Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition

Posted By on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition played White Water Tavern Friday night.
  • Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition played White Water Tavern Friday night.

Jimbo Mathus is a Southerner and a natural born citizen of the State of Mississippi. You don’t have to be around him or his music very long to learn those facts. He does have numerous Arkansas connections, certainly not the least of those is his wife. I have heard him refer to himself as “the Arkansas son-in-law.” His unabashed comfort and pride in his origins is just one of Jimbo’s many charms but it is what charms me most about what he and his band, The Tri-State Coalition, are doing.

Friday night’s show at White Water Tavern was a celebration of what was and still is right with the South and Southern culture. Mathus seems to have a vast understanding and great reverence for a variety of Southern musical traditions. He does not, however, allow those traditions to weigh him down like some historical re-enactor might, and he certainly makes no attempt to keep those traditions separate. Mathus calls this updated amalgamation “catfish music for the masses.” If he ran a catfish house, I’m pretty sure it would be the kind of place that had no pretention whatsoever. It would be the kind of place that has a roll of paper towels right there on the table, stocks more than one type of hot sauce, and serves cold beer in 40 oz. bottles. You know, that semi-secret destination kind of place where friends will drive for miles to meet up and have a great meal and a great time. Mathus’s brand of” catfish” music serves up that kind of “forget your troubles” experience.

More after the jump.

The show kicked off with “Shady Dealing,” a revved-up honky-tonk number that does indeed give a mention to dog racing over in West Memphis. They went into “Cling to the Roots” next, a large-sound country song that mentions recent tragedies, including the BP gulf oil spill and the flooding of Nashville in 2010. The song doesn’t dwell on the tragedy, instead offering several imperatives on how to see oneself though it all. “Tell it to the Judge” and “Leash My Pony,” followed, the latter of which I suspect may well be a tip of the hat to Charley Patton’s early blues classic “Pony Blues.” The first set also included the beer-drinking retro country sound of “Time with No Shame” and the deep-fried southern -funk of “Kine Joe.” By the end of the first set everyone in the room was shaking it.

The second set was every bit as strong and included “Wheel upon Wheel,” “Sop My Gravy “ and the absolutely infectious “Jimmy the Kid.” The audience was also treated to new material from Mathus’ current project, “White Buffalo.” There’s a Kickstarter campaign going to fund this album, and if what I heard at White Water is any indication, a contribution would be a sound investment. But don’t take my word for it, check out the “Letter from Jimbo” video on the Kickstarter website. Late in the second set, Arkansas guitar legend and the pride of Pangburn, Greg Spradlin, came up on stage to sit in for a few songs including an utterly badass version of Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land.”

Skinny, scrawny Mathus has such a big, fat larger-than-life personality that it can be easy to overlook the rest of the Tri-State Coalition, but don’t make that mistake. They’re one hell of a band and a perfect fit for Mathus. The boys in the band play together tighter than the bark on a tree and they all look like they mean business, which provides a contrasting backdrop for Jimbo’s light-up-the-room, gold-toothed smile. Justin Showah lays down the firm foundation on bass with workman-like precision and intensity. Arkansas’s own Matt Pierce provides lead guitar work and at time looks like he might actually be wringing the neck of that sea foam green Fender Telecaster (complete with non-copyright-infringing red wild hog stencil ). Eric Carlton fills out the sound with his effortless-sounding keyboard work. A new drummer for this tour, Ryan Rogers, seemed to be holding his own and maybe even a little extra.

It may border on cliché, but a great deal of Southern music, whether it is blues, country, bluegrass, gospel or rockabilly, so often seems to be about finding a way to lay your troubles down and feel good, if even for just a little while. I have to say, that thanks to Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition, I left the White Water Tavern on Friday night feeling good, without a trouble in sight.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Joe Meazle

  • Charles Portis' "Norwood" at 50: A Review

    The 50th Anniversary celebration of Portis' "Norwood" is precisely the type of unique, multifaceted, Southern-focused programming that many of us have hoped to see from the partnership between Oxford American and South on Main.
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • A new era for Riverfest

    In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • Songwriter among songwriters

    Keith Sykes plays South on Main.
    • Apr 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation