Living with the Blues in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Blues music brought me to Clarksdale for a visit in 2006.

At the time, I never imagined I would return to Clarksdale to own and live in an old masonic temple building in Clarksdale’s historic downtown blues precinct; but, here I am, doing just that!

My husband and I needed a project, and it looked like Clarksdale needed us.

In 2012, my husband and I needed a project, and it looked like Clarksdale needed us.

In 2012 my husband and I purchased a building to help revitalise Clarksdale and to give us something to do while we were in the U.S.A. My husband had experience with this sort of thing (revitalising buildings), although it had been 10 years since he had refurbished any buildings.

It didn’t take too long to set-up our living area inside the old masonic temple building, but it has taken almost three years (including many months away, returning several times to Australia for various reasons) for us to “complete” the revitalisation of this building. By “complete,” I mean that we are now feeling happy about the way the building looks and about having tenants (and a functioning cafe) inside the building!

We did not revitalize this building by ourselves. It has taken a whole team of good community-minded people wanting to see The Holy Moly project succeed.

The Holy Moly project has brought people, music, and fun, back to the corner of Third Street & Issaquena Avenue.

The Holy Moly project, combined with blues music, has brought people and fun back to the corner of Third Street & Issaquena Avenue. (October 2015)

Right now, I’m not wanting to write a description of the renovation project. This is not the right blog for describing the project in detail. What I do want to do is share a few videos I made recently, whilst working in the cafe in the corner of The Holy Moly. I’m also wanting to describe what I hope to see continue in Clarksdale – at The Holy Moly!

Here’s a little sample of the music, people, and fun that has come to one small section of The Holy Moly. I made this video in October 2015, on my last night working at The Holy Moly Drug Store, although I did not know it would be my last night. My husband and I had recently sold the restaurant business and leased the space to a couple from Australia. The new tenants/owners of The Holy Moly Drug Store decided not to reopen the shop the next week.

The musician playing in the video above is Terry “Harmonica” Bean.

Australian blues musician, Fiona Boyes, was also recently seen performing on The World’s Smallest Stage at The Holy Moly Drug Store. Here’s my video, from my perspective behind the counter:

There have been a number of successful events/tests in The Holy Moly.

We have had lots of music downstairs on The World’s Smallest Stage (that’s Deak Harp in the above video) and upstairs in The Holy Moly Theatre — Heavy Suga & the SweeTones performed a couple of months ago:

Now that the testing phase is over, hopefully, Adrian and I can move forward with a bigger calendar of events for the theatre and dining room on the second floor. I’m dreaming of house concerts, workshops, mini-festivals, and more.

We’re going back to Australia with our thinking caps on, and we hope to return to Clarksdale in March 2016 with renewed enthusiasm.

We're going to be in Australia for the next couple of months, planning  fun events for The Holy Moly Theatre and dining room.

We’re going to be in Australia for the next couple of months, planning fun events for The Holy Moly Theatre and dining room.

Blues is just one of the musical genres to be featured in the future of The Holy Moly project. It will definitely be included as a genre, but not as my way of life. I am in the pursuit of happiness in this Americana Music Triangle in which I have made my American home!

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