Parting Shot

Story & Photograph Birney Imes

My first encounter with Dylan and Eli Eaves came by way of a video clip on their Uncle Phillip’s Smartphone while working on the Macon travel story for this issue. When I expressed interest, Phillip Eaves said he would call me for the next family musical get-together.

Travel is more than museums, monuments and scenic vistas. There are the personal encounters. Some of the most rewarding and memorable moments for the traveler come when a local welcomes him or her into their life, extends a kindness. Be it Macon or Marrakech.   

Friday night, Butler community south of Mashulaville, Noxubee County, 6 o’clock, Kenny Lowrey’s shop: After the barbecue and homemade ice cream, Phillip, Dylan and Eli take the floor. They alternate between bluegrass and gospel. Occasionally, a family member or guest joins them.

Dylan plays acoustic guitar, Eli the mandolin. On some numbers, they swap instruments.

When it came time to play “Wildwood Flower,” Eli puts aside the mandolin. Dylan takes a seat and little brother leans over him. Dylan chorded and Eli picks. Then, they swap places.

“This is something we made up,” Dylan said later. “One day we were just messing around, and we just tried it. It was kind of a challenge. I’ll pick it, and he will chord it.”