Duluth to the Delta
During the winter of 2015-16 some thoughts came together: Thomas Cole’s famous painting, The Oxbow, as defining an emerging American approach to painting; place references in Lucinda Williams’ songs; and recollections of seeing and hearing Mississippi Fred McDowell and Muddy Waters.
Cole’s painting is set in Northampton, Massachusetts. Oxbows exist in most river systems and looked to me to be the most plentiful along the lower Mississippi. Lucinda Williams’ frequent mention of places makes them a character in her work. Both McDowell and Waters are from the Mississippi Delta, as were many country blues musicians. Once in Mississippi it was easy to plan travel from one Blues Trail marker to another.
It was a loose framework, an excuse to grab my camera and follow my nose. I may not have photographed any formally designated oxbows, but did find many bends in the Mississippi. Ponds, backwaters and bayous are plentiful. And, the blues is the blues and present everywhere in the Delta.