ODE TO OTHA

Nashville Scene Critic's Pick …

Books on music history are filled with the echoes of sounds long forgotten, remembered only through stories passed down and collected. Otha Turner, a sharecropper from the North Mississippi hill country, started The Rising Star Fife and Drum band with the idea of preserving his ancestors’ music — a jubilant blend of military marches and West African dance music handed down by the slaves. It sounds like a New Orleans brass band’s wild country cousin, and Turner wanted to maintain it as a living, breathing tradition to be enjoyed by everyone. Nashville attorney Bill Ramsey, a Turner fan from childhood, became a close friend and de facto manager when he saw unscrupulous promoters and agents taking advantage of the artist, even after his work earned him a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. When the pair discovered they shared a birthday, they began their own tradition of hosting a giant party at Ramsey’s home, which morphed into a public street festival benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. Ten years after Turner’s passing at 94, the party shows no signs of stopping, with the lineup of locals and touring acts ranging from Chip Green’s contemporary pop to the Bashful Mountain Broadcasters’ hillbilly punk to Kenny Brown’s Hill Country blues. The crown jewel, however, is the current incarnation of Rising Star, led by Turner’s granddaughter Sharde Thomas, who will have you shimmying and wobbling before you know what hit you. 

—STEPHEN TRAGESER

Sat, Jun 1 | 2:00 PM
Belmont-Hillsboro Neighborhood
Free
runs from 2 till 9 PM
All ages
[Venue Details]

Sharde Thomas

Cleveland MS  |  R&B/Soul



  • Everyone
  • My Friends
  • My Comments
        Post a Comment