Mean Looking Sky plays a unique blend of "acid blues and roadhouse rock." Their set is balanced between old classic blues standards featuring the likes of Robert Johnson and Mississippi Fred McDowell, and more modern blues and R&B (Gary Moore, ZZ Top, Adele). In short, MLS nods respectfully to the past while blowing the doors off the present with a driving, thoroughly modern sound. The band consists of a female singer, drummer, and bassist, and a male electric guitarist. Mean Looking Sky is part sound excellence, and part tongue-in-cheek theatre: the band dresses the part of Deep South blues musicians bent set on having an adventure and a good time. The following is their complete biography from their Facebook page:
Our unlikely group of musicians first met on a humid day in 2010, the scent of rain heavy in the air.
Miss Honey Marie Williams had recently graduated from The Mississippi School of Protocol and Etiquette near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Honey sang like a songbird and had been the belle of the First Baptist Church her entire life. Her experience with music was steeped deeply in the Baptist tradition, and she had also been a great fan of folk music and acoustic folk rock. Knowing good things were about to unfold, she packed her bag and set out to find her calling. She would visit a cousin in nearby Shreveport, and would look for soloist jobs at local churches and a position with a convalescent home.
Unbeknownst to her, another recent graduate (of the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, also located on the banks of the Mississippi River, albeit much further south), was also heading toward Shreveport.
Creepy Dechenne (AKA Teena) had been a much sought-after hard rocking drummer when nine months prior, after a particularly active and spirited gig, she found herself on the wrong side of the law. Fresh from prison, she had on the clothes she had worn the last night of her freedom: a skimpy black dress, stiletto heels (one broken, rendering it nearly impossible for her to run), a wilted magnolia barrette placed behind one ear, and her drum sticks.
It was there at Sandy's Three Way that the two met. Later, riding in Honey's car, they realized they had not paid for their purchases, and quite to their surprise, they had $200 given them in change! Wow. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.
After a couple hours on the road together, they stopped at a Laundromat so Creepy could browse the laundry to find something to wear other than her present attire. There the two noticed a tall, good-looking guy hurriedly folding clothes while tending to two small children and an infant. His girlfriend was collapsed on the plastic seats filing her nails while simultaneously eating a ho-ho and talking on the phone. Todd Wayne was a veteran guitar player out of Memphis, and after a 7-year hitch in the U.S. Marines, he played in mostly hard rocking metal Christian and classic rock bands. Todd Wayne had fallen in love three months prior and had sworn off the road in favor of domestic bliss. The three new friends turned to look at his beloved just as she shoved a couple more pieces of gum into her mouth. Without another word, Todd Wayne gathered some of his clothes, placed them in a paper bag, and called out over his shoulder as he left, “I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes, honey. I'll be right back!” Todd Wayne didn't smoke, and never had.
They needed a bass player, so they turned the car around and within hours they were in Russaud's red velvet parlor. The madam (AKA Scary Russaud) had some history with music. As a child, she played washtub bass for pickup front porch bands in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. She also had some classical training on piano. The four new conspirators put their heads together to confer, and decided that with such an eclectic palette the best style to play would be the one that none of them had ever played: the Blues.
They began with Mississippi Fred McDowell's “Kokomo Blues” and the electricity in the room was tangible. By the second chorus, a crackling sound could be heard. They started Robert Johnson's “Sweet Home Chicago” and heads were seen popping out of bedrooms to listen. There was electricity snapping and popping in the air. Curtains were blowing wildly at the windows. More police cars arrived, and some passersby assembled on the front porch. The room had darkened ominously, and Creepy, leaning back, looked out the window and murmured, “Man, that is one mean looking sky.”
At that moment a flash of white light filled the room, forever etching the moment indelibly in the minds of all who were present. The heavens opened, and the threatening rain held back no more, washing the scene and its environs clean, clean, clean.
Later, much later, in the lock-up of the parish jail, the four friends would think back to that day, chuckling, and reminisce that it was at that moment that their band Mean Looking Sky was born.