It’s a Thursday evening in Oxford. The air is warm. There’s a light breeze flowing down Van Buren Avenue as a crowd files into the tiny doorway of Off Square Books to participate in the timeless tradition of the “Thacker Mountain Live Radio Hour.”
The musical guest is up-and-coming Mississippi singer/songwriter Vitamin Cea. Former Ole Miss student and local favorite musician Ben Ricketts sits with her.
A man of many talents, Ricketts will kick off his spring tour across the Eastern region at Proud Larry’s on Thursday, March 8th at 9 p.m. with Space Tyger and opening act Curlers.
Ricketts’ tour spans seven states over the course of 10 days, but the first one will be in Oxford at Proud Larry’s. Space Tyger is co-headlining the tour with Ricketts the whole way, which goes as far north as Indiana, then south through Georgia and Alabama.
Aside from the upcoming tour, Ricketts anticipates releasing new music in the coming months and is working on a second, more extensive tour for summer.
“I’m excited for so many things,” he said. “I am currently working on another record that kind of marries the sparse, ambient sounds from my album ‘Here, Asleep’ with the more layered, electronic sounds of my album ‘Where Nobody Knows,'” said Rickets.
Many Oxonians have a strong love for Ricketts and are excited for the tour kick-off show. Heralded for his talented musicianship and bubbly, kind personality, Ricketts is a well known member of the local music community.
“Ben Ricketts has been making music as long as I’ve been in Oxford, and I’m continually impressed by his craft,” said Ole Miss student Maggie Smith. “He’s always performing, continually trying to reinvent himself and never gets tired of doing what he loves. You can really pick up on that in his music. It’s what really shines through.”
Andrew Newman, also known by his stage name Lo Noom, reminisced on his time performing alongside and watching Ricketts perform.
“Every one of Ben’s shows are exciting, because they’re never the same,” he said. “He’s either debuting a new song or doing a past one differently. He’s got a work ethic like no other musician in the state, and it blows my mind how he literally never stops moving forward to new things and new shows.”
Newman has also made an impression on the local music scene, but is currently focused on school. “I’m taking it slow with new music just waiting for the right songs to come together for a new release,” said Newman. “I’m not pursuing a career or anything, just trying to have fun with it and enjoy it.
Ricketts said he is excited about the March tour. “I will be playing some weekends between the March tour and when the new record drops, but my biggest plan for this year is a three-week tour in July covering most of the Northeast. I’m still booking it, so it’s a bit up in the air, but it’s in the works.
“But for right now, I’m super excited about this entire upcoming tour. There’s a spot in Athens, Georgia called Flicker that is easily one of my favorite venues, and we’re playing it March 14. Also, for the tour in July, I’ve booked a show in College Park, Maryland. On top of my general excitement about the show, I’ll be taking a day off afterward so that I can spend some time in D.C.”
Co-headliner Kyle Bragwell, also known for performing under the moniker Space Tyger said he’s also excited to perform again. “I tend to isolate myself and constantly create new material, but not play live,” he said. “I never toured my last album. Combined with newer stuff, I’ve got a whole lot of songs I’ve never really played live. That’ll be rad.”
Catch Ben Ricketts and Space Tyger at Proud Larry’s Thursday, March 8th at 9 p.m. as they celebrate and perform their first show of their tour, and make sure to check out the new music that each artist is anticipating on releasing this spring.