‘Beyond the Tracks’ brings Garry Burnside, Gracey Williams to the museum stage

NEMiss.News Gracie Williams and Garry Burnside


Beyond the Tracks begins the second summer music series on Saturday, May 21, 2022, on “The Bridge Stage” in the Crossing on the Green Park.

The “Bridge Stage” and Crossing on the Green Park

The Crossing on the Green Park is located on the corner of Faulkner Way and Jefferson Street in New Albany, MS. Some may be familiar with the location as being next to the museum’s “Art House.” Some may recognize it as the Northside neighborhood’s corner park that is lit up every night with white twinkle lights.

NEMiss.News train viewing from The Train Bridge

Atop “Clerance” is a great spot for train watching.

The museum, with the help of the city, added a stage to the Crossing on the Green Park five years ago when the previous GM&O railroad crossing bridge over Main Street on the Tanglefoot Trail was replaced. Many lovingly remember this bridge as being called “Clerance” due to the misspelled use of the word “clearance” from many years ago. The bridge was saved and placed in the park with the thought that it would become a wonderful viewing deck for the trains passing through, as well as a stage for events and a picnic and green space for the city.

Garry Burnside kicks off “Beyond the Tracks” second season

The first official museum event being held on the stage will be May 21, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. The music series “Beyond the Tracks” will kick off season two with a free concert featuring the music of Hill Country blues musician Garry Burnside and the Garry Burnside Band. Burnside is one of the sons of blues legend R.L. Burnside, and carries on his blues legacy. Garry Burnside is a resident of Ripley, MS, and in addition to widely performing in the region, he is a guitar teacher.

One of Garry’s current students is a New Albany, MS native and New Albany Elementary School student, Gracey Williams. Gracey is in the fifth grade and is about to turn eleven years old. She began playing guitar at age seven and has been studying under Garry Burnside for two years.


Gracey Williams to perform with Burnside

Once Burnside realized Gracey’s gift and potential, he began inviting her to perform with him on stage. She has appeared with him and his band at the Hill Country Picnic, The Alice Mae Festival, Foxfire Ranch and Proud Larry’s. They also play almost weekly at local venues such as Rafters in New Albany and The Sports Grill and Mojos in Ripley.

In addition to playing on stage with Burnside, other prominent musicians Gracey has played with include Mark “Muleman” Massey, Kenny Brown, Luther Dickinson, Eric Dickinson, Eric Deaton and Paul Rogers. If those names aren’t familiar to you, the bands they play with may be. North Mississippi AllStars, The Black Crowes, The Black Keys and Kingfish may ring a bell!

Just this summer, Gracey and Burnside will appear at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic (June 24-25), New Albany Riverfest (September 24), Ripley Block Party (May 28). Gracey has also been practicing with the local band, Justin Kirk and Company and will begin playing with them at some local shows.


Music in their blood

NEMiss.News R L Burnside

RL Burnside at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville TN
Photo: Wikipedia

As mentioned earlier famed blues legend, R.L. Burnside. From his teenaged years until his death at age 78 in 2005, Burnside was involved in the world of music. As a blues singer, song writer and guitarist, he earned wide-spread recognition and several awards. In 2014 he was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. Many of his sons and grandsons have followed him into musical careers.

Gracey, much like Burnside, is also a descendant of a music legend. Her great-great uncle is native New Albanian, Bobby Wood.

Wood was a member of the studio group 827 Thomas Street Band as well as the Memphis Boys and played on some of the most vital country records ever released and is credited on a countless number of timeless hits. Wood also had a recording on the pop circuit before a serious wreck derailed his career for a period.

Most recently, Gracey was interviewed on the Radio Memphis Station show “Blue and Booze” where she was promoting the release of singles with Garry Burnside. Their first release can be found on YouTube and Spotify. Gracey, who writes her own solos, is featured on two songs on the album, “A.G.F.” And “Garry’s Groove.”

NEMiss.News Gracie Williams and Wood exibit

Gracie talks about her great great uncle, musician Bobby Wood.

As the school year draws to a close, Gracey looks forward to moving up to sixth grade at New Albany Middle School where she will be joining the marching band, “The Pride of New Albany” where she will be featured as the electric guitarist on the field during marching season.

Gracey is the daughter of Andrea and Korey Parrish and Josh Latham. She is the granddaughter of Betty Williams and the late Rickey Williams, Vicky Latham and Steaven & Mary Latham. Her entire family supports her passion for music and they can all be found in the front row of every show on any given weekend. In addition to her family’s musical heritage influencing Gracey’s musical education, she has also been taught by Buddy Gresham, Anna Bullock and Eric Stronger.

The “Beyond the Tracks” kickoff performance is free and is sponsored by Sugaree’s. Bring your lawn chairs. Join us, to listen to the music, eat birthday cake sponsored by Sugaree’s and enjoy the evening. A food truck will be available. Call 662 -538-0014 for more information.

Jill Smith, Director
Union County Heritage Museum
114 Cleveland Street
New Albany, MS 38652