Gulfport, MS

I was hoping to spend the next day somewhere in mid-Mississippi, since it would be on the way north. But the only person who contacted me was a fellow from Gulfport, which I guessed from the name is on the gulf coast.

But then I remembered places like Rhode Island (not an island) and Martha’s Vineyard (not Martha’s, also not a vineyard) and checked a map to make sure. But down south, people call things like they see them, and Gulfport is a port on the gulf. Nice.

I had my choice of two highways going back towards Gulfport: 1) the same major interstate I took going to New Orleans from Mobile, or 2) a different highway which runs right along the coast. So guess which one I took.

Along the gulf coast towards Gulfport.

“Were you disappointed that your only contact was so far south?” asks AG perceptively.

I was, originally. Then I met the dude who had contacted me, a happening peep by the name of Brooks Hubberts, and a whole slew of other fantastic people, including my host Maggie, who had not contacted me. She’s a CS member but had instead passed along my info to Brooks since he is a musician. But I ended up staying at her place anyway. Yeah, details, details. Let’s get to the music.

Brooks knew some people over at a brand new recording studio (as yet unnamed) so we headed over there to record, where I discovered that Brooks is a fantastically talented multi-instrumentalist. He has a very unassuming air about him so I honestly didn’t expect him to be as awesome as he was.

We started with some lins.

Playing the fiddlin.  Or viodle... whichever.

That’s a mandolin laying upside-down next to him, which was the first instrument we recorded. Brooks was all over some jazzy gypsy-style stuff I asked him to do for this one song, and then we moved on to violin. He put down some country fiddlin’ on another tune.

Then he mentioned there was a cello around.

You may not be aware of my love affair with cellos. In fact, it is a problem. I could easily be led astray by any cellist. A girl that plays cello is one concerto away from winning my heart. I might even go so far as to say I swoon. (But I won’t. I would, though, if swooning were even a little bit manly.) So, of course, I insisted that we record some cello.

Brooks recording some pizzicato cello parts.

Brooks is probably less familiar with the cello than he is with any of the other instruments we recorded — he’s not the smoothest cellist around. Not to say he’s bad, because it sounded great. His cello playing is just not as polished, certainly not in the way that a classically trained cellist’s would be. But I found that it had a delightful raw sound that was equally emotional, albeit in a different way.

Brooks amazed me with his consummate musicianship, and he was willing to buckle down and get stuff done until the wee hours of the morning. Thanks a lot Brooks!

Another day, another city, another terrific musician, another great host. I left the next day with no disappointment about Mississippi whatsoever.

NEXT: Troubles are afoot! (And I nearly am too.)