Things to do before one shuffles off to that great Southern Barbecue Joint in the sky:
- Escape the evidently-immune-to-global-warming-in-the-summer West Coast for some place that feels like God has set the furnace to Hotter Than Hell at High Noon. Like, perhaps Bentonia, Mississippi.
- Spend a couple of weeks stuffing one's face with beef brisket, baby back ribs, pork knuckles, authentic fried chicken, and whatever else it is that they serve in Southern joints such as Pig Skin Barbecue, Murky Waters Blues n BBQ, Shotgun House, Squealers Hickory Smoked BBQ, and Wop's Bar-B-Q Shack—all of which happen to be located in Mississippi.
- Drink bourbon from a mason jar, preferably while sitting on a white plastic chair on the porch of a shack with a corrugated tin roof located somewhere in the heart of Mississippi.
To facilitate this, start by planning next summer's vacation around the Bentonia Blues Festival in Mississippi, partly because that'll give you the chance to knock all the above items off your bucket list, and mostly because you'll get the opportunity to check out acts like Robert Connely Farr and Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.
The former is from Mississippi but calls Vancouver home these days. The latter is not only a master of the Bentonia blues, but also a giving and gracious teacher who's happy to pass his knowledge on to those obsessed with the most American of all American musical genres.
Curious what to expect during your time down south? Check out the below video of Farr at the Bentonia Blues Festival, where he performs a live version of the infectiously easygoing "Just Jive", which was written by Holmes.
By the time you get about eight seconds in you'll have added another thing-to-do to your life-goals list, namely having an ice-cold Coca-Cola at the legendary Blue Front Cafe in, you guessed it, Bentonia, Mississippi.
Make it happen. And don't skimp on the barbecue sauce. Or the bourbon.