JOURNEY WITH US TO THE SHACK UP INN

The Shack Up Inn had been a point of interest to both of us for a while. Not to mention the music that Clarksdale had to offer! But when the Grammy’s Museum was scheduled to open just down the road, it seemed like the perfect time to book our trip. It was not the perfect time. We moved houses that week and I had to go to a funeral of an old friend that week. We were both exhausted. But we couldn't change the dates, so we marched on. In true M+D fashion, we tailored our roadtrip around food and drink. On the way to Clarksdale, we stop in Tupelo at Restaurant South upon Garden & Gun Magazine’s suggestions for best burger spots in Mississippi. I’d make the drive over there right now to get that burger—damn, it was good. But alas, we still had a lot of road ahead of us. When we made it to the Shack Up, they had left our key to our grain bin where we would be staying in the mailbox. People were wandering around the property, it was so odd but definitely looked like our kinda place. It was late, so we decided to go check out our new home. It was incredible—a two story old grain silo with two bedrooms and baths. And a front porch to boot, which is where Paul promptly took root with his whiskey and guitar. Oh and did I mention each room comes with a guitar….

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THE SHACK UP INN | CLARKSDALE MS  

The next day we wandered around town taking photographs and just kind of taking it all in. We made our way to Ground Zero where we chatted with some locals and asked around where we could see some great local music. We made our way to this new spot, Levon’s for yet another delicious meal. Levon and his wife had just moved from Austraila to Clarksdale and opened this diner. I had to ask why—and the response of course was he was a musician and just loved the blues. They were a lot of fun and he invited us to come back the next day to hear some live music. So, we headed back to the Shack Up Inn to clean up and go explore some more. Everyone is so friendly and inviting there. Eventually, we made our way to Red’s Juke Joint where Terry “The Harmonica” Bean was playing. First, we were met by the doorman, Ellis, who is the Legendary SuperChicken’s brother (all things I had to look up later) and the owner of Red’s who was smoking ribs out front. They led us in and we found a front row spot at the bar listening to Terry belt it out and talk of his travels. Next thing I know, Ellis is asking me to dance. Now, let me be clear—I have no rhythm. Seriously, I have had the tambourine taken away from me many a time. Freestyle dancing and karaoke are my two worst nightmares. But one thing I can do is twirl and thank god, that is the kind of dancing he had in mind. We had a grand time. 

We mosied back to Ground Zero and talked to the guy who had been playing at the Shack Up earlier. He was from Michigan, but called Clarksdale home. This town was getting more and more interesting. Well, we called the only “cab” in town and he picked us up in his mini-van and told us more about the local color. Home again, home again, Shack Up Inn.

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LEVON'S | CLARKSDALE MS  

Sunday we decided to try the Shack Up’s brunch which was outstanding. I could not help but overhear our neighbor’s conservation about their upcoming trip to Alabama, specifically, Birmingham. It took all myself control not to prance over and invite them to stay with us when they came to town. That is just the vibe that this place gives off. Everyone is happy and on a journey of some sort—maybe its for the music, maybe its the culture, whatever, everyone seems pretty like-minded and happy to be in this little bubble.

Off again to take photos—I should mention I have taken over the Leica for this trip, so we were both roaming around trying to capture it all. First stop—the Roxy Theatre. It has a great marquee. When we get out of the car, we notice another gentleman with a camera. Long story short, they are filming a video and asked us to be a part of it. And again, yes is always the answer. While we were standing around the filmmaker enlists another couple. When replying to some comment, the new guy responds “Yeah, ya right!” My New Orleans radar immediately dings its sound alarm and I attack. Turns out his name is Drew and he had been living on and off again in New Orleans, but had recently moved to Jackson to work at the University. He is a part of the Americana Mississippi music tour. Upon hearing that, Paul’s antennas twitch. Turns out Drew had just been at the Grammy’s hanging out with our filmmaker friend Alex Koeffler who was there because of Cedric Burnside. Alex had been telling us about Drew and vice versa and here we all stand on a street corner in Clarksdale, MS—I’m telling you—it is just that kind of town. So, we did our bit for the video. Yet again met another transplant that had moved from Seattle because of her love of the blues and decided to become a part of the community and bought the dilapidated Roxy’s. Okay dokey. 

Moving right along, we go hit up our friend Lionel to see what he has shaking. People are pouring of his restaurant hanging out on the sidewalks watching the band and just having a good ol’ time. Yet again, run into some of the same locals we have been visiting with this trip. Meanwhile, this woman sat down at the table next to us with a large camera bag. She looked really familiar and I said as much. We all started chatting. Turns out she and her companion are journalists. Somewhere in my alcohol-soaked brain this rings a bell. They are in Mississippi documenting the elections and trying to enjoy the local flavor when they have a chance. As it turns out, they are also staying at the Shack Up. Which reminds me, at brunch they had mentioned they were going to be filming a music video there tonight,so I suggest we all relocate. In the meantime, she gives me her card….Darcy Padilla. I totally fan girl her.

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Back up at the Shack Up, they are getting set up for the a night of filming a Nashville based band called Little Feather. The lead singer is a siren with red hair and is Loretta Lynn’s cousin I believe. Meanwhile, the mandoline player is Glenn Campbell’s son. Again, not surprised by anything at this point. The band is all so very nice and appreciative. Everyone is ready for the show to start. In walks that couple that had mentioned their trip to Birmingham, this time I do pounce. Oh yeah, its Hank Williams Sr.’s daughter, Jett and her partner, Kelly—-Jett is making a special appearance along with her niece Hank Williams Junior’s daughter, Hilary for the last song of the night. Well, I’ll be damned, color me surprised. And there sits Terry “The Harmonica” Bean opening up for the band. Why not! The show was incredible. The band very talented. The night very special. After the show, everyone sat around with guitars and sang—it was so much fun. So many new friends.

Monday, albeit a little worse for wear, Paul and I looked at each other and said I’m soooooooo glad we came here. It turns out it was the exactly right time for out first visit to the Shack Up Inn and Clarksdale. We never did make it to the Grammy’s Museum. Guess we will just have to make another trip.

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THE SHACK UP IN | CLARSDALE MS