Friday, June 14, 2013

Concert series kicks off with Music Highway Band, Wildwood Express

The "Sleepy" John Estes porch will be rocking Saturday, June 15, when two of West Tennessee's favorite bands take the stage for this season's first Concert on the Porch. Rockabilly's Music Highway Band will open the season when they take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by Wildwood Express. Concerts are presented free to the public each month on the third Saturday, June through September, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville.

"Both of these groups are energetic and like to get the audience involved," says Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark, "so we know the kick-off of our summer series will be full of fun."
Music Highway Band

Music Highway Band was organized in Jackson, Tenn., in 2001, and has worked with such legendary artists as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond. You may remember the original trio who played many years at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame as the house band. Over the years, members were added and this diversity has led to developing their own special blend of  Rockabilly and country. Band members include Stan Brunner, Sammy Wood, Jimmy Webb, Donald Carp, Gary Spraggins and Jimmy Stephenson.
Wildwood Express

Wildwood Express will take the stage around 8 p.m., and perform old time stringed music including bluegrass gospel, instrumentals and old time country. Their instruments of choice include the banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, upright bass and guitar. The band is made up of Grover Westover, Paul Jackson, Gary Spraggins and Coley and Marilyn Graves. All are members of the Jackson Tennessee Area Plectral Society whose main purpose is the preservation of old time stringed music.

You are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concert. Drinks and snacks will be available. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.

Guinn goes "Off the Beaten Path" for nature photos

Joe B. Guinn
Photographer Joe B. Guinn knows he has to get "off the beaten path" for the best nature shots. A new exhibit at the Delta Heritage Center, Brownsville, offers a look at his work featuring scenes of West Tennessee. The exhibition Off the Beaten Path: Scenes of West Tennessee can be seen daily now through September 7. A special artist reception will be held Thursday, June 27, at 6 p.m.
Birds and nature caught Guinn's eye at an early age. Once he got a camera in hand, this Tennessee native began to focus on his natural surroundings.
"My favorite photographic challenges are landscapes," says Guinn.
College and a career took him away from the area. When he returned in the 1970s, he discovered his beloved Hatchie River forest and wetlands had dramatically changed. And "not for the better," according to Guinn.
This prompted him to begin the project of photographing what remains of the Hatchie's fragile untouched wetlands and deep forest areas. Off the Beaten Path depicts life in the wetlands and river valleys that include the Hatchie, Reelfoot Lake and Tennessee and Mississippi rivers. Guinn captures this beauty using only natural light and his photos are untouched, except for an occasional cropping.
Great White Egret
"Guinn is able to capture the heart of the river valley," says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the Delta Heritage Center. "Through his photos, we are able to get a glimpse of life most would never be able to see."
There are also permanent photos on exhibit in the Hatchie River Museum at the Center, according to Clark.
"Daisy Field"
His work has been featured by the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy and Environmental Action Fund. Guinn was awarded a Wildlife Conservation Award by Haywood County in 1996. His most extensive exhibit has been in Nashville at Cheekwood Museum.
The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The public is also invited to meet the artist at a special reception Thursday, June 27, from 6-8 p.m. To learn more about the artist visit

And the winner is ....

Miss Mary was busy in the kitchen getting ready to cook deep-fried BBQ for the contestants in the first ever Deep-Fried BBQ Eating Championship during the Exit 56 Blues Fest May 25, 2013.

Miss Mary
We all pitched in to help in the kitchen ...
too many cooks didn't spoil he stew this time.
Four contestants vied for the title of Champion. With competitors from Oklahoma, Arkansas and two local boys.

Each competitor started with 25 deep-fried BBQ bites ... and plenty of sauce and water!

Competitors dive in!

25 down and ? to go..

Taking his time and enjoying every bite.

And the winner is ..... Drew Magruder.

Drew Magruder wins after eating 60 bites, in 10 minutes, to become the first Deep-Fried BBQ Eating Champion.

Miss Mary presents Drew with his trophy!