The Talking Dreads just closed the Mighty Roots Music Festival's mainstage tonight with an ebullient and poignant performance.
In a festival celebrating "roots" music, on this land where Muddy Waters lived and worked and played, it was quite something to behold diaspora in action, bursting forth with American-meets-Caribbean reggae heritage.
The Dreads' founder Mystic Bowie told a story onstage about playing as a teenager in Jamaica, and learning chords from one of the travelers hanging out on the beach... who turned out to be Jerry Garcia.
Tonight, just up the road from Clarksdale, the band played "Shakedown Street" in homage. It's a classic about "what used to be the heart of town." (Sound familiar, Delta friends?) Mystic sang:
"You tell me this town ain't got no heart,
The sunny side of the street is dark.
...Since I'm passing your way today
I just stopped in 'cuz I want to say
I recall your darkness when it crackled like a thundercloud.
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart
When I can hear it beat out loud!"
Here's a clip of the joy these Dreads brought to town: turn sound ON to hear Mystic singing about the search for love here, then posing the question, "Now that we've found love, what are we gonna do?"
Mystic Bowie's Talking Dreads performing at the Mighty Roots Festival | October 1, 2021
Good question. Gonna start by DANCING. Our hearts are beating loud, full to bursting tonight.