Walking into Musician's Emporium is like stepping through a vortex into another time.
Sam Slough, owner, head cook, sound guy and resident problem-solver, began his love affair with music in high school, when he played bass guitar in dozens of garage bands. The aura of the restaurant and venue space definitely hearkens back to that time, creating a '70s-style warehouse feel that bodes well for classic-rock musicians.
"It has a lot of cool factor to it," Slough, 48, says.
Musician's Emporium boasts a unique venue with many assets to the space. Not only is Musician's Emporium a fully functioning restaurant and a full-service bar, but it is a club with state-of-the-art sound equipment, including new technology that allows Slough to record live shows easily. And all of those things, he says, are equal in his eyes. Musician's Emporium does not have one sole focus--instead, it has three.
Because he is managing these venues, Slough has implemented a more digitized format, including a network of DJ equipment so, as Slough puts it, he "isn't stuck in the DJ booth." The technology allows Slough to move around the building, keeping an eye on the bar, kitchen and stage area all at once.
Musician's Emporium doesn't cater to any specific genre--instead, it strives to be a haven for music styles across the board. Slough has booked every type of band and musician, from blues to reggae to hip-hop artists since the club's opening in April. One of Slough's main goals is to make sure that artists feel welcome in his business.
Slough strives to keep Musician's Emporium local by booking bands from around the city of Jackson, such as the Sofa Kings and Diesel 225. "We have a lot of very talented musicians here," Slough says.
The location on Tombigbee Street formerly the parts department of a car dealership, was in shambles before Slough acquired it. He repurposed the space to fit a bar, seating area and main stage complete with a black-and-white checkered dance floor. The wall behind the stage is adorned with cutouts of southern music greats including Elvis Presley and B.B. King. The kitchen occupies the back of the building.
Everything he knows, Slough says, comes from working with his family, which has roots in Cajun cuisine and soul food. Together, they have cooked for a number of notable people, including former President Ronald Reagan, U.S. legislators and the cast of "Nightline."
Slough focuses mainly on southern cuisine, and the venue's menu ranges from "simple fried foods to more complicated dishes," which include a "custom" half-pound ranch burger and a Baja chicken sandwich.
Musician's Emporium has a karaoke night on Tuesdays, which draws some of the business's largest crowds. Slough says the restaurant doesn't have many slow nights.
"There's just so much that can be done here," he says.
Musician's Emporium is located at 642 Tombigbee St. Call 601-973-3400 to or go to musicians-emporium.com for more information.