Expect a steamy Latimore show plus a few surprises
By Panny Flautt Mayfield
CLARKSDALE – Forget weather forecasts; but count on steamy temperatures laced with a few philosophical surprises when Latimore returns to Clarksdales Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival Friday night, Aug. 11.
Since 2004, music fans have been clamoring for a repeat of his performance that wowed a crowd of 9,000 jamming John Lee Hooker Lane, says festival co-chairman Melville Tillis.
“He is a dynamic performer,”emphasizes Tillis who heads one of Mississippi’s largest blues celebrations expected to draw 30,000 over the weekend..
Interrupting a visit with his sister near Chattanooga for this festival interview, the quintessential hunk of soul music, is fired up over a new CD project hes calling “Mr. Right Now.”
“This is something for myself; I wrote all the tunes, played keyboard, and sang the lyrics, ” he says.
Its themes range from love and romance to social commentary, and a tribute to his mother Edna Mae, who played guitar and sang to him as a child. Some numbers are just for fun, he says.
However, the core message skirts around Latimores personal observations on relationships strongly influenced by the philosopher/poet Kahlil Gibran and his work, “The Prophet.”
He calls “The Prophet” timeless and said it greatly influenced his development as a songwriter.
“In a relationship two can be close, but one person can consume the other,” says Latimore. “Loosely quoting Gibran, its best if two people eat from each others loaf, but not from the same loaf; each should bring a loaf.”
Offering a keyboard analogy, Latimore says, “Put two notes close together, and you get a different sound; put one note in between, and you get harmony.”
If these thoughts reflect a deep thinker far from the earthy leather-clad Latimore singing, “Let’s Straighten It Out,” consider his many decades of success.
“I’m not Latimore, the Entertainer 24/7,” he says. “I allow myself to get in touch with philosophy; this enriches me and gives me flexibility, rhythm and balance.”
“Life is a moving thing; it’s not the same,” he says. “You have to be able to deal with it; you can’t stay in a groove.”
“You must be in the moment – not what happens next week or yesterday; life is only one day,” he said.
Growing up in Tennessee near Nashville, Latimore studied English literature at Tennessee State before spending more and more time hanging out around music studios.
“I love music. It chose me years ago, and that was all I wanted to do,” he says. “I still enjoy it after all these years.”
He promises to say more on the subject and take questions during the Sunflower’s educational program Friday afternoon inside the Delta Blues Museum.
The free event and Latimore’s performance Friday night are being sponsored in part by the Southern Arts Federation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Saturday night’s headliners are multiple Grammy nominees, the North Mississippi AllStars, who are returning to the U.S. following a concert in Japan.
For a complete lineup, check the festival’s web site at www.sunflowerfest.org.
“Conversations with Latimore” will take place at 3 p.m Friday.Aug. 11, inside the Delta Blues Museum’s Auditorium. He will headline the Friday night Main Stage at 9 p.m.