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Singer-Songwriters to tell of Mississippi’s role in the country scene

By June 6, 2007General

Tricia Walker

Davis Raines

Billy Ray Reynolds

Three successful country music performing songwriters will discuss their craft and the role Mississippi and Mississippians have played in shaping their music on Monday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m. at The Bean Counter in Cleveland.

Made possible through the Mississippi Humanities Council, with funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the event will feature Tricia Walker, Davis Raines and Billy Ray Reynolds and is free and open to the public.  
Walker, now Director of Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute, will facilitate the discussion. She has designed the discussion after the famous “Bluebird in the Round” events that are held at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, where she lived for many years. Tricia’s songs have been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss, whose performance of Tricia’s “Looking in the Eyes of Love” earned a Grammy. A recording artist herself, Tricia’s newest CD, “The Heart of Dixie,” captures her own view of growing up in the South.
Singer-songwriter Davis Raines didn’t get around to a music career until his mid-30s, after he decided to leave behind his job as a captain of a maximum-security prison in Alabama, where, for a time, he was in charge of Death Row. The music on his critically acclaimed debut CD, Big Shiny Cars,” includes hardcore tunes like “Working Homicide’’ and “Hell for Breakfast and Last Hard Man in Elmore County.” His songs have been recorded by Kenny Rogers, Pam Tillis and Pat Green. He recently co-presented “Poetry of the People: Country Music Lyrics and American Social Change” at the 2007 Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration.

As an actor, musician, songwriter, and screenplay writer, Mount Olive native Billy Ray Reynolds uses every means available to record and conserve a balance of historic, natural and personal history. A legendary songwriter, Reynolds has had his work recorded by some of country music’s finest including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker and John Conlee. His own songwriting resonates with the appreciation he has for the purpose and intent of a country song. "I think that’s just what country music is. It’s about the heritage. It’s about the common man, the working man that built our country,” he contends.

This discussion of country music and the lives of singer-songwriters is part of a weeklong workshop featuring the music and musicians from Mississippi. Funded by the Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the workshop is presented by the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.

Twenty teachers from around the state will explore the rich musical heritage of Mississippi, from shape note singing through the Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock, opera, classical, pop, R&B, and hip-hop to learning how to use Mississippi’s music as a tool to better engage students in the history of our state. For more information about the workshop, contact the Delta Center at 662-846-4311.