John Wilkins at Off Broadway

I fought back an urge to turn in early last night and went out to Off Broadway to catch Reverend John Wilkins. His father was country blues and gospel great Reverend Robert Wilkins. I insisted to H that we go. I saw this video on Vimeo via this post on Highway 61 Radio several years back, and it raised my expectations. The show did not start until late for a Wednesday. It was worth losing some sleep.

The touring van had Mississippi license plate, which was good to see. We talked a little before his concert. I asked him whether he lived in Mississippi. He told me that he lives in Memphis, but he pastors Hunters Chapel in Como, Mississippi. He mentioned twice blogged Othar Turner in the same breath. I told him that I had been to Como many times and that blogged Como Steakhouse is a favorite of my father’s. I asked him whether he would play acoustic or electric. He asked me what I liked. I let him know that I wanted to hear some acoustic blues, and he said that he usually plays his father’s “Prodigal Son.” I let him get back to resting and having something to drink before his show.

We listened to the opening band the Airliners. They are a low-fi outfit with only drums and guitar. They were too loud for my old ears. The pairing did not work. The Airliners seemed to have no idea about John Wilkins or Robert Wilkins. I was disappointed at the end when the front man told us to hang on for John Wilson instead of Wilkins.

Reverend Wilkins was backed by a three piece band of guitar, bass guitar and drums. The bass guitarist was Eric Deaton. I recognized him as one of the good active players in the north Mississippi music community. The other two must have been Jake Fussell on guitar and Wallace Lester on drums. They did a great job backing him up. They played a little and introduced him before he came on stage. He played several songs with them before sending them off stage. He then played three acoustic songs that I truly enjoyed. I recorded them and posted them on YouTube. They were “Prodigal Son,” of which I missed the first few seconds,”I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” and “I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down.” I made this playlist with all three.

Then the band came back on, and he went back to electric music. The music tended toward gospel, and he eventually “got happy.” Wilkins played a good hour and a half at least. The crowd included local luminaries from the twice blogged Rum Drum Ramblers and blogged Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. You can catch glimpses of them in the videos above. We were a small group, but enthusiastic. Wilkins fed off the spirit. It was a show I easily could have missed, but I am glad I did not.

1 Comment »

Michael M. on July 14th 2011 in General, Live, Music

One Response to “John Wilkins at Off Broadway”

  1. H responded on 15 Jul 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Don’t forget about the autographed photo you got, Mitke!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.