Delicate Shades of Folk, by Katherine R. Dougan | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Delicate Shades of Folk, by Katherine R. Dougan

Jackson folks might remember Kris Wilkinson from her days with Perfect Strangers, a band formed in the mid-1980s while she was in college at Delta State University in Cleveland. After graduating, she lived and performed in Jackson for a couple of years. Wilkinson, now half of the duo Cicero Buck, is coming back to Jackson Nov. 27, when her tour for her recently released CD, "Delicate Shades of Grey," brings her to Fenian's Pub.

"It's been a long time since I've played over there (Jackson). It's going to a very nice sort of homecoming, Wilkinson, 37, said.

A record label picked up Perfect Stangers; however, "that turned out to be not a very good deal," Wilkinson said. "We (the band) hired a lawyer and got out of it. That's when I left Jackson and found myself in Nashville," she said. Wilkinson lived and played music in Nashville with her band, For Kate's Sake, for nearly 12 years before moving to London in May 2000. She went to the UK to work with her music partner, bassist/songwriter and Englishman Joe Hughes, whom she met at a music conference in Amsterdam.

"We realized we had something going that we enjoyed," Wilkinson said. So the duo, dubbed Cicero Buck, hit the recording studios and made "Delicate Shades of Grey."

When asked how they came up with the band's name, Wilkinson explained that while in the band Perfect Strangers, she and a band mate were in Yazoo City on a sightseeing tour with the band's lawyer.

"We thought the tour guide said the houses were built by Cicero Buck. What he actually said was that the houses were bought from Sears & Roebuck," Wilkinson said.

Although the band's name was spawned from a misinterpretation of a cookie-cutter home manufacturer, "Delicate Shades of Grey" is far from cookie-cutter music.

Stylistically, the music is reminiscent of the band Everything But the Girl, blended with Americana and alt-country, and influenced by Neil Finn (Crowded House) and Patty Griffin.

Wilkinson's influences include Finn, Griffin and other artists such as singer/songwriter Kim Richey, whom she met and played a show with. "As a little kid I listened to everything from Yes to Barbra Streisand records. The last three years I'm more interested in singer/songwriter music," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson is the predominant writer of Cicero Buck's lyrics, melodies and acoustic guitar parts, while Hughes writes the bass parts and handles the harmonies. "It's very much a partnership," Wilkinson said.

Cicero Buck will perform at Fenian's Pub, 901 E. Fortification St., at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27. There is no cover charge. Visit the band's Web site at "Delicate Shades of Grey" is available at

Support our reporting -- Follow the MFP.