Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition at Whitewater Tavern

Friday night I went to a rock show. I’d been excited about this one for a while, because I’d recently become familiar with the solo music of Jimbo Mathus. Mathus, the founder of the Squirrel Nut Zippers (and consequently responsible for the swing revival of the 90’s), makes a kind of music in his solo incarnation that’s reminiscent of the best of The Band mixed with the dual guitar leads of the Allman Brothers, but infused with the conviviality and bon temps of a good old Arkansas bar band. Rollicking, bouncy, earthy, fecund swamp-music that’s half profane, half beatific like the best Southern gospel and propelled by Jimbo’s considerable graciousness and good nature.

Jimbo and the boys rocked the damn house down to the timbers.

As they played, rolling through versions of “Kine Joe” and “Jimmy the Kid” and “Tell It To The Judge” I couldn’t help thinking, “This is the best damn band I’ve seen in a decade.” The numbers were tight, but the performance had this jolly looseness that gave it the aspect of being a musical conversation between friends and family.

Here, check it out.


If you have the chance, do not miss Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition. It’s a helluva good time.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my gratitude to Jimbo’s wife, the lovely Jennifer Pierce Mathus, actress extraordinaire  – an old co-worker of mine from the old Stone & Ward Advertising days – who was kind enough to introduce me to Jimbo, and my thanks to Jimbo himself who tolerated from me some half-drunken fanboy talk. He’s a great musician and a very gracious and righteous hombre. A high-point of the night was when a Jimbo fan approached him, stuck her hand inside her vest where you’d normally keep a .45 strapped to your chest, as the song goes, and withdrew a dozen eggs, giving them to Jimbo as a gift, still warm. He accepted the eggs with great aplomb and with the sincerity in which they were presented.

And that leads us to the second part of the program. Jimbo has initiated a Kickstarter project to help fund the recording, post-production, and marketing of his next album, White Buffalo. Right now, in this economic climate it’s very important that we continue to support and sponsor the artists and musicians that give us great times and hours of pleasure through their work. I’m asking you to donate to Jimbo’s project. The descriptions of the level of giving – “Big Daddy’s Birthday” and “Pick-n-Grin Pic-A-Nic” – are amusing in themselves. Go check it out, watch the video, and make a donation. If you like Southern music, and Southern culture, you won’t regret it.

ADDENDUM: In addition to the night being a fantastic rock show, it was great seeing old Stone & Ward alums. The aforementioned Jennifer Pierce Mathus, but also The Great Chach, and the beautiful Shannon Williams. We posed for a few photos for your information and entertainment. INFOTAINMENT! Here they be:


Absolutely stunning. And Jimbo looks okay, too, I guess.


One comment

  • He’s a friend of Wolf Ruffin, another Memphis musician (who is a friend of mine). I’ve met him and had a few Bud heavies with him at his studio in Como, MS. He’s played backup a few times for my buddy, and his band actually is the background band on Wolf’s Greatest Hits album. He’s a great guy. Too bad the last few times he has come to Little Rock, I’ve been out of town. I think it’s a conspiracy.

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