Former Jacksonian Wins 2018 Blues Challenge

Mississippi blues societies may not have earned top marks at this year’s International Blues Challenge. However, at least one name on the winner’s list has close ties to the Magnolia State. The Keeshea Pratt Band represented the Houston Blues Society at the 2018 IBC in January, taking first-place in the band category, but local music fans will best remember singer Pratt from her tenure in Jackson. She grew up in the capital city, and attended Callaway High School and Tougaloo College. Pratt began singing at about 6 years old and officially launched her professional music career in 2008. Continue Reading

Young Valley Releases New Single

The twang-a-rang has come back around again. Jackson alternative-country act Young Valley released its latest single, “Hang Me,” via YouTube on Wednesday, Jan. 24. The song, a longtime fan favorite at concerts, is the first new recorded material from the band’s core trio—lead guitarist Dylan Lovett, acoustic guitarist Zach Lovett and drummer Spencer Thomas—since their debut album, “No Filter,” in November 2014. “Hang Me” is the lead-off track from Young Valley’s upcoming self-titled sophomore album, which the band recorded at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Miss. The record is scheduled for release on April 20 and is currently available for pre-order on Dial Back Sound’s website. Continue Reading

Brandon Amphitheater Announces Lineup

The Jackson metro area may be covered in snow, but the City of Brandon has its eyes on warmer months. Officials from the City and music-promotion company Red Mountain Entertainment held a press conference on Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, to announce the first string of concerts at the incoming Brandon Amphitheater. The Jackson Free Press acquired the slate from the website for the 8,000-plus-capacity venue, which is scheduled to open in the spring. As many residents were anticipating, the schedule features plenty of country-music stars, including Chris Young on April 18, Brantley Gilbert on May 3, Hank Williams Jr. on May 12, and Alan Jackson on June 22. Continue Reading

Warped Tour Winds Down in 2018

Kevin Lyman, founder of alternative music festival Vans Warped Tour, announced on Nov. 15 that the 2018 installment of the long-running national event will be its last. “I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country and sometimes around the world as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour,” Lyman wrote in a press release on the tour’s website. “Today, with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that next year will be the final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour.” While the tour itself will not continue into 2019, the release does promise a special celebration for the event’s 25th anniversary, and it does not rule out shorter tour runs or one-off events. Continue Reading

OPINION: How Should Musicians Respond in Tragedy?

At some point, I really should know better than to read YouTube comments and Twitter replies to celebrities. And yet, I have repeatedly stumbled upon and been disturbed by some of the fan responses following the shooting at a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 that killed almost 60 people and injured hundreds. I have never been a fan of Aldean’s music, but he has been on my mind a lot recently due to the shooting. As someone who also plays music—albeit on a much smaller scale than the country star—I can’t help but put myself in his shoes and wonder how I might react. Continue Reading