Local band Kudzu Kings, formed by alumni during their time at Ole Miss, celebrated their 25th anniversary on Oct. 4 and became the first band to start the Oxford Local Music Project.
The Oxford Local Music Project is an ongoing archive that will feature bands and musicians who have gotten their start and continue to play in Oxford.
Blues curator Greg Johnson is working to document the history of Oxford’s music scene. The archives will feature collected photos, videos and personal memories of bands at events like Kudzu King’s anniversary show.
“So we thought, with the Kudzu Kings, (and showing) them celebrating 25 years as a band here in Oxford, this would be a great opportunity to launch this Oxford local music project and encourage people to donate materials related to various bands that have played in Oxford or been based in Oxford,” Johnson said.
Kudzu Kings started in 1994 when David Woolworth and Tate Moore met through working in the theatre department and later joined up with the previously established local band The Mosquito Brothers. The five started playing at what is now Harrison’s and have been playing together ever since.
The band later went on to tour around the South including stops in Atlanta, Jackson and Memphis. Kudzu Kings recorded two albums, their last one being released in 1999, but are working on a new record with unreleased music and new tracks.
The anniversary show featured the build up of the band’s career.
“The first set sort of sort of loosely symbolize sort of the formation of the band in the early work,” Woolworth said, “And then it also thrown in some new things. But yeah, and then in the second set will be more of a call it a traditional show that we would do in a traditional set, with songs from new and old.”
The band has been active in remastering songs, donating posters and getting stories put together for the music project. Johnson interviewed and documented Kudzu King’s anniversary show, and gathered stories from longtime fans and friends of the band.
The archive will feature artists in genres such as hip hop, rock and others from musicians that have come out of Oxford and continue to surface at local bars and music settings.
Johnson commented on his background in researching the local music scene, and how it translates to his current project.
“So we’ve already kind of started this on one level,” Johnson said, “And we have some interviews that (we’ve) done with various local musicians and whatnot. So it’s going to get beyond just like what you would expect — documenting bands that are playing like bars and things around Oxford. This earlier project, we interviewed a lot of church musicians here. So choir directors, some church, organist and pianists. We interviewed a few DJs for some radio stations around the area.”
Having the background knowledge of the music scene, Johnson mentioned that the archive will be able to track local bands forming as time goes on.
The project currently does not have any external funding and is in its beginning stages, but will continue to document and archive local musicians.