New Albany, Mississippi is one of the Hill Country region’s more prosperous towns, and that was true even before the construction of the Toyota plant at nearby Blue Springs, or the phenomenal growth of Tupelo, which has pulled New Albany almost into the status of a bedroom community. The town’s downtown district along Bankhead Street has seen something of a renaissance in recent years, becoming a shopping district of cool boutiques, gift shops, a bakery, a frozen yogurt place, and restaurants. Each fall, New Albany celebrates its location on the Tallahatchie River with the Tallahatchie River Fest, a celebration of arts, crafts, food and live music.
2022’s festival featured lots of food trucks selling everything from wings to ice cream pops, a children’s play area at the foot of Main Street, crafts on the courthouse lawn, and live music in the park near the river. The majority of the evening’s music was country, but the exception was Hill Country blues great Garry Burnside, a son of the late R. L. Burnside who has been mentoring a young guitar player from New Albany named Gracie Williams. Gracie performed with Garry on the Tallahatchie River Fest stage, and her family and friends came out to see her perform. The weather was bright and beautiful, and everyone managed to have a good time.