When Elvis returned to Tupelo for his 1956 Homecoming concert, he performed at the Mississippi/Alabama Fair and Dairy Show Fairgrounds, now known as Fairpark. Each Elvis Festival, we strive to bring talented, up-and-coming artists, such as Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town, B.B. King, Trent Harmon and J Roddy Walston and the Business, to perform in the exact location Elvis returned to over 60 years ago.
Muscadine Bloodline's Gary Stanton and Charlie Muncaster both grew up playing music in Mobile, Alabama, with mutual friends saying they should connect. But their first official meeting didn't happen until about six years ago, when Muncaster's college band was playing a show in Mobile and needed an opening act. Stanton got the call. During his junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, Stanton started his own band and the two began swapping opening slots and writing together.
After graduation in 2015, Stanton headed to Nashville while Muncaster commuted from Alabama to play and write with him. In October of that year, Muncaster made his move and, the very next week, the guys were in the studio cutting three songs. Muscadine Bloodline became a reality upon their release in December 2015, and “we haven't looked back since,” Stanton says.
They have, however, spent most of their weekends on the road, gigging across the Southland because they believe in making their fans the old-fashioned way: by earning them, one at a time. “We really want to 'grassroots' Muscadine Bloodline,” Muncaster says. “It’s cool to watch it grow town by town — coming back to a town and more people are there. That is hard to do these days, but it truly is the definition of staying true to yourself and the music you put out.”
With a soulfulness in their harmonies and a catchiness in their hooks, the music Muscadine Bloodline puts out echoes the combination of classic country and Southern rock they both grew up listening to, from the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Eric Church and Blackberry Smoke.
Unlike many artists in contemporary country, Muscadine Bloodline leans away from frivolity and into earnestness, a reflection of their own lives and loves. Thinking about country music, Stanton notes, “I fell in love with the stories, not the sound. As a writer, it is cool to put myself in a situation, whether it directly applies to me or not. That’s why I love country music and that’s why we love writing about real topics, instead of party anthems.”
Muscadine Bloodline's brand of country music tells stories of new highways and old memories. As their own story is only just beginning, how do they hope it all unfolds? “We’d be lying if we said we wouldn’t want to be the most successful duo there ever was, but we just really want to play good, honest music that moves hearts and not hips,”
Bishop Gunn of Natchez, Mississippi, is rooted in the history and sounds of their home and the surrounding Delta, and features a blend of rock and roll, soul and blues. The group consists of vocalist Travis McCready, Drew Smithers on guitar, Ben Lewis on bass and Burne Sharp on drums.
In 2017, the band appeared on Kid Rock’s 8th Annual “Chillin’ the Most Cruise” and was voted the best band on the boat by the “chillers.” The group went on to do commercial film for Southern Comfort in Clarksdale, Mississippi and spent their summer touring. In September, Bishop Gunn took the stage at the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, Tennessee alongside artists like Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder, Mavis Staples and Gary Clark Jr. The band then played Laid Back Festival dates with Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Jimmie Vaughan, The Gregg Allman Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Bishop Gunn is anticipating the release of their first full-length album in May 2018. They worked on the release with Grammy Award-winning producers Casey Wasner and Mark Neill at legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and FAME Studios, as well as The Purple House in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. The band is also looking forward to lots of touring this year, including performances at SXSW, The Peach Fest, returning to Kid Rock’s 9th Annual “Chillin’ the Most Cruise,” opening dates for Blackberry Smoke and many others.
Memphis Jones is an international performing artist, recognized Delta music historian, keynote speaker, and Christian minister who grew up immersed in the rich heritage and culture of the southern United States. He is a regular entertainer on Beale Street at BB King's Blues Club in Memphis, Tennessee and has performed his Memphis Music Review all around the world, including in the Philippines, Europe, Canada, and throughout the Caribbean.
Spunk Monkees have grown to become a bonding musical tradition for all types of people throughout Northeast Mississippi and beyond! From Anchorage, Alaska to Key West, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada and everywhere in-between, Matt Nolan, Jody Lindsey, Mark Lynam and Shaun Miller have made the Spunk Monkees synonymous with partying, good music, and good times.
Spunk Monkees got their start in the small town of Myrtle, Mississippi, in the early 90’s as a country band called Misbehavin’. They released an album of original material and played hundreds of country shows, but ultimately the rock and roll rebel within could not be denied and Spunk Monkees was born. With a set heavy in feel-good covers and party songs, “the Spunks” worked hard to become the ultimate party band in North Mississippi.
The band is known for it’s live shows, where solid musicianship, high-energy performance, and top quality production results in a stage show that emulates the rock legends they grew up adoring.
This culminated in a night they will never forget in May 2011, where Spunk Monkees opened up for rock legends Poison and Warrant at Poison’s 25th Anniversary Tour kick-off date in Tupelo, Mississippi. The band gained wide acclaim for their inspired performance and carved out their own spot on the arena stage with their heroes.
That’s a reputation the band has established and developed through hard work and endless touring throughout their 20+ year history. With relentless effort and high expectations, the Spunk Monkees are eager to see what rewards the future will bring.