BY SHEENA BARNETT
CORINTH – Ask Cid Gardner where Grahams Corner Store is, and he’s quick to tell you: “It’s in the county. It’s a juke joint.”
It’s not so far out in Alcorn County that it’s hard to find; in fact, it’s just minutes from downtown Corinth. But it is in the county, and it is a juke joint.
“I was out here at 9 years old, riding my four-wheeler buying biscuits,” he said of the old store. “(My friends and I) have been jamming out here for probably 10 years.”
Gardner and his business partner, Brian Graham, have been friends since they were teens, and the two decided it was time to open up their jamming space as a performance hall.
“I said, let’s put on a show, so we had Jimbo Mathus, and it sold out,” Gardner said of the show earlier this summer. “It was insane that night.”
The small space holds a little more than 100. Folk duo Carolina Story played there last week and it sold out, too.
Graham and Gardner decorated the small room with their record collection, old tables and chairs found from flea markets and second-hand shops, and hand-made light fixtures.
Next to Bob Dylan and John Lennon posters is an 8-foot wooden cutout of Mississippi, hand-made by Gardner and complete with Christmas lights.
Gardner and Graham are “music aficionados,” Gardner said, and they hope to book blues, roots and Americana artists. Upcoming concerts include bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart on Aug. 16 and blues-country act Deadstring Brothers on Sept. 6.
“We’re not doing Journey cover bands,” Gardner said.
He also doesn’t want the place to just be a hang-out or a bar.
“It’s a listening room,” he said.
Later this fall, the shows will move to a new location.
The guys will run The SoCo Theatre at King Norman downtown, in a 109-year-old building that’s currently being renovated.
It can hold twice the crowd of the current location, and the guys hope to move in there in November.
Grahams Corner Store will still be used for jam sessions, he said, and musicians and songwriters will be able to rent the apartment that’s adjacent to the space.
For now, the guys are sharing in the concert wealth by booking shows for other downtown venues. The guys booked Cary Hudson at Smith, Corinth’s latest downtown restaurant, for a gig on Aug. 23.
Gardner hopes the two music havens will draw more artists and musicians to Corinth.
“Corinth is gonna be the new Oxford,” he said. “Corinth is having a renaissance.”
Grahams Corner Store is located at 3571 County Road 100 in Corinth, and it’s online at grahamscornerstore.com.