In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the indie pop artist, Corey Harper, reveals something crazy that has happened on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
My set at Proud Larry’s in Oxford, Mississippi, was the start of a few days I will always remember, not only because it was my first time touring in the South, but I happened to make an unlikely acquaintance. If you find yourself in Oxford, chances are you’ll find Delta Dawn, sitting in her regular corner chair of the bar at Proud Larry’s, fiddling with her vodka tonic, and wearing big black sunglasses that hang just low enough to see her eyes peering over the frames.
I met Delta after my show in Oxford. She came up and offered me a drink and told me to come sit with her. She was kind enough to give me many compliments about the show but also told me what I should work on. “Damn boy, you sure can play that guitar,” she said. “I know I look young but I’ve been around long enough to see some really great players come through here”. Our conversation started off pretty casual. I told her my story of how I got to be on this tour and a little bit about my musical background, talking about some of my influences, and how excited I was to be touring in the South. She told me her history of starting many major radio stations in Oxford back in the day and began to tell me about her “friends” she made growing up in Mississippi. Now, I’m still not sure if most of these stories are even true, but for the sake of the story, it’s much better if you choose to believe.
Dawn told me about how she used to travel all around the South following bands like The Dead, Allman Brothers, and go over to RL Burnside’s house and hear him play and listen to his stories. “I was Gerry’s good luck charm. He used to have me come backstage before every show in every city, and I’d make some t-shirts with the girls and they’d wear them for the set”.
She told me these stories of touring with these bands for years and becoming very close with these musicians who I’ve looked up to and listened to my whole life. My idols who were like mysterious characters in a book of musical history to me were some of her best friends as a young girl.
By this time, the rest of my band members had come to sit around the bar and we all listened to her stories in awe. She was either completely crazy or what we were hearing was completely true. The next day we were traveling to Jackson, about two and a half hours away from Oxford. She said, “You tell me where the show is, and I’ll come.”
The next day, sure enough, halfway through the set I see her walk in the venue, with the same outfit and the same sunglasses in the same position, vodka tonic in hand, watching the show. And again, she hung out with all of us after the show.
We went to dinner and heard story after story, still in amazement. She picked up the tab and left to go to her hotel room that she had apparently booked for the night… “Now that’s a fucking good time. You guys are the shit. Thanks for letting me bore you all with my stories the last couple of nights. Y’all are the shit. Remember Delta Dawn next time y’all are in Oxford. You’ll find me.” She walked out the door and gave me her number and asked us to call her on the road.
Sure enough the next day, we spent a five-hour drive with her on speaker, listening to her stories yet again, but this time in the comfort of our sprinter van.
Never in my life had I met someone more mysterious and fascinating, whether or not she was full of shit didn’t even matter at this point. She had become the talking point of the rest of the tour, and to this day my bandmates and I remember the stories of Delta Dawn.
If you ever find yourself in Oxford and stumble into Delta, tell her Corey says hi.