Friday, March 5, 2010


I have a lot of respect for Como-based artist Jimbo Mathus. He was one of my first guests on the Arts Hour, and has been a big supporter of my work here at the MAC. Back in July 2009, Jimbo invited me and friend Spooky Cole out to his Delta Recording Service to cut a few tracks. Spooky and Jimbo made fast friends, sharing stories about rural Mississippi music. Spooky plays on Friday nights at the Sparta Opry, a dinner theatre of sorts in Houston, Miss.

Starting tonight, Jimbo is taking the stage in his own original musical theatre production, "Mosquitoville: Mississippi Songs and Stories." The production will debut this evening with two show times, 6:30 & 8:30 p.m., at the Panola Playhouse in Sardis.

"Mosquitoville is based on some local history around the 1880s in Quitman County in the early timber industry before the cotton was planted," said Mathus in Scott Barretta's weekly Clarion-Ledger column. "It's based on a journal of a guy from Sledge, Miss., named John Parrot.

While Jimbo's reputation often precedes him as a rapscallion, anyone who's spent time with the man knows he's a kind, gentle soul with a deep connectedness to his Mississippi roots. He's used blues, country, rock and rap as avenues to tell his story, and that of the Mississippi people. The thing I like most about Jimbo, is that he's always trying something new; whether it be a new alias (he's gone by Jas. Mathus, James Mathus, Jimbo Mathus, the Knockdown Society, the Tri-State Coalition), a new musical genre or a new approach to music altogether. Lyrics from past albums prove he's a storyteller, but the Mosquitoville project affirms he's as much a folklorist as he is an entertainer.

To bring Mosquitoville to your community theatre, contact Jimbo's guitarist/studio manager and get ready for a true heritage experience that'll have you laughing, dancing and above all, feeling what it means to be a Mississippian.

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