In recent years, I have become a big, big fan of Southern writers. And not writers of song; this blog has long evidenced my love for Southern songcraft. Instead, I mean Southern novelists. In my mind, there is a distinctly Southern voice, a mindset and jargon that only someone from south of the Mason-Dixon Line can throw a harness ‘round and turn into prose.
In particular, I have developed a particular fondness for writers from Appalachia. Tennessee’s William Gay, author of Twilight and The Long Home, and Lee Maynard, author of Crum and a native of West Virginia, jumped to the top of my list of favorite writers once I discovered their work. Having spent the last 23 years of my life here in Virginia, their words resonate with me.
Jim Mize, if only he were a writer of books and not a writer of songs, would certainly fit on that list, too.
Instead, he has recently jumped on to my list of favored Southern songwriters.
Hailing from Arkansas, Mize’s recent release Dragon Lounge is a mish mash of tunes that are distinctly Southern. Like Gay and Maynard, he has captured that Southern essence, from the wide plains of Mississippi to the Louisiana Delta to the rolling Ozark Mountains of Mize’s native state.
Mize has lived the life that crafts a fine wordsmith. He joined the Army while just a teen, faking his identification papers so he could join up before his 18th birthday, and he has spent much of the last three decades absorbing the sounds and stories of life’s trials and tribulations while traveling the highways as an insurance adjuster.
Those experiences manifest themselves in Mize’s music. Having dabbled with guitar since he was a pre-teen, Mize is looking forward to the day when his insurance adjuster days are over and he can hit the road full time. Take a listen to “Rabbit Hole,” on this month’s Trail Mix, and you will be looking forward to that day, too.
For more information on Jim Mize or to get your own copy of Dragon Lounge, surf over to fatpossum.com/artists/jim-mize.