The very first thing I noticed when I spoke to Ricky was that he seemed down. I inquired about why he seemed so down and he told me that he had recently lost his mother suddenly on December 16th, 2013. I understood his pain as I had lost my sister just three (3) days before. I knew all about the Twilight Zone he was finding himself in and I learned a little bit more about life while speaking to him.
We discussed our feelings of loss and talked about how we had to press on even though we didn’t feel like it yet. I asked him if I could put the loss of his mother in the article and he said it would be okay. I said to him that we are all human and we all have the same human experiences. I told him how sorry I was about his loss and that being with his Dad right now is very important. He told me that the day his Mom passed, his parents had been married for exactly 46 years and three (3) months.
He went on to tell me that they all believe in God and that everything is done to his purpose and his reason but it sure is still hard on us. I told him that I know my sister is okay but I am still going to miss. We talked about the challenge of being an entertainer.
Q How has it been getting through those first couple of shows since your Mom’s passing?
A It’s been rough. People don’t think about how it is to be an entertainer. When you are an entertainer, singer, performer, they can have a lot of things going on in their lives but their job is to not bring all that to the people.
Q Yeah, they have to get up there and be happy and make everybody feel happy and it’s really hard to do when you are feeling like all you want to do is cry.
A Yeah, that is how I felt.
Q I am so sorry to hear that. Now, I know that you are a duo right?
A Yeah, it’s my wife and me.
Q Is she with you there?
A She is running some errands.
Q Okay but she is with you through this?
A Oh yeah definitely. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I mean she’s really a rock. I went for days without any sleep and then a few days ago it hit her and she got sick.
Q So she was making sure that you were eating and everything?
A Oh yeah, she is taking care of me.
Q So let’s switch over to a happy subject. How long have you been married and have you been doing music the whole time you have been together? Is that how you got together in the first place?
A Well the first time I met Micol, of course I had seen her before I had ever met her. I saw her a couple of years before I had ever met her at a John Lee Hooker concert and then I met her a couple of years later. Little did I know at the John Lee Hooker concert she was there with her Dad and he was a preacher and he was wearing a suit and I was telling my friend that it was crazy how these rich old men end up with these beautiful young women but it was her and her Dad.
A But I formally met her a couple of years later. I had a band and she came to the show that I was performing at in Knoxville and we met and we became friends. Then I found out she could sing. Everybody was talking about that she was a good singer. We started singing together and playing music together and started dating and then we got married. We have been married 19 years and playing music the whole time. The Blue Mother Tupelo name is about 18 years old so we have been doing that for about eighteen years officially.
Q Where did Blue Mother Tupelo come from?
A The blues are kind of the heart of our music. Mississippi is the mother land of the blues and we kind of blended that all together, you know? Blue Mother Tupelo. Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo and Micol has got a lot of family from North Mississippi and she also grew up in Mississippi for a while. She lived down there for a few years.
Q So you have this show coming up on January 18th? Are you going to be good to go?
A Oh yeah, we are looking forward to it.
Q So you are ready to get back out there and start moving forward again right?
A Yeah, we performed last night on this show called Tennessee Shine Radio Station, a WDVX live concert on the radio. We also did two other shows a couple of weeks ago, I guess about two (2) weeks ago around the New Year we performed in Mississippi twice.
Q Okay, so you are starting to feel better. Was last night different than the shows that you did two weeks ago emotionally?
A Yeah it was a little bit easier to get through. I got choked up a few times. I mean my songs are about real life and sometimes some things or some words to the songs hit me in a different way than they had ever hit me before since I have lost my Mom now.
Q Absolutely, that’s what I am talking about and then again emotions rush back when we least expect them. We don’t even know they are coming sometimes.
A No. Sometimes it can make it challenging to try to sing but that is really what music is supposed to be about. It’s about emotions and feelings.
Q Well it should be about real life and emotions.
A I am all about music being about stuff from the heart. I think the 60’s and 70’s were the heyday for music in general. I think there is always a chance for another heyday but country music and rock and roll in the 60’s and 70’s was just on fire and Jazz. I think the industry took over so much it squeezed out the human and spiritual side of music, you know?
A Jazz and Blues back in those days just took the music to a whole different level and just elevated the music. That is just what I love about the music of that era. I was a little kid in the seventies and I was a teenager in the eighties and I wasn’t super fond of most of the music then but I loved the 60’s and 70’s music. I have got all those old records. In fact I still have them.
Q You weren’t a big Duran Duran fan?
A No way. I dated a girl who liked Duran Duran and I broke up with her because of that.
Q That is funny that I would pick them. I don’t even know where that came from. I haven’t said Duran Duran in you know 20 or 25 years. That is so funny. That is my point and I absolutely agree with you although I think music started getting it’s own personality in the 50’s and I think in the 60’s it really came into it’s own and the 70’s with the exception of Disco, although I do admit there were a few disco songs I enjoyed because I like to dance.
A I remember the late seventies after Elvis died I mean I was a little kid, I was seven (7) years old when he died but I remember that specifically. I remember that day and I remember where I was at and I remember where I heard it. I also remember that after he died music really started taking a turn for the worse. I don’t know if that had anything to do with his death but disco started taking off and it just ruined a lot of aspects of music you know?
Q I agree with that because before there was Disco, when African Americans were making music, it was R & B.
A That’s right.
Q And it was good.
A It was funky and soulful.
Q Right, it was good. There were a lot of R & B artists that I have always loved and I loved R & B music. I wish they would really kind of swing back that way. I really do.
A Oh yeah. I do too. I love organic music. There are some things in music as far as the recording process that they have taken the organic approach out of a lot of the music, especially mainstream music. I mean there are other artists, like we are kind of considered Americana, Blue Mother Tupelo is considered kind of Americana but we are also kind of outsiders of the American world too. I mean there is some rock and roll in our music and stuff and it’s a little bit three dimensional and a lot of folks in the industry said that is part of our problem. Our music is not one dimensional like we could be pigeonholed into one genre.
Q Yeah, it’s hard for them to package you and know what area on the shelf you should go in. Are doing the show on January 18th, do you know what time you are going on?
A I think we are going on pretty early
Q I wanted to talk to you as I really like your music. Are you working on a new CD?
A Yes. February is actually technically our release date but we may have some CD’s with us at the show. The album is called, “Only Sunshine.” It’s our brand new album.
Q Did you play all the instruments on the album?
A Well me and Micol played most of the instruments on the album. We did have some guests come on and play horns and bass and a few other things.
We talked more about his loss, life and music, his lovely and talented wife. I told him that I look forward to meeting him on January 18th at the Rutledge in downtown Nashville. People reading this article-interview really need to check them out. They are quite unique, enjoyable and talented.
You can find out more about them at: http://www.bluemothertupelo.com/
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