The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Old Memphis Kings kicks off spring break with the blues

A blues-rock storm hits Starkville’s Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern Friday as The Old Memphis Kings takes to the stage with its distinctive twist on the blues.

The Old Memphis Kings lists many important influences that allow the band’s members to pour their hearts into their music.

According to the band’s Facebook page, the band came together after a friend and mentor to two of the band members passed away. 

“The Old Memphis Kings was formed by the chance meeting of Drew Blackwell, Caleb Childs and a blues legend named Willie King.  King opened his mind and his heart to the two boys, teaching them about life, love and the blues. After the tragic loss of Willie King in 2009, the Old Memphis Kings took it upon themselves not to let the memory of Willie King or his music be lost forever.  So, using the tools that he gave them, they set out on their own, spreading King’s message of peace and love to all who would hear it,” the page stated.

Over time, The Old Memphis Kings added new members to the band to help build its sound and broadcast King’s message. Keatzi Gunmoney, bassist, and Beth Fulgham, drummer, brought a new edge to flesh out the band’s sound and form a full-bodied live experience.  The new amalgamation of musicians morphed their style into a combination of American favorites — rock and blues. 

Leah Hickman, freshman elementary education major, said the band’s sound combines two well-known genres with a fresh angle.

 “I think they are really interesting in their style,” she said. “It is a bluesy twist on rock ‘n’ roll.”

The Old Memphis Kings pays close attention to both the sound of its music and the message its songs convey. 

Drew Blackwell, The Old Memphis Kings’s guitarist and vocalist, said he writes narrative lyrics that leave interpretation open to listeners. 

“I am a fan of mystical lyrics that tell a story,” Blackwell said.  “I want a song to mean different things to different people once they read in-between the lines.”

With its soulful connection to music, The Old Memphis Kings puts on a show that combines technical proficiency and love for its audience. 

The band performs with a glowing energy that makes it seem as though the band’s primary objective is to make sure the audience has a good time.  

Hickman said she noticed the band’s passionate performances and is impressed with the correspondence between the band members and the audience.

“They seem really good at hyping up the crowd and getting them interested in what was going on,” Hickman said.  “They definitely perform for the audience rather than themselves, if that makes sense. The band plays really well together, and they do a great job of playing off each other’s solos and riffs.”

The atmosphere is raucous and fun, as the band encompasses Mississippi’s southern energy.  

Blackwell described The Old Memphis Kings’s shows in numerous ways, but he said it best when he said the band’s performance “sounds like a Mississippi Saturday night.”

MSU students and Starkvillians have the opportunity to feel the electric music and sway to the sound of The Old Memphis Kings Friday — a surefire way to kick spring break off with a bang. 

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The Old Memphis Kings kicks off spring break with the blues