Tishamingo’s in a whiskey state of mind
When Tommy Johnson is picked up by the Soggy Bottom Boys in Coen Brothers movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?,” he’s headed to Tishamingo.
With the same spirit of adventure as embraced by the film, Georgia boys Tishamingo are heading across the country. They stop in Vail for a stint at Street Beat at Check Point Charlie at 6 p.m.
“Tishamingo is a real county in Mississippi,” said guitarist Cameron Williams. “It’s also the name of a Chickasaw Indian chief.”
Which is to say, these boys are Southern roots all the way. They all go way back – friends-since-high-school stuff. But they’ve been an actual band for more than two years. They’ve got a self-titled album produced by John Keane (Widespread Panic, R.E.M.) to show for it, and a whole slew of shows under their collective belt.
The album has been picked up by an international label, Interstate Records. It will be re-released Tuesday. Tracks include such frolicsome names as “Smoked Mullet,” and “Whiskey State of Mind,” which begins:
“A Day’s worth of drinkin’, gone to my head
I come home in the evenin’ to another empty bed
Trouble’s gone for a little while, freed them from my mind
But they’ll be there waitin’ for me come tomorrow’s time.”
The majority of their songs are originals.
“We’ve really gotten our own sound,” said Williams. “We’re taking the styles that we’ve all gotten from different places – blues and jazz and funk influences, we’re all over the board – and we’ve made our own thing out of it.”
As for his own tastes, they run to classic Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stevie Wonder, jazz and hill country blues. And he’s just one of four.
“One thing that’s different about us is we all write,” he continued. “Richard, our drummer, is responsible for a lot of the lyrics. But he doesn’t sing at all – no way we’d give him a microphone.”
They moved to Athens, Geor., as a group, in part because they were strangers to the town. They chose it not just for its musical heritage, which seems to be garnering a better reputation every day, but also because they wouldn’t have as many distractions there.
Which is why they ended up watching a boat-load of movies in the farmhouse they rent, including “O Brother.”
Street Beat concerts are free.
“We’re gonna try to keep you warm, get the people up and dancing,” promised Williams.