This week DeBraun introduces us to Thomas Usher of the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers.
Thomas Usher is a native of Birmingham, Alabama who moved to Lexington in 2014. Usher is a multi-instrumentalist who got his start, like many, in church. His mother sang in choir and he says he was pushed into music at an early age.
“My mom, as soon as I could speak, put me in a church choir, and I did that for years upon years until, I guess, around 15, but other than that, I was doing musicals, singing in multiple choirs, doing the whole choir boy thing when, now I think I should have done marching band instead, I don’t know.”
Usher graduated in 2010 from Berea College after studying percussion under Tripp Bratton. Since moving to Lexington he has become a much sought after musician for sessions. He also plays with the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, DAD, and also has a solo project called Long Jumper. Playing in multiple groups is something he says gives him the most artistic freedom.
“I can see the utility to dedicating yourself to one specific group, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do one, I have all these things that I can do, all these modes of expression, that’s my modus operandi on that one, I don’t think my goal is to get famous, my goal is to play a lot of music and if a living can be generated out of that, ah that is awesome, but the goal is to be just playing music.
As a musician, Usher says his lyricism is heavily influenced by his own experiences and the past experiences of others. Being a native son to Birmingham is something he says flows directly into his music.
“Birmingham being an epicenter of, you know, a certain kind of history, my lyricism focuses on how does the South want to be remembered, how does the Black South want to be remembered, what do I even think about being Black and Southern, what do I even think about being Southern, like how will this be remembered, your Confederate flags, or your state flags, or countless examples of wrongdoings against, not even just Black people, the history seems to bleed into my lyricism.”
Thomas Usher performs with The Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, DAD and his solo project Longjumper. Usher will be playing with the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers at the Moontower Music Festival on September 27th.
More information about Usher and his projects can be found at Soundcloud.com/longjumperbeats.