Coming home: Poplarville native aims to make a difference

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 28, 2015

hometown performance: Tony Poole performs at the Blueberry Jubilee in Poplarville.  Photo submitted

hometown performance: Tony Poole performs at the Blueberry Jubilee in Poplarville.
Photo submitted

At 19, Poplarville native Tony Poole left his home to pursue a musical career, spurred by his father, who instructed his son to “find something you love because you’ll do it for the rest of your life.”
Now, more than 20 years later, Poole said he’s ready to return home, give back to his community and live as best he can.
Poole is the son of Dollie and E.T. Poole Jr. and during his high school years at Poplarville High School, Poole said he was involved in numerous activities, ranging from drama, chorus and band to football and track.
After leaving Poplarville, Poole worked as a youth pastor, but continued to pursue his love of music on the side, which then led him to play music professionally.
He’s traveled all over the East Coast and from New York to New Orleans, playing in hospitals, nursing homes and bike rallies.
Since the early ‘90s, Poole has been writing his own music and is the author of more than 300 original songs. He also performs more than 2,500 cover songs by a number of artists.
When writing his songs, Poole said he composes the melody first, then the words.
“I wait for that inspiration and emotion to overflow onto the paper,” he said. “I don’t sit down and try to write, I wait until the emotion tells me to do it.”
Poole doesn’t limit himself to one genre of music. He plays a variety including, country, blues, rock, bluegrass and I play one redneck reggae song.
In June of 2012, Poole’s life took a turn down a dark alley he didn’t think he would escape.
On June 29, Poole and his girlfriend Sabrina Taylor Deschamp were leaving Sevierville, Tennessee when the back tire of his motorcycle blew out.
“There was no way to stop,” he said. “Her death changed everything. I was going to quit playing music and realized how mad she would be.”
After self-medicating with alcohol didn’t work, one-year after the accident, Poole was contemplating ending his life.
But a phone call from his sister changed his life. Poole flew to Oregon and began to heal.
“After the accident I broke my neck, back, six ribs and dislocated my shoulder and knees,” he said. “I not only needed to heal my body but my heart as well.”
While in Oregon, he played a gig again and knew that’s what Deschamp would want him to do.
Since his return to Poplarville, Poole performed about 18 packed shows.
“I was worried about the reception I would receive when I came back, but everybody was there for me and came out of the woodwork to see me,” Poole said. “The people are warm, receptive and there for me. I’ve got my heart and relationship with God right now.”
Poole currently lives in Tennessee, but upon returning home, Poole plans to help the local VFW, bring awareness to wounded female veterans and honor veterans with fundraisers, presentations for the ROTC and pens pals for soldiers.
He is also the owner of Tony Poole Shames Promotions and Productions, where he signs new artists.
“Poplarville was a place I couldn’t wait to leave as a kid and now it’s the place I can’t wait to get back to as an adult,” Poole said.
During December, Poole has many performances booked in Poplarville including Dec. 4 at Scooters at 7 p.m., Dec. 5 at the Poplarville VFW, Post 4196 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 15 at The Coffee Shop at 6 p.m.
For up-to-date information regarding Poole’s future performances, visit the Tony Poole Fan Page on Facebook and on Instagram at @tonypoolefanpage.

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