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Delta Music Institute Archives - News and Events

Blue Sky Studios producer featured in upcoming DMI All Access

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host producer and Blue Sky Studios owner Casey Combest Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in Studio B for an interactive discussion and Q&A as part of the DMI All Access series.

DMI All Access is a series of open forums and lectures throughout the academic year featuring industry professionals from various areas of the music business. The event is hosted by Richard Tremmel and is open to the public at no charge.

As a producer and audio engineer, Combest has plenty of incentive for keeping the local recording industry thriving. In 2002, he began recording music in his dorm during his freshmen year at Mississippi College, which allowed him to explore his interest in recording gear and to demo music for his own band.

While Combest has produced music under the Blue Sky Studios moniker since 2009, he decided to focus on recording full-time in 2013, shortly after he and his wife moved to Jackson. Currently, he has a steady stream of studio projects, both in and outside of music, which he divides between himself and engineer Justin Patterson and editor Bobby Hansford, based on their different sensibilities.

Combest says there’s a surprising level of cooperation between recording studios in the Jackson area. He often rents studio time from Malaco Records, and has also had a hand in developing country/bluegrass trio Long Time Coming, made up of three brothers enrolled in the DMI entertainment industry program at Delta State.

“It’s easy when you first start to think recording is about the gear or even about the end product,” said Combest. “While that’s vastly important, what’s most important is the people and helping them tell their story, helping them achieve what they want to achieve.”

In addition to running his studio, Combest also created and hosts a podcast called ‘Made in Mississippi’ that focuses on entrepreneurs who are building, and have built, successful businesses within the state. Season 3, sponsored by C Spire, launches this month.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Thacker Mountain Radio returns to DMI

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The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program at Delta State University will host the award-winning Thacker Mountain Radio Show March 3 at 3 p.m. in Studio A on the campus of Delta State.

The event marks the tenth year for the Thacker in the Delta event, which serves as a fundraising event in support of DMI programming and the Duff Dorrough Memorial Scholarship fund.

This year’s featured author will be legendary record producer and musician Norbert Putnam, who will be reading from his recent release, “Music Lessons Vol. 1: A Musical Memoir.”

Putnam grew up near Florence, Alabama and was part of the Muscle Shoals musicians brought to Nashville to play for Elvis Presley in 1965. Putnam worked there as a bass player on recording sessions with Presley, Roy Orbison, Al Hirt, Henry Mancini, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, J.J. Cale, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Michael Card, Ian & Sylvia and Bobby Goldsboro.

As a producer, Putnam was responsible for copious work on Nashville’s non-country music output from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. His credits include major works that established the popularity of performers such as Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, John Hiatt, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Putnam was instrumental in the wave of modernization of many recording studios in Nashville, and laid the groundwork for the city’s growth and widening its appeal to pop/rock artist and virtually all other styles of music. Putnam drew the unique plans for the recording studios at the DMI at Delta State, and he is still an active touring musician, record producer and author. He resides in Florence, Alabama with his wife Sheryl. His most recent book was published in early 2017.

Also featured at the event will be Tom Kimmel. Kimmel’s compositions have been recorded by a host of major artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Art Garfunkel and Randy Travis. They’ve been featured in films from “Twins” to “Serendipity” and Runaway Bride, and in television shows from “Captain Kangaroo” and “Touched By An Angel” to “Dawson’s Creek.” He has released seven solo albums, published a book of poems and led songwriting workshops and classes around the country and in Europe. A New Folk winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Kimmel performs solo, as well as performing with his different trios, The Sherpas (with Tom Prasada-Rao and Michael Lille), The Waymores  (with Don Henry and Sally Barris), and The New Agrarians  (with Kate Campbell and Pierce Pettis).

In addition to the featured guests, DeltaRoX from the DMI and Tricia Walker will also perform. Thacker Mountain Radio is hosted by Jim Dees and features the show’s talented house band, The Yalobushwhackers.

Thacker in the Delta is open to the public at no charge, but gifts and donations to the Friends of DMI fund are encouraged. For online giving, please visit www.deltastategiving.org and enter Delta Music Institute in the search field.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Fighting Okra Records selects MIC HARGROVE as feature artist

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Fighting Okra Records, the student run record label within the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University, has selected its recording artist for 2018. FOR is excited to announce MIC HARGROVE as the label’s newest featured artist.

MIC HARGROVE, born Michael Hargrove, is a modern day hip-hop and soul music renaissance man hailing from Grenada, Mississippi. With years of experience under his belt, Hargrove is looking to expand his career through FOR.

Hargrove is a DMI student in pursuit of the goals he preaches in his music.

“It feels like a great opportunity to represent my family, town, state and school on a level that I’ve never seen before,” said Hargrove. “I’m most excited about the relationships that I will gain with my fellow students within FOR that will last long after we graduate.”

Hargrove has been influenced by the struggles of small-town Southern living but carries himself with the bravado of a seasoned performer. By incorporating his love for live band performances, he has seamlessly blended his admiration for modern hip-hop music with the sounds of authentic musicianship.

The label’s selection followed the public search for artists across Mississippi who submitted their work for a chance to perform in a final showcase. A panel of judges scored the performances of the top five applicants, and after much deliberation, Hargrove was chosen through the highly-competitive audition process.

Fighting Okra Records’ purpose is to provide a practical, real-world entertainment industry experience to DMI students. Its mission is to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music and entertainment industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience. For more information on Fighting Okra Records, visit fightingokrarecords.com, and follow FightingOkraRecords on Facebook and OkraRecords on Twitter.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information about the DMI or Fighting Okra Records, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Legendary tour manager Paul Abraham scheduled for DMI All Access

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The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host musician and legendary tour manager Paul Abraham Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. in Studio B of the DMI for an interactive discussion and Q&A as part of the DMI All Access series.

DMI All Access is a series of open forums and lectures throughout the academic year featuring industry professionals from various areas of the music business.

Having grown up in the Mississippi Delta, Abraham’s interest in music flourished. He was influenced by a wide range of sounds — from classical to classic rock, from country to bluegrass, from big band to jazz. The first concert he attended was the Beatles, and from that moment on, Abraham knew that he wanted to be involved in live music.

He eventually met Ronnie Van Zant and the Lynyrd Skynyrd band and began to tour with the survivors of the 1977 plane crash. He went on to tour with other artists, including Bad Company, the Marshall Tucker Band, 38 Special, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Paul Rodgers, the Barefoot Servants and Michael Peterson. Additionally, he spent a dozen years, off and on, with Billy Ray Cyrus.

Abraham’s life has been filled with adventures most can only dream about, and his stories of touring with legendary musicians, meeting some of his heroes, and forming friendships with a diverse group of people, is the subject of Abraham’s new book, “The Gospel According To Abraham: From Delta Boy To Tour Manager.”

This DMI All Access event, hosted by Charly Abraham, Paul’s cousin, is open to the public at no charge.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

DMI to offer “Meet the Beatles!” class in spring 2018

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, President | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute will be offering a “Meet the Beatles!” course in the Spring 2018 semester at Delta State University.

The class will be an overview of the Beatles, both individually and collectively, as well a study of their music and influence on the society of the 1960s. The course will be taught by Charles Abraham, instructor of entertainment industry studies, with guest lectures by additional Delta State faculty and staff, including President William N. LaForge.

“Meet the Beatles!” is open to all students, regardless of major. The syllabus has been reviewed and approved by John Lennon’s half-sister, Julia Baird, and by personnel at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.

Both Abraham and LaForge saw the Beatles perform in concert in 1966 — Abraham in Memphis for the famous “Cherry Bomb” show and LaForge 10 days later in San Francisco, at the final Beatles concert.

The course number is DMI 492-01 (CRN 19154), and counts for three academic credit hours. The class will meet at 11 a.m. on MWF in the Whitfield Building, room 204. There are a few seats still available. The course may be counted as a general elective for most degree programs on campus.

“I have had a great time preparing this class,” said Abraham. “It seems like all my music friends want to teach it, so come ready to talk about the Beatles while enjoying and discussing some great music. This class is a tribute to the band that started it all.”

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences of Delta State University. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information about the program, contact the DMI at 662-846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu.