Rockin’ Jubilee Eve

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kickin’ it off for the Blueberry Jubilee this weekend were two hot, hot bluegrass bands and the Poplarville Storytelling Guild. The Jubilee entertainment started on Jubilee Eve, Friday13th, on a stage set up in downtown Poplarville, and the down-home good time kept coming.

Adding to a growing list of musical acts that perform the night before Jubilee, Cross-Ties, a local bluegrass band, joined the fray for the first time this year. The relatively new band grew out of the music ministry of the First Methodist Church of Poplarville. The group was the brain child of Bobby Thrash and Bill Nix, the church musical director.

Wanting to offer the congregation something different, they formed a ‘praise band,’ and eventually added fiddles, guitars and banjos – a bluegrass band was born.

The rather large attendance testified to the fact that Pearl River County was ready to hear a good band on a great night, despite a few pesky rain droplets.

Closing out the evening was the good time band, the Driskill Mountain Boys. They were funny, upbeat, and many in the crowd clearly came just to see these guys do their thing. It was generally a toe tapping, hand clapping kind of night.

Making light of their more mature following, one of the Driskill Mountain Boys said, “I was going to tell a joke that was so funny it would make your hair fall out, but I see most of you already heard it.”

No stranger to this corner of the world, Driskill Mountain Boys have played the night before the Jubilee for more than seven consecutive years, and will no doubt continue the tradition. They have also played in New Orleans at Jazz Fest on a number of occasions.

Sandwiched in between the two musical groups were the Poplarville Storytellers. Several members of the Poplarville Storytelling Guild were on hand to tell some of their old favorites, but there were also some first time and guest tellers as well.

Starting off the telling, was high school student, Kim Craig. She told “The Story of the Tango.” In addition to the story, there was a smooth “Tango” demonstration. The story was sassy and captivating, much like its teller.

Narrating and conducting the flow of the evening’s entertainment was one of the founding members of the Poplarville Storytellers, Mary Etta Moody. Moody has been weaving yarns for quite some time, and her seasoned approach to the trade lends her credibility and charm. Her story of the school bully was both educational and endearing.

Another crowd favorite, and member of the Storytelling Guild, was Papa Joe Wesley. Wesley grabbed the attention of the audience from the word go, and his “Larry the Cable Guy” approach ended up being a show stealer for most.

Storytelling Guild member David St. Louis told two separate stories through song and member Ernestine Thompson told a Native American story involving a popular crop – corn.

Storytelling is an oral tradition. Tellers will tell stories about family, stories about local characters, popular stories and completely made up fables. Some of the tellers have written books, but most prefer to tell the story because writing it down makes the story final.

If you missed the “night before jubilee” Blueberry Jubilee entertainment this year, no worries, most of these same performers will no doubt be back next year. The special evening was a great way to get the Jubilee party hoppin’.