Mississippi-grown band Rocket 88 leaving their mark on Oxford’s music scene

Posted on Jun 15 2017 - 8:03am by Austin Hille

Oxford continues to produce more and more original bands and music. One of the newest groups on the scene is Rocket 88, an Americana band that self admittedly has a bit of an identity crisis.

“Americana, I think, doesn’t really fit us. Hill country blues, straight ahead rock kind of stuff; it’s a mix of all that. Somebody called it juke joint gospel at one point,” the group’s bassist, Nathan Robbins, said. “That’s always the hardest question. It’s kind of rock ‘n’ roll with hill country influence, some blues mixed in there. And, even some old traditional country-type stuff.”

Rockett 88 performs live at The Coop Wednesday evening. Photo by Marlee Crawford

The group is based out of Oxford but also represents cities from all across the state of Mississippi, with almost every member being born and raised in the state.

This down-home Southern charm is represented in their live show, which is described as a bit different than some other rock ‘n’ roll groups.

“I always think of them like family reunions,” Robbins said. “Everybody is having a great time. It’s music that everybody knows, and if you don’t know it you can identify with it.There’s always good energy, and the goal is always for that energy to transfer to the crowd.”

The group has had the opportunity to tour all over the Southeast, as well as participate in a few festivals. As the lives of each member change with jobs and family, such an extensive playing schedule isn’t as realistic anymore, but they still put their best foot forward to get out and play as much as possible.

Most recently the band has been featured in a regular rotation at The Coop. One Wednesday of every month the group has a more broken down, intimate set on the rooftop of The Graduate.

Rocket 88 released its first album, “Full Circle,” in 2008. Although it’s been almost 10 years since that last release, the group is more than ready to put out another project some time in the very near future.

“It’s been awhile since we put out a full length album. We all have day jobs,” Robbins said. “Last time I checked we have about 100 unreleased originals. There’s definitely the plan to put out more music, for sure.”

There are big things in the works for Rocket 88 as the summer continues to move along. Shows at  Rowan Oak and the Grove are two big events on the radar for the group as they continue to leave their imprint on the Oxford music scene.