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Micah Smith

Stories by Micah

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Mixed Messages: The JFP Interview with Big K.R.I.T.

Justin Scott, better known as hip-hop artist Big K.R.I.T., says that he has always felt like a bit of an anomaly.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Mississippi, the Birthplace (and Future) of America’s Music

Maybe there is a problem with just saying we're the "birthplace of America's music." It doesn't really say that the music still lives here.

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Keeshea Pratt Keeps Going

This year's International Blues Challenge featured many musicians from the Magnolia State, with artists from the Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola and the Vicksburg Blues Society making the semifinals. While neither group made the list of winners in late January, Jackson blues fans had reason to rejoice when they saw who took first place: the Keeshea Pratt Band.

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Michael Farris Smith

Author Michael Farris Smith's latest thriller, "The Fighter," hit shelves on March 20. He began working on the novel shortly after finishing his critically acclaimed third book, 2017's "Desperation Road."

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The Sounds of St. Paddy's

These days, venues across the city make sure there are plenty of options for live music before and after the parade, but Hal's St. Paddy's Festival is still one of the biggest draws downtown, with both local and touring entertainment taking the stage at Hal & Mal's each year.

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Alexander FRE$CO

Something was not sitting right for James Villes. In 2017, after working on a new recording project for about a year and a half, the hip-hop artist and Jackson native, whom fans know as Alexander FRE$CO, says the music just did not seem to flow right to him.

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The Future of Fleet Foxes

When a band ends a six-year hiatus, there are bound to be high expectations for the new music that breaks the silence. For Robin Pecknold, principal songwriter of Seattle indie-folk group Fleet Foxes, that expectation came from himself for the most part.

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Travis Meadows: On Mississippi Dirt

Travis Meadows may not be a household name for every country-music fan, but the Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter has made a place for himself among the biggest stars in the genre.

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Tedeschi Trucks: Capturing New Ground

When Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks performed together on New Year's Eve in 2008, it was a normal day in many ways.

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REVIEW: Wake up to Heart Society

If musicians Teneia Sanders-Eichelberger and Ben Eichelberger have proved only one thing over the course of their careers, it is that they are adaptable. On "Wake the Queens," their debut EP as Heart Society, the Jackson-based husband-and-wife duo has ventured into unfamiliar territory and come out all the better for it.

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Shovels & Rope Breaks Down 'Jukebox’

Many fans were shocked when Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, husband-and-wife folk-rock duo Shovels & Rope, announced their second cover album, "Busted Jukebox, Vol. 2," just a week before its release on Dec. 8, 2017.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Show Love for the Local

Each year, on the week of Feb. 14, we party like it's every couple's wedding or dating anniversary on the exact same day. Before February even rolled around, I started getting emails from Amazon and all other manner of online market touting sales on a special something for my special someone.

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A Story of Healing and Hip-hop

Jackson rapper 808 tha BASS performs his one-man show, “My Story,” on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.

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A Super Bowl for the Super Hungry

Here are just a few places in the capital city where you can grab a bite to eat, a beer to drink and a good seat for Super Bowl LII this Sunday, Feb. 4.

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UPDATED: The Drum of Royal Thunder

Drummer Evan Diprima may provide a lot of the “thunder” of hard-rock band Royal Thunder, but he is actually the one of two later additions to the Atlanta four-piece. Guitarist Josh Weaver and vocalist Mlny Parsonz formed the earliest version of the outfit in the mid-2000s, bringing Diprima into the fold in 2012 and guitarist Will Fiore in 2015.

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Better Sans Ezra

Better Than Ezra fans will hear plenty of hit songs when the band's frontman, Kevin Griffin, performs solo on Jan. 19 in Jackson. However, not all of those familiar tunes come courtesy of the New Orleans, La., alternative-rock act.

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English Rocker to Play Steve's Deli

Marty Willson-Piper sat in a booth at the back of Steve’s Deli in downtown Jackson, lifting a finger to trace a line between the records on the wall. He owns many of them, which is not all that surprising. As the founder of the In Deep Music Archive, he has collected more than 40,000 entries in different formats, including vinyl, laser disc, cassette and reel-to-reel tape.

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Ben Sparaco

At age 20, Florida native Ben Sparaco has already amassed a highlight reel longer than many that of many older guitarists and songwriters.

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The Mississippi 40: New Music for the New Year

There is never a shortage of music in Mississippi, with countless concerts, showcases and open mics taking place around the state on a daily basis. Since the live music scene slows down a bit over the holiday season, we put together a list featuring new music that Mississippi artists have released over the past few months. Here are 40 new albums, EPs and singles to check out in the New Year.

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A Choral Christmas

The Mississippi Chorus will perform the first movement of 18th-century composer George Frideric Handel's seminal oratorio, "Messiah," again this year, following two sold-out performances in 2016.

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Liza Mundy

Author Liza Mundy was at her home in Arlington, Va., when the wheels began turning for her next bestseller. At the time, however, she did not yet realize what the story was—or how expansive it would turn out to be.

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Illuminating ‘Shine’

For Larry Brewer, writing songs isn't a "some of the time" endeavor. He has been a professional musician for more than 40 years, most notably as the frontman for rock act The Windows in the 1980s and then as a solo artist in the Jackson-metro music scene after the group disbanded in 1995. That experience doesn't mean there's an exact science, though.

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Mega Ran

Fans may recognize Raheem Jarbo, also known Mega Ran, as a prolific writer of "nerdcore" rap, blending the worlds of hip-hop with video games and other forms of entertainment. However, that combination wasn't always an obvious choice for the Phoenix, Ariz., musician.

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J.C. Villegas

J.C. Villegas was moving from Mississippi to Texas when she began writing her debut novel, which came to her in a dream—one that she tried to ignore.

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The ‘Hart’ of Jackson Comedy

Plenty of fans around the country tune in for actor and comedian Kevin Hart's TV series, "Hart of the City," each week. For the latest episode, however, Jacksonians will have just a bit more incentive to watch than most viewers.

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Particle Devotion

The formation of indie-rock bands is a pretty common occurrence on any college campus, but things were a little different for Baton Rouge, La., quintet Particle Devotion.

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Sara Gatlin

Photographer Sara Gatlin's fascination with being behind a camera began with her in front of one.

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Love for the Rebel and the Saint

Kirk Franklin will be a familiar name to many people who grew up in church in the 1990s, but it's a name that is still picking up steam today.

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From Ireland to Jackson

Accordion-player Paul Brock has been a professional musician for the past decade, but his pursuit of traditional Irish music has spanned almost his entire life. As for how long that is, he replies with a chuckle, "Well, I'm over 21."

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Dawes

Dawes may seem like an instant success story for the millions of supporters who have followed the California folk-rock band since its first release, "North Hills," in 2009. However, for bassist Wylie Gelber, who dropped out of high school to join the band's first incarnation, Simon Dawes, it was something of a last-ditch effort—one that has turned into a full-fledged career.

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The Six-Word Musical Death Sentence

For me personally, I know, like nearly every white man who ever picked up a guitar hath known, that being a singer-songwriter does not make me one in a million. If anything, it puts me closer to "a million in a million."

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Music Videos, Evolved

The popularity of watching music videos on TV channels such as MTV and CMT has waned over the years, but the format has not lost its impact on consumers and the music industry as a whole.

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Maren Morris

For some in the music industry, there is no clearer evidence that times have changed than country artist Maren Morris.

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Love and the Lavender Pen

The shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse in June 2016 was a shock to Chris Verdugo, as it was to members of the LGBT community and supporters around the country. However, for the Florida native, it was also a call to make a change.

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A Star-Studded State Fair

The Mississippi State Fair is never short on activities to keep visitors occupied, between the carnival games, livestock shows, rides and food—oh, so much food.

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The Avett Brothers: Learning from ‘Sadness’

Fans of The Avett Brothers might not have to find the band in such high spirits based on the title of their ninth album, "True Sadness."

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Dent May: MS Confidential

There's a story that countless TV shows and movies have mined over the years: The small-town artist moves to the big city chasing fame and fortune.

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John De Chiaro

As a child, John De Chiaro often traveled with his stepfather, a shoemaker in New Jersey, into New York City to buy supplies, but on one trip, at about 5 years old, he wandered next door to a pawnshop and found an object that changed his life.

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Creating a Culture

Music and worship have been intertwined topics for Chris Quilala, one of the primary vocalists and leaders of the band Jesus Culture, for most of his life.

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Choose Your Own Lit-venture

Mississippi is known as one of the nation’s literary capitals, so it should come as no surprise that the Mississippi Book Festival brings such a big stable of literary talent each year.

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R&B Back in Action

In its fourth year, 2016, the Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival moved from its former home at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum to the Jackson Convention Complex downtown. As it turned out, however, transforming the open-air festival into a three-floor indoor experience wasn't such a big deal.

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Welcome to (All of) Jackson

With this being the start of a new school year, a lot of newcomers will be arriving in Jackson, some of whom already have an unfair notion of what they think this area is like and what it has to offer. Like me, they may not land in Jackson proper, but rather than either side shutting the door, I urge you to open it wider.

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Sam Mooney: Finding His Way

Like many performers, pop and soul artist Sam Mooney was infatuated with music from a young age. However, the connection wasn't instant.

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Corabel Shofner

In many ways, "Almost Paradise" carries the hallmarks of a classic southern adventure tale, even though its author, Corabel Shofner, spent a large part of her life outside of the South.

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Marcel P. Black: Building Bridges

Bryan Marcel Williams, known to fans as hip-hop artist Marcel P. Black, says that he always had music on his mind growing up in the small town of Ardmore, Okla.

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Jimmy Herring: Cracking the Whip

Audiences all over the world have gotten to know guitarist Jimmy Herring pretty well after his nearly three decades on the scene.

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Alex Thiel

It was a Saturday afternoon in March 2016, and Alex Thiel was bored. During that time, the Jackson-native musician's longtime progressive-metal trio, Carlos Danger, was going through a slow breakup, and he wanted to work on a project that would send his music in a new direction. To do that, he decided to turn to something old.

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Carly Pearce: Star-Crossed Country

For some people, singer-songwriter Carly Pearce will seem like an artist who is just jumping into the country scene—even if it's far from the truth.

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Devour the Day

Less than two years after Egypt Central's breakup, Blake Allison and Joey Walser released "Time & Pressure," their debut album as Memphis-based rock act Devour the Day.

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The Making of Michissippi Mick

From the time that Mick Kolassa was 15 years old, he says blues music has pulled him in like a tractor beam, but it wasn't until a few years ago that he put his passion front and center.