Several of the scenes have been videotaped in the past week and include dozens of local residents, many from the Kossuth community.
“The song is ‘M I Crooked Letter,” videographer Duane Estill told the Alcorn County School Board last week in requesting permission to shoot some scenes on the Kossuth school campus.
Board members agreed to the request, pending approval from the school district attorney, which Estill was waiting on this weekend.
Written and performed by Sunflower native Chris Steward, who has been a music writer in Nashville for a number of years, the song extols the beauty of Mississippi and Mississippians. It is currently available on iTunes and plays on Sirius satellite radio.
Whether folklore or truth, the story that The Weather Channel described Mississippi as “the land mass between New Orleans and Mobile” struck a chord with Steward.
“He started writing the song a couple of years ago, but when he heard that phrase he decided he wanted to finish it to tell people how wonderful Mississippi is,” Estill said.
Estill and Steward were roommates at University of Mississippi, so Estill agreed to do the video on a shoestring budget.
Estill is a principal in Xaris Creative LLC, a company that produces educational relaxation products. He also composes and records music and was the website developer for the city of Memphis website and the DeSoto County website.
“We finished two shoots (Friday) on Highway 45 at the Mississippi-Tennessee state line and at the Corinth Welcome Center with the artist,” Estill said.
Another shoot was set for Saturday with about 80 people doing a line dance in a field in Hatchie Bottom in western Alcorn County.
“Chris is always writing songs, and really the whole idea was to do something to promote Mississippi,” Estill said.
Estill’s own reasons for wanting the project to be successful are in sync with Steward’s.
“Our state gets so much bad publicity as its people being unbred and uneducated, but we have some of the most brilliant people who have ever stepped out in every medium – acting, writing, music, the arts, you name it. I want to do everything I can to see our state have more of the dignity that it deserves.”