed, Steve is now a recording artist living and working in Nashville, TN. Steve has worked with some of the greatest musicians around, such as Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Bob Seger, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Montgomery Gentry, just to name a few. His latest album is called “Slide on Over Here” and features a song I just never seem to get tired of, called “Sunshine”. Have a listen:

In addition to catching one of Steve’s live shows, you can also see him on television, co-starring on The Golf Channel series Playing Lessons. Golf Digest ranks him as one the top-five golfing musicians, along with entertainers Rudy Gatlin, Marty Roe (Diamond Rio), Vince Gill, and saxophonist Kenny G. Learn more about Steve here (and check out some more great videos and photos, because the guy is definitely HOT).

Blue Mother Tupelo

I love happy accidents. A couple of years ago my baby sister celebrated her 30th birthday at a great place in Merigold MS called Crawdad’s. Crawdad’s has a party loft with its own private bar which is where our festivities were held, and it’s open to the restaurant and stage below. In the midst of our celebration music began to play, and everyone at the party stopped in mid-sentence, then gathered at the railing to get a better look. As it happened, we were lucky enough to have the party on the same night that Blue Mother Tupelo were playing. I’d never heard of them before, but now I’m a fan for life. BMT is made up of a husband and wife duo, Ricky and Micol Davis. Ricky’s slide guitar mastery and Micol’s angelic voice blend together in such perfect harmony…well, just listen for yourself. No description of mine could ever do them justice. This video was shot in a stairwell; no special effects, no fancy camera work (in fact, you can often hear movement around them). Just Ricky and Micol, sitting on the stairs, singing a song. But as soon as the song begins, you’re in another place entirely. A very happy place.

Learn more about Blue Mother Tupelo here. They’ll be playing this Thursday night June 10 at The Pickled Okra in Cleveland MS. Maybe I’ll see y’all there!