Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, you’ll find at the northeast corner of the park a building with a small water tower in its parking lot. That building used to be the main House of Blues property of several around the park. I say used to be, because although I named this series after the House of Blues because they sponsored all the murals around the park which were done by Scott Guion, the whole complex was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of Guion working on the first fence I featured in this series.)
There are three murals associated with this building, two of which I’ve featured before. The mural above is unusual in that it features only one musical act. The only other mural in this series that features only one act is the garage door featuring B.B. King. It’s also unusual in that unlike all the other fences, Guion has not filled the fence end to end with portraits. Instead, he’s devoted almost half of this fence to a geometric pattern evoking flames. That may be because to really appreciate a portrait at the part of the fence farthest from the street, you’d have to be in the neighboring business’s parking lot.
The musicians featured here are members of the Mississippi Sheiks, an influential country blues and string band group that recorded and toured in the first half of the 1930s, best known for the song “Sitting on Top of the World.” (Listen to it on YouTube.) The group went through a few lineup changes, but this portrait is of three of its key members, Bo Carter, Lonnie Chatmon, and Walter Vinson. Bo Carter was born Armenter Chatmon and was Lonnie’s brother. Another brother, Sam Chatmon, also participated in the group. Indeed, the Chatmon family had a long history of musicianship starting with Henderson Chatmon, the family patriarch who had been born into slavery. Mandolin player Papa Charlie McCoy (not to be confused the harmonica player named Charlie McCoy) also performed and recorded with the Sheiks.
It’s interesting that Guion has chosen to show them as somewhat see-through, like ghosts. The lake and forest behind them perhaps represent the Mississippi Delta region that they were from. The portrait is based on a photograph you can see here. In the original photo, the musicians are leaning against a wall, and they are photographed at an angle, while Guion’s mural is more straight-on.
Located at 517 East Iris Drive, which is the address of the building with the water tower. The mural is actually found off of Columbine Place, and faces south, away from the water tower. Parking is available around the park.