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May 18, 2024

Bringing Deep Roots To Life

Tricia Walker credits those who work behind the scenes

By Faith Strong

The Bolivar Bullet

The Deep Roots music project brings live performances to Cleveland and offers some of the best artists around showcasing their talents. Bringing it to life is no small task. Tricia Walker is the developer/manager of the Deep Roots Music initiative in Cleveland. Walker said that Deep Roots was a local music initiative designed to help strengthen and increase the quality of life in the Cleveland community through local roots music and our local musicians.

“With our incredible assets here such as the GRAMMY Museum, the Delta State Entertainment Industry program and the Bologna Performing Arts Center and Dockery is right down the road, we’re the heart of it all,” she Walker. “And, we really want to be known as a music town. But, in order to do that, you have to have consistent, live music. So, we found a way to build a rung of the entertainment ladder in Deep Roots.”

Walker is a musician herself and became director of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State. Retired from that position, Walker now takes pride in serving Cleveland as music ambassador for the city. Walker said that bringing local artists (usually within a 50 mile radius) together to perform is something she really enjoys and has incredible help with. Something she said is paramount for the movement. 

“We had to have great people helping with this or it wouldn’t work,” she said. “I reached out to some of our Delta State graduates who were from the Entertainment Industry program to work with me. One of them is Austin Rutledge who is my production manager. One of the things that we wanted to do with this whole movement was to treat music in a real professional manner which is what we teach at Delta State in the DMI program. Austin, as my production manager, is in charge of making sure the tech is in place for each show and he takes care of all of our inventory, our sound system, things like that. He’s just fantastic in what he does.”

Walker said when she began this journey she also needed someone to be her digital media manager. Libby Switzer, another DSU graduate, filled that position until she left to pursue her Nashville dreams about a year ago.

“Currently, we have Mary Claire Rackley in that position,” said Walker. “She’s a DSU grad and a musician. She serves as our digital media manager and does all the scheduling and all the social media campaigns of the shows that we do. She’s wonderful.”

Walker said between Rutledge and Rackley, they really handle the day to day heavy lifting, with her overseeing everything, from music to musicians to operations. 

“Those two really do the bulk of the work here at Deep Roots and they really deserve a shout-out for all they do each day,” she said. This movement and the people who help bring it about put live music in the spotlight, something we all enjoy.”

Walker said that while Deep Roots has many upcoming events, they also host an outdoor Deep Roots: Live at 5! series at the historic Ellis Theatre during the summer. 

“This is a partnership with the Delta Arts Alliance,” she said. “Also, all Deep Roots shows are free. And the City of Cleveland was recently awarded a Municipal League Excellence Award (statewide) in the ’Spirit’ category for the Deep Roots program. We’re all very thankful that the work that we do has been recognized and we’re so grateful to the city for all their support.”

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