This past Friday, several local Jackson bands got together and produced something beautiful. Christened the Outsiders Exposition, the event showcased the musical talents of six different bands. Alba coffee helped host the concert in the classic New Southern building in downtown Jackson.
Now, I just want to say one thing: where was this when I was in high school?
As someone who grew up in Jackson, TN, I can tell you right now that live music does not thrive here. People love music, sure, but they go to Memphis or Nashville to see shows. Jackson is a tough crowd for local musicians. Growing up, I dreamed of one day going to see my favorite artists, the people whose pictures I had plastered on my English and Geometry binders (who at the time were Jon Foreman, My Chemical Romance, and The Clash). In the meantime, I couldn’t have even imagined the talent that was developing in my hometown…simply because there was nothing like the Outsiders Exposition. If you loved music, you didn’t have very many options. You could join your school’s or church’s choir. You could form a garage band with your friends, and, if you were lucky, play at Redbone’s. And that was about it.
Fast forward to my college years, which were also spent in Jackson (at Union specifically). Union’s music scene was then at its top form with artists like the Flying Colours, Wolvski, All the Indians, and Pseudo Shark playing regularly on campus at free(!) shows. Barefoots Joe also hosted quality acts like Leon Bridges and The Civil Wars on a regular basis. But what was going on in the rest of Jackson? Truthfully, I don’t know. I had friends who played in bars. My own brother played in some outdoor events with his various bands. But there weren’t many local concerts.
Yet, just in the past few years, Jackson has played host to The Amp concert series, Alba-hosted local shows, and now the Outsiders Exposition. Now is the time for live music in Jackson. Support artists like The Skeleton Krew (the driving force behind the Outsiders Exposition) and Jupiter Stone, Beyond Blame, Water the Buffalo, The Go-Tos, The Surreals. I don’t know about you, but I care about Jackson, and I care about our music scene. I don’t want us to snub up-and-coming artists. There is true talent and hard-working determination within our midst; why not honor that?
We are a city blessed with strengths. Let’s make supporting our community one of them.