LESLIE CRISS: Discovering Monthly Music Mix: Better late than never

By Leslie Criss

“But the reality is when you write a song, you should be able to strip away all the instruments and just have a song right there with an acoustic guitar and a voice, and the song should be good.”
– Dweezil Zappa

“If you can’t play it on an acoustic guitar or a grand piano then it’s not a song.”
– Christopher Cross

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
– Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
I realized recently I have neglected a musical treasure right here in Tupelo. Monthly Music Mix has been an ongoing offering from the Link Centre for about four seasons now.
And I’m embarrassed to say, I attended my very first last Saturday evening, and it was delightful.
Dubbed The Three Altos for the event, the August Music Mix featured the amazing talents of Tupelo’s own Mary Frances Karrant Massey, Ashley Rose and, from my own hometown of Grenada, Kristian Dambrino.
Singer/songwriters all, the three took turns entertaining, each using her own unique gifts.
Sadly, the audience was low in quantity, but high in quality.
Those of us fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of such good stuff were glad we’d come.
And I began wondering what I’d missed in previous seasons and regretting not being more supportive of such a fabulous venue.
In the beginning
It started out as Jazz at the Link, but then our own Homemade Jamz Blues Band was booked to play and the Saturday evening soiree morphed into Blues at the Link.
Later, the cool, creative folks who call the shots at the Link Centre decided, “hey, why not include all styles of music?” and Monthly Music Mix came to be.
And since the beginning, I’ve missed a whole lot of great music of all genres – dulcimer, Celtic, rock, blues, gospel, folk, a Broadway revue and so much more. Some were gifted musicians from Tupelo and towns within a stone’s throw; others came from places not so near.
Prices to hear famous folks hold forth in a musical manner these days are usually quite high. I’ve paid a lot in years past to see James Taylor, Sugarland and other favorites.
But more amazing news about the Link’s Monthly Music Mix? It’s $10. If you’re still a youngster, it’s $5. Can’t beat that.
The musicians you hear there may not be famous – yet, but what I heard last weekend was music of the highest quality and well-written songs with the power to make folks laugh or think or simply feel good.
If you are like me and have missed out on a few years’ worth of music at the Link, it’s not too late to claim a seat on that toe-tapping train.
Here’s what we can look forward to in the coming months: On Sept. 18 there’ll be all styles of gospel music; Oct. 11 the New York City Slickers Band will be in the house. I heard them in June at the Mississippi Picnic in Central Park and they are great.
There’ll be a break in December, but the schedule for early 2013 is coming along nicely, I’m told.
I’m grateful the Link Centre exists – it’s a great asset to our community. And for this music lover, Monthly Music Mix is a tremendous gift.
Hope to see you there.

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