Pictures and thoughts from a Memphis Musician's Wife


On a stormy day in Memphis, B.B. King was honored with one of the most moving memorial ceremonies I have been witness too on Beale Street. The King of the Blues, as he was so affectionately called, was honored with a musical celebration fit for a king. I was blessed to be able to be backstage for the entire show because Ghost Town Blues Band opened the ceremony with a selection. That day was amazingly special for so many reasons, but the biggest for me was that Ty was able to be a part of the entire celebration. It was an amazing atmosphere, filled with emotion, love, and music.

Being a part of a touring band is a unique experience. Your life revolves around being on the road. It’s almost as if time stops while you are on tour. I toured for the past 5 years in one capacity or another. As of a few weeks ago, I am no longer doing so. Now, it’s back to the real world. 

This is definitely not an easy transition. Life on the road is so different. It’s something new every day. A different city, venue, people, and food selection are just a few of the things you get used too. 

For me, I was touring with my husband. He is still on tour, and now I am home. I shouldn’t complain. I can be here for my kids and family. I have a job I am blessed to work. But it is hard adjusting back into society after having been a part of the music world for so long. It’s hard not seeing my spouse for weeks at a time, especially since we have not spent more than a few days apart in the 7 years we have been together. It’s hard feeling like a single parent because I’m the only one here. It’s hard not being able to talk about how I feel because not many people get it. It’s hard seeing 5 years of work and honing my skills as a merch person basically flushed down the drain. It’s hard talking to him on the phone and imagining all that I am missing. Once again… Tears. 

I find myself crying uncontrollably after I speak to my husband on the phone. It’s hard to sleep and eat. I just don’t know how to cope. I don’t know how to express why I feel the way I feel. 

I hate change, and this one is big. So…I will do what I do daily. I will get up, follow my routine. Stay strong because that’s what my kids need. I will go to work and smile through the pain. I will keep going. There is nothing else to do. Giving up is not an option here!

Do they know?

Do they really know what we do when they are gone? We cook. We clean. We do laundry. We help with homework. We get kids to school and choir rehearsal, and then we get those kids to our other kid’s activities. We make sure they are all entertained, fed, bathed, and dressed ever morning and night. 

Road life is hard, but home life is no piece of cake. The routine at home is monotonous many days, while road life is hectic and always changing. Making the change has confused my body. My mind still thinks like I’m on the road. It’s hard not to ask questions when I am not there. Life. Death.  Changes. They are inevitable. I wonder if he understands how I feel. I wonder if anyone does. 

It’s not often that you see wives on the road with bands. Most bands ban significant others from touring because it can cause major problems. It can be hard to separate personal from business when you are working together, let alone being on the road for days or weeks at a time. I’m still working at making sure I am more help than harm to the guys when I am on the road. I know that all these female hormones can sometimes be crazy, but I’d like to think I’ve done a decent job of keeping them in check…

I started this post a little over two years ago. Jeremy was in a different band, and it seems like a lifetime ago, even though it hasn’t even been a year since the switch. Other things have happened, too. We got primary custody of my stepdaughter. We became full time parents overnight. That really threw a wrench in things. I am also no longer a touring wife. I am now just normal Mary…Musician’s wife, mother, daughter, sister, waitress, aunt, and a few other things. 

My life has been through so many changes in the past few years. The emotional rollercoaster gets overwhelming at times. I balance my kids’ schedules, work at the restaurant, Jeremy’s schedule, and whatever others need into one tightly connected schedule. Now, I am home pretty much full time. I have a driving teenager, an eight year old with activities, and a 28 year old musician husband with gigs and driving Lyft in his spare time, what little he has just to make ends meet. I’m not the only one who has this predicament, and I most certainly won’t be the last. 

The band change was huge for us. We left a family we helped develop and mold for another family starting from the ground floor. Jeremy had the opportunity to be signed with the legendary Stax Records, and it was almost like a sign from God. I knew this could be a good step for us. We jumped in with both feet. We have been through many trials during this journey. Due to many circumstances, none bad, I now stay at home. My kids need stable parenting at home, and we needed the money since I am working at a better location of my restaurant. It is a new opportunity, and I have been grateful to feel a little normal the last few weeks. 

But still… This change… It bothers me. My life for the past almost 7 years has been spent with Jeremy at gigs. Being his right hand became my career. Now, that road life is over. I am home most nights on the phone with him imagining what we would be doing if I was there while we trade sighs on the phone. I knew it was coming. It’s just such a big change. I didn’t know I would miss it this much. 

My Two Jobs

Balancing two totally different lifestyles can be tedious. Most people have no clue of what it is like to travel with a band full time. Most people think it is all fun and music, lots of beer and liquor, and great hotels. This is not always the case. Some days, we spend more time on the band van going to and from the gig than they actually play. Sometimes you arrive at a venue that is so small you would never expect to be able to have a good turnout or good sales, but it turns out to be one of the best gigs you play. There are long days and not a lot of sleep. You spend many of your hours sleeping on a van. You eat good sometimes, and other times you don’t eat anything but gas station food for days. My official job title with Ghost Town Blues Band is “merch lady.” However, at times, I help drive the van, move equipment, play ambassador when the guys are on stage, take photo and video to document the band’s exploits, and whatever else is needed of me. You see, I am normally the only band wife/girlfriend to ride along. I have tried to be an asset to the band, and it has taken me so many places I never thought I would see. Today, I was able to go see Niagara Falls with Jeremy and see one of the most beautiful sights in the United States. I always look forward to seeing what new places we will go and all the beautiful things we get to see.

Then, there is my other job. I am a waitress at one of the best sushi/ Japanese restaurants in Memphis. I love my job because I get to meet so many awesome people. It has always been so amazing to me seeing all the differences in people. I love bringing a smile to people’s faces. This was originally a job I took so Jeremy wouldn’t have to work so much in the summer and we would have income in the winter time, when things got slow on Beale Street. It has now turned into a full time job for me whenever I am not touring with the band.

Balancing these two jobs can be difficult. I usually have to find time to manage Jeremy’s band in between all the other things going on: working at the restaurant, being mom (part-time) to Tytianna and my 14 year old son, keeping my house taken care of (although Jeremy has been doing most of that lately because I am rarely home), taking care of 7 dogs (yes 7), and doing things for my mom. There is not much time for personal time, getting haircuts or nails done, or even going on a date. I have yet to learn how to balance all my activities. If i had about three more of me, maybe I would get everything done in a timely manner. That, however is impossible.

So, it has been a long while since my last post. I didn’t have a computer, and it is such a pain to post from my phone, so I just didn’t post for a while. SO much has changed since then. Ghost Town Blues Band has now taken off, making a big splash everywhere they go. Our little drummer is now a full fledged trumpeter and in school. Jeremy is touring full time and not really playing in Memphis much these days. Suavo J. featuring Mr. 88 and the Bones is now Suavo J and 88Bones and actually playing at better venues, getting paid much better than before. I have literally traveled through every time zone in the country as Ghost Town’s official merch lady. I have tons of adventures to talk about. This has been one crazy ride in the past two years. Hopefully you will keep up with me once again.



Almost Famous

What makes a musician famous? Is it their album sales? Is it the clothes they wear? It seems these days, that with all the new studio technology, you don’t even really have to know how to play an instrument or really even sing to make a hit. With pop culture, you don’t even really have to be saying anything in a song to have a hit and sell millions of records. On a daily basis, I see musicians who play LIVE music every day struggle to get by. I see a band of young “hip” stars touring with full police escorts who lip sync and have full bands of musicians pretending to play instruments to a click track. Someone said something to Jeremy the other day that really made a lot of sense. They told him he is a pianist, not a keyboardist. Keyboardists use their keyboards as machines, to make beats or use all kinds of crazy sounds. Pianists use their machine as nothing more than an instrument when they are in a live situation. Don’t get me wrong, the keyboardists are definitely skilled artists, but I truly believe that the people getting all the big money should be the ones who are actually doing all the work without all the technical help. Musicians years ago didn’t have the ability to transpose their pianos. They had to actually learn all of their scales and chords. It’s really sad to see how little respect the musicians who have actually learned how to play their instrument get and how much respect the people who have no clue as to what they are doing get. We need to bring back the days of real live music. Where there is feeling and passion in what the musicians are actually doing.

My husband and I met on Beale Street in October of 2010. I was just coming back to town from South Carolina to basically start my life over. I went down to Beale to hang out because I needed the music and wanted to try to look for a job. I met Jeremy in passing and thought he was a drummer for a long time. That was until the day we really met each other.

On October 24, 2010, I was on Beale Street to meet some guy for a lunch date. He stood me up because it was raining. I was standing in Handy Park when Jeremy came walking through, soaked. I called out his name, and he hugged me when he walked over. He didn’t say much. He walked me over to the wall at the front of the park, and we just started talking. He held me close to him, letting me talk away. People would walk up to us and tell us how cute we were together. We weren’t even a “couple” yet. LOL. That day, we spent hours talking to each other, walking on the river, talking more. I felt like I could trust him with anything, my deepest darkest secrets. He didn’t judge me. He just smiled, held my hand tighter, pulled me closer, and would kiss me gently from time to time. It was like something out of a movie. Around 4 am, we ended up at Denny’s. We ate breakfast, and Jeremy asked me how I was getting home. I had no car at the time, and I was going to have to wait another two hours for the bus. I asked him to walk me to the bus terminal, but he refused. He wasn’t going to leave me alone at the terminal for hours. He caught a cab and took me to his house.

Jeremy was living with his mom at the time, and we snuck into the house. We spent the next day together on Beale. And the next. We couldn’t leave each other. We got our own place, continuing to build on our friendship and relationship. It was different than any relationship I’d been in. We trusted each other. We loved each other. We appreciated each other. I could tell him anything about me, and he refused to judge me. Within a few weeks, we knew our connection was permanent. We were meant for each other. He was the one who suggested that we get married.

11 months to the day after we started dating, we were married. September 24, 2011. No, our relationship has not been all peaches and cream, but I can’t imagine my life without my husband, my best friend, my lover, my partner, my business partner. Our lives are together, which is something you don’t find in most relationships today. I am truly blessed to have found my true Prince Charming, Jeremy Powell.

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