Andy Ratliff hails from Eggville, Mississippi, just outside of Tupelo, a city known for folks who mix up their music with seemingly disparate cultural influences. Ratliff lives up to the challenge. His latest band, Reemus Bo Deemus, takes on the local sound: hill-country blues. But it was a long trip through a world of sounds that brought him back to Mississippi's musical imprint.
"I used to play mountain music for a living," Ratliff says. "I had a little thing with Eric Lewis. But that sound comes through in the vocals. I got into any sort of acoustic music — bluegrass, classical, Indian classical stuff. Well, I played in a punk band before all the bluegrass. And we also did Zappa and stuff like that too."
Despite his extensive musical background and acclaimed guitar chops, Ratliff found his latest stylistic venture to be harder than it seemed.
"I was listening to Hendrix and thought I'd get my electric out again," Ratliff says. "I got that bug. But some of these songs just blossomed on the electric, and I started getting other ideas. Then I started listening to hill-country blues like Junior Kimbrough and Fred McDowell. It sounded easy to me until I started playing it. It's a completely new thing."
There's a new record in the works too.
"We're starting work on it right now, and it's getting there," Ratliff says. "We're doing 10 songs, and most are originals. But they draw on a lot of different backgrounds."
Reemus Bo Deemus, Friday, October 25th, at the Blue Monkey on Madison