Pulpwood Festival, Newhebron, Mississippi on September 8, 2001

Perfect, marvelous, fantastic, exciting, wonderful, terrific.....I could go on and on because ALL describe this past weekend in Newhebron, Mississippi! Where do I start??!! Let's try the beginning!

After a glorious night in Clarksville, TN, it was time to "hit the road"! I'd never been to Mississippi, so when I found out Marty was the headliner for the Newhebron Pulpwood Festival's "Concert Under the Stars 2001" on September 8th~~my reaction: "Why not?!" ("Where IS that road atlas?")

I left Nashville at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday morning, Mississippi bound! I got excellent directions from the nice lady at the Mississippi Welcome Center. I became more excited with each passing mile! All 3 states (TN, AL & MS) had road construction, but even that didn't dampen my spirits! Add to this the weatherman's dreary prediction of rain for Saturday. You know what they say, "Neither rain, nor road construction shall keep a tried and true Marty fan from reaching her appointed rounds, oooops, Marty Party!"

I arrived in Magee, Mississippi at about 6:30 p.m... Passed a humongous billboard with Marty's smiling face publicizing the Festival. (Mental note: "Got to take a picture of that before I leave Magee"). Magee is somewhat larger than Newhebron, thus the reason for staying there. I had been told that the place for us to stay would be the Comfort Inn in Magee. So, I quickly checked in there! Once settled in, I set out to explore a bit.....especially since there was a Super Walmarty about 2 minutes away! I just HAVE to seek help for my Walmarty addiction. Do you suppose there is a support group of any kind?! Oh, well!

Once back in the motel I spent some really fun time talking via cell phone to Cindy Allred and Lisa Phillips of Alabama. They were coming on Saturday morning! GOOD!!! It was getting better all of the time! I just love Cindy and Lisa! If you ever want true and loyal friends, latch on to these two gals! They're the best! ;-) I also heard Marty's "Aunt Myrtle" and her son, Dwayne were coming in from Marty's hometown, Philadelphia, MS. What more could I ask for....... besides better weather?

Saturday morning dawned cloudy, hot and humid. Local news was still predicting rain. I just said a few prayers that our God would allow good weather for our sweet Marty! Talked some more to Cindy and Lisa...they were on their way.....yaaaaahooooo!! The Marty Party was taking shape! ("Please clear up weather!")

As the day wore on the sky became more and more menacing....not good when you're going to an outdoor venue. At approximately 3 p.m.. Aunt Myrt and Dwayne arrived. They'd been to Jackson where Dwayne had purchased a new guitar. Dwayne's Dad was the one that taught Marty to play the guitar! And Dwayne sure can play too! Even with no amplifier, he sounded great. I could have listened almost all night, well, till Marty took to the stage anyway! ;-) We LITERALLY had just gotten their luggage inside the motel door when, whoosh, the sky just seemed to open up! This was NOT good......Lisa and Cindy were driving in this mess! I was frantic! Plus I thought of that evening. ("Please let it stop raining!!!").

Aunt Myrt and Dwayne did their best to assure me that the two girls would be okay, and I did my best to believe it! After what seemed like an eternity, they arrived smiling at the door! Whew, was I glad to see them!! We got their luggage in after the five of us visited for awhile, Dwayne teasing us Fan Club Members incessantly, all in the spirit of fun (you can just imagine the mischief that he and Marty can, and HAVE, caused!) ;-) Soon it was time for the three of us to head to our suite to get ready for our "main man"! Poor Dwayne really does deserve a medal, he had to wait while 4 women got ready! As Marty told him later, "They just wanted to paint and powder!" (Sounds like the voice of experience, only I can't imagine Connie needing ANY time to get gorgeous, she already is!)

After our 1/2-hour ride (that seemed to take forever since we were so anxious!) we arrived in Newhebron. Such nice folks! True Southern Hospitality! We quickly sat our chairs up in perfect position, and waited. Aunt Myrt and Dwayne went to visit a while with our Marty, so we also awaited their return. Marty's opening act, "Christy Rose", went on at 7 p.m......how was she? Well, you're asking the wrong person, my friends! I was too busy looking at my Marty watch, trying to sit patiently till our Marty took the stage at 8 p.m..

FINALLY it was time, and we watched as our Rock & Roll Cowboys took to the stage......they announced our man, citing his Grammy awards, being President of the Country Music Foundation, and a Mississippi native!!! Out he strutted, looking fantastic in a black jacket with white lacing, and his now trademark black leather pants. He quickly got down to the job at hand, giving this crowd some REAL country music!! And give it to them he did! The guys were at their very best, as always!! (Like there was any doubt!) Due to the A/C being a bit too cold on Brad en route there from the previous night's show in Texas, poor Brad had laryngitis...as Marty put it, "He left his voice in Texas, but brought his heart to Mississippi!" Steve was drafted to sing Brad's parts. (He did an excellent job, I might add!) They all seemed in great spirits, especially Gregg who seemed to be having a ball, just like us! Marty did lots of our favorite songs like:

"Hillbilly Highway"
"Hey Baby"
"(Just To) Satisfy You"
"Ring of Fire"
"Southern Accent"
"Honky Tonk Crowd"
"The Whiskey Ain't Working"
"Western Girls"
"Blue Train"
"Little Things"
"Long Black Veil" (I still wish he'd record this!!!)
"Hillbilly Rock"
"Burn Me Down"
"Now That's Country" (his encore)

All too soon the show was over. Marty had sent word via Aunt Myrt and Dwayne that he'd see the other three of us after the show. So the five of us chatted with Brad, Gregg & Steve while we waited for that Mississippi Mudcat of ours! Les Banks is currently acting as Marty's road manager, and told us that Marty would be out shortly. Les is also Marty's "sound guy", a job nobody can do like Les! Les is such a doll!

Next thing we knew, out popped our Marty, all smiles! After visiting with a few folks that were hanging around near the bus, Marty made his way over to us, calling us "Myrtle's Mutts"! Lisa exclaimed, "Mutts??!!" He grinned and quickly finished his thought...."I'm a Myrtle mutt too!" I think that puts us in GREAT company! Besides, I've always heard mutts make the best pets!! ;-)

Myrtle had brought Marty a huge supply of butterbeans to take back to Mom Hilda, and we were really trying to make sure they were on the bus......Marty and Les kept trying to assure us, "The beans are on the bus!". Hahahaha!!

As the boys got on the bus and headed back to Nashville, the five of us headed back to Magee, and tried to figure out what food establishment was still open. Not much! McDonald's, Wendy's, Walmart Food Center, and Sonic......we opted for Sonic. Dwayne stayed at the hotel and just told us, "Get me anything except chicken". We could handle that request!

Back at the hotel, we talked happily till about 1:30 a.m., and then called it a night... to "Dream, Dream, Dream" of the night's super show! The weather you may ask......well, I told you God loves Marty.....the stars and moon were shining bright on our darling Pilgrim.....all was right with the world! The next day....off to Philadelphia, Mississippi!!!! But first......many thanks to the Newhebron Activities Club for having our Marty and us! They showed us what Southern Hospitality truly was, and these Marty fans are forever grateful! Mississippi, these "Myrtle Mutts will be back!"

Till the next time~~~
Love & Luck!
Shelby Jean
Faithful Pilgrim and Mrytle Mutt

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