djr-2019-10-10-walker

Mississippi native Trisha Walker, one of four women taking part in next week’s Monthly Music Mix in Tupelo, was a singer/songwriter in Nashville for 26 years.

TUPELO • Trisha Walker spent 26 years in Nashville writing songs and performing until she decided to come home to Mississippi.

While in Nashville, Walker started Women in the Round at the renowned Bluebird Cafe. It was a regular gathering for female singer/songwriters to perform for Bluebird patrons songs they had written.

Walker, who co-wrote a Grammy-winning song during her music career, will bring the circle to Tupelo next Thursday for the Link Centre’s Monthly Music Mix. She’ll be joined by three young women who are part of the next generation of country and western singer/songwriters.

“I’ve been around a long time and they’re the up-and-coming young women in music,” Walker said. “I’m looking forward to hearing their material.”

Joining Walker will be Lockwood Barr, a banjo-playing artist who’s already writing and performing in Nashville; Carrie Lynn Stanford, who’s from the Mississippi Gulf Coast; and Mattie Stembridge of Florence, Alabama.

The October Music Mix, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Link Centre’s Reception Hall.

In a telephone interview, Walker said she embraces her mentoring role in the upcoming performance.

“I think they want me to be sort of the mother hen or whatever, the wise old songwriter trying to bring along the three young songwriters,” she said.

Walker, who grew up in Fayette, was a young songwriter and singer when she moved to Music City in 1980. Her versatility – performing, production, publishing and songwriting – opened doors for her. She was a member of Connie Smith’s band and performed at the Grand Ole Opry. She also worked with Paul Overstreet and played keyboards and sang backup for Shania Twain early in Twain’s career.

As a songwriter, Walker teamed up with Kostas Lazarides to write “Looking in the Eyes of Love.” The song was recorded by Alison Krauss and Union Station, and it won the 1997 Grammy for Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal.

In 1988, Walker joined Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland and Karen Staley to start Women in the Round at the Bluebird. The venue continues to host “in the round” sessions for songwriters and performers, as well as an open mic evening for newcomers.

“The in-the-round concept, which was started at the Bluebird Cafe, has become the de facto way songwriters get together,” Walker said.

Walker said those attending the Music Mix could see a similar setup.

“The songwriters will be seated in a circle in the middle of the room and the audience will be around us,” she said “We’ll just go around the circle, play songs and tell a little bit about the songs and some informal chatter. It makes for a very informal, intimate and relaxed type of performance that I know the audience will enjoy a lot.”

Walker returned to Mississippi in 2006 to build the Delta Music Institute, an entertainment and music industry program, at Delta State University until she retired. She was honored in July with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Writers Guild.

Barr has been in Nashville for a few years, releasing two albums and opening in concert for various artists. The California native has earned Country Music Association Emerging Artist recognition and won an Independent Country Music Association Award as a banjo player for her bluegrass group, The Nashvegas Ramblers.

Stanford, a Gautier native, is a product of the Delta Music Institute who has moved on to Nashville. Stembridge, a student at the University of North Alabama, has become a regular performer at venues in Mississippi and Alabama.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Student tickets are $8. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.com.

bobby.pepper@journalinc.com

TWITTER: @bobbypepper30

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