The Trio Project, brainchild of author and book evangelist Shari Smith (I Am a Town), commissions musicians and artists to create original work inspired by a book. The result is a trio of words, music, and art that--at least in the case of The World's Largest Man--has deepened, extended, reified the story of the book in unexpected ways. So, Shari called me one day.
"Do you want to be in a trio?" Shari said.
And I was like, "A band?"
And she was like, "An author and a songwriter and an artist."
"And I'm the artist?"
"Who's the songwriter?"
"This dude who won CMA Musician of the Year like seven times."
And I was like, "Yes, please."
The musician is Mac McAnally, who just became Musician of the Year for the eighth year in a row, and who's the most legendary performance/touring/studio musician ever produced in American music, and who can make music with anything that can make sounds, including a barrel, or a large bird skull, or an accordion, or a guitar. He tours with everybody you've ever heard of. He's also a native of Mississippi, and the song he wrote for The World's Largest Man is called "Alive and In Between." If you've read the book, I think you'll agree he captures the soul of the book in the song, and the longing in the chorus.
You can listen to it below, with McAnally on vocals and most musical instruments and his fellow Coral Reefer Eric Darken on percussion.
While you're listening to it, you can look at this mythic piece of art by Sloan Bibb, "Upon My Father's Knee." The image doesn't do the piece justice. It's nearly six feet from top to bottom, the size of a real man, and the mixed media work a kind of magic. You can literally see into the painting, through three dimensions. There's story in the shadows, in your face, up and down, wherever you look. I hope I've written a book like that.
You can find more of Sloan's work here.
You can find more of Mac's work here.
You can find out more about Trio here.
"Upon My Father's Knee," 3.5'x5.5', mixed media, 2015, Sloan Bibb