November 12, 2017 1:21:13 AM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Two of the South's most respected musical storytellers join forces Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Columbus Arts Council's Omnova Theater stage at the Rosenzweig Arts Center. Nashville-based Kate Campbell teams with Delta Music Institute director Tricia Walker for an evening of "music for the soul."
In Campbell's 18-album career, artists including Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, John Prine, Mac McAnally, Buddy Miller and Spooner Oldham have contributed guest vocals. She is a past Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award recipient and has been featured on NPR's "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Live from Mountain Stage," among many other programs and venues.
Golden Triangle fans will recall seeing her at the arts center in 2014 with Pierce Pettis and Tom Kimmel, as the New Agrarians, and also as a featured performer at the 2015 Possum Town Tales Storytelling Festival.
Tricia Walker's music has been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss, whose performance of "Looking in the Eyes of Love," co-written by Walker, earned a Grammy.
The Mississippi native and Delta State alumna was a writer with Word Music and later PolyGram in Nashville and worked as a vocalist and instrumentalist with Shania Twain, Paul Overstreet and Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith. A New Folk winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas and a featured performer at Austin's South by Southwest, Walker is also co-founder of "Women in the Round," a writer's showcase, at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe. She returned to Mississippi in 2006 to head the Delta Music Institute in Cleveland.
Walker's Big Front Porch Productions has produced eight of her own CD projects and her one-woman show, "Heart of Dixie." A new CD, "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Eye," is slated for a spring release.
Campbell and Walker collaborated on a choreographed work for the Nashville Ballet, "All the Way Home."
"This concert is one of the last events of our Mississippi Writers' Series," explained CAC Program Manager Beverly Norris. "Kate and Tricia both have Mississippi roots and so many of their songs are about the Southern experience."
Both artists are known for clear, evocative lyrics and voices.
Paul Brady of Columbus has worked with Campbell as sound engineer on her previous visits.
"Kate Campbell's voice and songwriting combined are truly mesmerizing," he said. "Beyond poetry set to music, she tells stories that carry you to that special place -- either in soulful introspection, or simple happy recollection."
Just us folks
Thursday's show will be an informal sharing of songs and stories from both artists, with plenty of references to common Southern themes, Walker told The Dispatch.
"Food, religion, race, literature, eccentric characters -- things that we Mississippians claim as our own," she said. "Should be plenty of laughter and a few tears with some of these songs."
Campbell, who did much of her growing up in Sledge, pointed out that Mississippi has given the world some of its greats in the arts, in music, literature and more.
"We have a lot to be proud of," she said Thursday. "It's good to hear about 'us,' the real people you know. That's not to say we don't take a wrong step sometimes, and you have to look at those things too, and we'll do that through some of our songs -- but the message is meant to be positive and proud about what and where we are."
How to go
Concert tickets are $15 in advance at columbus.arts.org, at the arts center at 501 Main St., or by calling 662-328-2787 (closed Mondays). Seating is limited.
"If you're in need of some music for the soul, come on out," said Norris. "Somehow, Kate and Tricia take all the best and worst of us and wrap it in music and words that really aim right at the heart."
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.