Bishop Gunn helps Natchez ‘Shine on’

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bishop Gunn has certainly done well for themselves.

The band formed in Natchez played their first gig just four years ago at a balloon glow event in 2014 and has since moved off to Nashville where they have found success.

A couple of weeks ago, the band released its debut album titled “Natchez” and on Saturday they returned to the bluff in the hometown that helped launch their career.

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They did it in fine fashion, hosting the Bishop Gunn Crawfish Boil with plenty of crawfish, shrimp and fixin’s to please everyone.

I’m fortunate to live right across the street from the bluff where they held the inaugural Bishop Gunn Crawfish Boil, which they say they hope will become an annual event.

I hope so, too. It was a lot of fun.

Tents were set up days in advance on the green grass of the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and excitement spread throughout the community in anticipation of the great celebration of the local band’s success.

The performances did not disappoint, nor did the crowds.

The bands started about 2:30 p.m. and continued jamming throughout the day, with brief intermissions between sets.

All of the bands were great, but Bishop Gunn was the showstopper.

Jennifer Ogden Combs, Visit Natchez executive director, said people came from throughout the nation to see the band perform such songs as “Shine and “Makin’ it” from the album that bears the name of the band’s hometown.

The city has certainly embraced Bishop Gunn’s success as fliers touting the event were posted in virtually every business from banks to mom-and-pop shops in downtown Natchez.

I’m a new fan of Bishop Gunn, a band I knew nothing about until a few weeks ago. They have a distinct Mississippi blues-rock soul fusion style that is pure Mississippi.

When I listen to Bishop Gunn I hear influences of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Al Green, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, but I also hear an original band that has taken those influences and created a unique new sound.

Knowing they are from Natchez makes it understandable.

Across the great river from the bluff they performed on Saturday sits the rich Delta land of Concordia Parish that birthed Jerry Lee Lewis, whose rock ’n‘ roll was influenced by the great Delta bluesmen and jazz and gospel from the region’s churches.

In their final set Saturday night they played a Led Zeppelin cover, their own song “Shine” and a cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and some other great bluesy rock songs.

They sounded great.

I’m proud of Bishop Gunn, and I’m proud to be a resident of the city that spawned them and of which they thought enough to name their first album and then to bring a great party to our bluffs.

They are another jewel in Mississippi’s crown of great musicians, artists and writers, and I’m sure they will represent the state well.

I wish them much more success in the careers.

Congratulations, and thanks for soulfully rockin’ us, Bishop Gunn.

Shine on!

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or