Okay, fine, I'm cheating a little bit. Jimbo Mathus isn't from Little Rock and he doesn't actually live here. But he has been dubbed "Arkansas's Favorite Son-in-Law," and that should count for something. The former frontman for the legendary Squirrel Nut Zippers will play with his band, The Tri-State Coalition, this Friday night at White Water Tavern.
1. Name, occupation, connection to LR: Jimbo Mathus, (writer/musician/entertainer). Little Rock is the birthplace of my mentor, Jim Dickinson, and 14-year home of my beloved wife, Jennifer Pierce Mathus, whose LR connections run from the Clinton Administration to Red Octopus to Heifer International and beyond!
2. What has surprised you the most about spending time in Little Rock? Meeting "Sweet, Sweet Connie" (just an introduction, nothing more, y'all calm down...) and being given a dozen, still-warm, farm fresh eggs from the bosom of an Arkansan at a show at White Water Tavern. That actually happened.
3. Have you been fully educated on Arkansas music? Do you have a favorite? I was educated in the backcountry of north central Arkansas, particularly on Bear Creek near Mountain View during the Folk Festival in the 70's and 80's. Also have close friends of the family from that era who live over in Morrilton. My favorite current group is The Arkansas Brothers out of Jonesboro, featuring my brother-in-law Matt "Pizzle" Pierce, and always Sonny Burgess and The Pacers.
4. Finish this sentence: My perfect evening in Little Rock involves... drinks and dinner with Jennifer and good friends and then....White Water Tavern, where I'll be playing this Friday night with my band, The Tri-State Coalition. It's our CD release party for "Dark Night of the Soul," just out on Fat Possum Records. We're trying to do a little somethin'. Keep up with us at jimbomathus.com--a site designed by our Little Rock buddy Eric "Chach" Bursey at ChachCo.
5. Your wife lived here for several years -- what are her "must visit" places when y'all come to town? (passes mic to Jennifer) As a former local, I have old and new favorites I try to hit whenever I'm there--Box Turtle for most any/all shopping needs, Big Orange for a Petit Jean Bacon & Avocado Turkey Burger, The Capital Bar for drinks with friends, Avatar in Hillcrest for hair appointments with Tim, Boulevard Bread specifically for a Dried Cherry-Oatmeal Cookie, Pizza Cafe in Riverdale when we can (Jimbo's now a fan).
Coming to Little Rock is like coming home, since we'll stay with our friend-family at Shanon & Allen's house, or sometimes I'm at Mel's house or Marleen & Terry's house for a girls' weekend. And of course, we always head to White Water Tavern. What's great is that Jimbo & I live close enough to come visit often--so I always look forward to trying new restaurants or checking out new venues or stores. I miss and love Little Rock and the people there. I'm proud of my second hometown.
Jimbo's music runs the gamut from bayou-infused roots music to trad-style country and folk and can be heard here. Grab your dancing shoes and head to WWT Friday night to see him in action.