Josh Troy reports Wilson Rollings perform at Clarksdale White House

Clarksdale Press Register writer attends Home Concert and shares his experience

Clarksdale Press Register managing editor Josh Troy reports “Wilson Rollings perform at Clarksdale White House” Home Concert Series.

Thank you for attending our special event, Josh, and for writing about your experience hearing Matt Rollings and Anthony Wilson perform in the living room of the Clarksdale White House.

Read the article, “Wilson, Rollings perform at Clarksdale White House.”

By Josh Troy, Managing Editor, Clarksdale Press Register

Anthony Wilson and Matt Rollings got the full and intimate experience playing for the home concert series at the Clarksdale White House on West Second Street Friday, May 10.

Wilson, who is from Los Angeles, was playing in Toronto, flew down to the area and spent a few days in Sumner before coming to Clarksdale. Rollings is from Nashville, Tenn., and drove to Clarksdale. Both stayed at the Clarksdale White House, which is the home of Madge and Billy Howell.

The Howells host no more than four home concerts a year and Wilson and Rollings performed in the first one of 2019.

“What started it was when Billy and I first bought this house, we envisioned having concerts here or discussions — book discussions, that type of thing. But it just never presented itself until a group out of Oxford approached us and said, ‘Can we do a home concert here?'” Madge said.

All the money the audience pays to see the concerts goes to the musicians.

“We get to hear some different type of music,” Madge said. “I love blues and all that, but I tend to bring in people who bring in their own music.”

Wilson and Rollings played jazz music.

The two met at a jazz camp in their early teens. While their paths diverged, they got back in touch in recent years.

Wilson, who majored in composition at Bennington College in Vermont, is the son of legendary jazz trumpeter and bandleader Gerald Wilson, who was from Shelby and died in 2014. Rollings, who studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, is a Platinum Grammy award-winning producer/pianist/songwriter.

The two played music from some of Wilson’s albums including Frogtown along with Songs and Photographs. Wilson is also working on a project of songwriting and photography based on Mississippi and they played music from that at the concert.

It was Wilson who learned about the concerts from the Howells.

“I started coming to the Clarksdale area to the Delta a couple of years ago working on a project of photography and music and songwriting and I’ve stayed here at the Clarksdale White House a few times and have gotten to know Madge and Billy,” Wilson said. “They’ve just been super warm and friendly.”

It was the first time Rollings and his wife, Paloma, were in Clarksdale.

“It’s amazing,” Rollings said. “I’ve never been to Clarksdale and my wife and I are here. It’s a soulful place. The people are really amazing.”

Rollings said he ran into Aubrey Preston, whom he knew from Nashville and was in Clarksdale trying to bring the msuic of triangle back to this part of the country and raise public awareness.

Rollings and his wife drove to Friars Point on the road next to a factory to get down to the Mississippi River. He saw the Conway Twitty and Muddy Waters plaques and egg salad sandwich with bacon at Yazoo Pass for lunch.

“Then we just wandered downtown,” Rollings said. “It was raining, so we didn’t do a lot of wandering.”

Wilson also had positive things to say about Clarksdale.

“I feel like it speaks of that great history,” he said. “You just imagine all the things that had to have happened here — all the music, all of the social life, all of the culture that was here back in the day. It was so nice to see the beautiful energy of the town.”

Josh Troy Wilson Rollings perform at Clarksdale White House

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Watch this video from the Wilson Rollings Home Concert.


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