memphis

Introducing NYC Blues Rockers - Memphis Crawl

New York City based blues rockers, Memphis Crawl, recently released their debut album, “Falling Down Against The Sun” in the winter of 2011. The band will be hitting the road this summer, playing select dates in support of the new record. For more information, please visit: www.memphiscrawl.com

Formed in the summer of 2004 by songwriter and front man, Matty O’Brien, Memphis Crawl has been regarded as one of the best and most exciting live acts around. O’Brien himself has been described as “one of the most charismatic rock n roll frontmen of all time, with the voice and looks to back it up”. He amplified and perfected the sound with the addition of lead guitarist Bryan Stevens, bassist Mad Freik, drummer Mike Vincenti, and rhythm guitarist Nick Vincenti.

Memphis Crawl dropped their debut EP, “Falling Down Against The Sun”, in January 2011. The bands first studio effort received an enormously positive response from both music critics and fans alike, catapulting them to new career heights.

Having performed from New York to Los Angeles, sharing the stage with notable acts such as Leon Russell and Silvertide, the band built a solid following with their fusion of psychedelic rock-blues and hypnotic live performances. Their fans have become as infamous as the band with their wild behavior, and are often referred to as the Memphis Mafia or Crawl Dogs.

Memphis Crawl proves that rock n roll is alive and well and can hold its own on any stage in the land!

Tour Dates:

9.2.11 - The Velvet Lounge                    East Setauket, NY

9.15.11 - Trash Bar                                Williamsburg, NY

9.17.11 - The Brickhouse Brewery           Patchogue, NY

For more on Memphis Crawl, please visit: www.memphiscrawl.com

Sheryl Crow @ Boulder Roots & Blues Summit

For Sheryl Crow, the title of her seventh album isn?t just a location; it's a state of mind. "I grew up in a small town 100 miles from Memphis, and that informed not only my musical taste, but how I look at life," she says. "The drive to Memphis is all farmland, and everyone is community-oriented, God-fearing people, connected to the earth. The music that came out of that part of the world is a part of who I am, and it's the biggest inspiration for what I do and why I do it."

So for the Kennett, Missouri native, calling the disc 100 Miles From Memphis is a statement of purpose, both musical and emotional. It also marks a long-awaited return by the nine-time Grammy winner to the sounds that first drew her to making music.

The results evoke a time when soul and passion filled the radio waves, when the sweat and joy of a recording session could be captured forever on wax. Sometimes the musical references?Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder?are made apparent, but the album?s eleven songs are characterized more by capturing a classic spirit than by imitating any specific style.

Crow explains that the way 100 Miles From Memphis was recorded is crucial to its slinky grooves and rolling rhythms. Produced by Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley ("I knew they could get that old soul feeling with authenticity," she says), and cut mostly live with a regular crew of musicians, the album presented a new set of challenges for her as a singer and a songwriter.

With the musical direction already established, the album's messages crystallized in one night at Crow's farm, outside of Nashville. "Having a three year old, you don't get too much quiet time," she says, "but I sat up one night, and I worked all night long and came up with the better part of five lyrics."

What emerged was a set of songs that are unusually open and direct for someone often celebrated for the care and craft of her writing. "This music called for emotion, a place of sensuality and sexuality, and that's a little challenging for me," she says. "Sometimes it's easier for me to hide behind more intellectual lyrics. So it was a great stretching experience to show more vulnerability in my writing."

The songs on 100 Miles From Memphis display impressive range, in feeling and performance. First single "Summer Day" is a delightfully breezy slice of glory-days AM radio pop. "I wanted to experiment with writing something simple and positive," says Crow. "The feeling of a great, solid love, not just a new love, but something everlasting."

Crow, of course, first reached the spotlight as a back-up singer with Michael Jackson, and adds that "I Want You Back" was the first single she ever bought. "It wasn't a conscious choice to do an homage, but it wound up being a very bittersweet thing," she says. "Michael's death brought a lot of stuff back for me, so it was nice that we could include this."

For Sheryl Crow, 100 Miles From Memphis is the right album at the right moment. "My last record (2008's Detours) was pretty political, extremely personal, and more lyric-driven," she says, "so it seemed like a great time to do something soulful and sexy and more driven by the music." It took a lot of years, but with this set of songs, she finally made it back home.

-

More Info / Buy Tickets

B.B. King's rescheduled date at the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Westword are proud to present the rescheduled date for B.B. King at the Boulder Theater on Saturday, August 20th, 2011.

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don't look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can't get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King - better known as B.B. King - has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.

B.B.'s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. "King's Spot," became so popular, it was expanded and became the "Sepia Swing Club." Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille.

Soon after his number one hit, "Three O'Clock Blues," B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.'s words, "When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."

In 1968, B.B. played at the Newport Folk Festival and at Bill Graham's Fillmore West on bills with the hottest contemporary rock artists of the day who idolized B.B. and helped to introduce him to a young white audience. In ``69, B.B. was chosen by the Rolling Stones to open 18 American concerts for them; Ike and Tina Turner also played on 18 shows.

B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received NARAS' Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987, and has received honorary doctorates from Tougaloo(MS) College in 1973; Yale University in 1977; Berklee College of Music in 1982; Rhodes College of Memphis in 1990; Mississippi Valley State University in 2002 and Brown University in 2007. In 1992, he received the National Award of Distinction from the University of Mississippi.

In 1991, B.B. King's Blues Club opened on Beale Street in Memphis, and in 1994, a second club was launched at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles. A third club in New York City's Times Square opened in June 2000 and most recently two clubs opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in January 2002. In 1996, the CD-Rom On The Road With B.B. King: An Interactive Autobiography was released to rave reviews. Also in 1996, B.B.'s autobiography, "Blues All Around Me" (written with David Ritz for Avon Books) was published. In a similar vein, Doubleday published "The Arrival of B.B. King" by Charles Sawyer, in 1980.

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss," "The Thrill Is Gone," How Blue Can You Get," "Everyday I Have The Blues," and "Why I Sing The Blues" are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951's "Three O'Clock Blues," and 1952's "You Don't Know Me," and four #2 R&B hits, 1953's "Please Love Me," 1954's "You Upset Me Baby," 1960's "Sweet Sixteen, Part I," and 1966's "Don't Answer The Door, Part I." B.B.'s most popular crossover hit, 1970's "The Thrill Is Gone," went to #15 pop.

-

Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Friday March 25!

$69.50 GA / $87.50 Reserved / $115.00 Gold Circle

Al Bell gets Grammy Trustees Award

The Memphis Music Foundation and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of Stax Records, proudly congratulate Al Bell on receiving the highest honor the music industry offers, the 2011 Grammy Trustees Award, given by the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy. Bell now joins the pantheon of musical icons who have received the prestigious honor, including the Beatles, Walt Disney, George and Ira Gershwin, Berry Gordy, Duke Ellington, and Stax Records’ co-founder Estelle Axton.

For Bell, the honor represents a milestone in his lifetime love of music and work in the industry.

“The phone call I received from Neil Portnow, president of NARAS’ Grammy Foundation, letting me know that I was going to be a recipient of the Trustees Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Bell, “was both humbling and honoring. This is the most meaningful recognition I could have ever hoped to achieve from my industry. I sincerely thank NARAS and the Grammy Foundation for honoring me with their highest award.”

In 1965, a young radio disc jockey from Brinkley, Arkansas named Alvertis Isbell joined a fledging record company in Memphis, Tennessee to help promote the music it was churning out in an old converted movie theater. That small label was Stax Records and Al Bell became known to be one of the driving forces who helped change music history. Decades later, in 2009, he became the chairman of the board of directors of the Memphis Music Foundation (MMF), the main organization charged with promoting the city’s musical legacy, current artists, and future plans.

“This is great news for Al Bell and Memphis Music,” said Dean Deyo, president of the Memphis Music Foundation. “Al started developing young artists during his Stax days over 40 years ago and continues to nurture artist development as chairman of the Memphis Music Foundation.  Memphis music is something very special and one of the main reasons for its success has been Al Bell.  It just may be a bit early to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award, because he is not done yet.  Al Bell is just getting started.”

Kirk Whalum, internationally renowned musician and 12-time Grammy nominee, now CEO for the Soulsville Foundation in Memphis, which includes the Stax Museum, Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, explains, “There's a very good reason that the name Al Bell is mentioned, the voice of Al Bell is heard, and the handsome and distinguished face of Al Bell is seen more than any other name, voice, and face in the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. It's because of his body of work. Yes he remains a creative, viable, and avant-garde force in the industry. But who wouldn't give a limb to have all his ‘firsts’ and accomplishments in one’s rearview mirror?”

From 1965 until the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 1975, Bell helped build Stax Records into one of the most influential labels in the world, working with artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, the Bar Kays, Richard Pryor, and a host of others. He also produced and wrote such hits as the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”  When Bell owned Stax in the 1970s, it was the second-largest African-American owned business in the United States. After the company’s demise, he went on to serve as president of Motown Records Group, and later started his own Bellmark Records label, releasing Prince’s top-selling song ever, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and Tag Team’s multi-platinum hit “Whoomp! (There It is),” one of the best-selling rap singles in history. Bell now operates his own web-based music channel, AlBellPresents.com.

For Isbell, given the name Al Bell in 1957 as radio announcer in Little Rock, Arkansas,  whose famous radio sign-on was “This is your 6-feet-4 bundle of joy, 212 pounds of Mrs. Bell’s baby boy, soft as medicated cotton, rich as double-X cream, the women’s pet, the men’s threat, the play boys pride and joy, the baby boy Al Bell,” — the Grammy Award not only marks his lifetime of work in the music industry, but also gives more fuel to what he plans to do now and in the future.

“When Mr. Portnow said ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,” Bell continues, “I didn’t think about my past. It sounded prophetic. Because what has happened to me is that I’ve begun to pursue that which I have learned in life and I’m about the business of achieving it. It’s a beginning for me. With this award and through my role with the Memphis Music Foundation, I am beginning my lifetime evolvement and development in the recorded music industry.”

Toubab Krewe Fall 2010 Dates + New Album

From the ragtime piano tinged opener "Mariama" to the percussion fueled, slide guitar glide of "Gine Fare" to the subtle, inviting African echoes of "Konkoba" to the hypnotic, psychedelic slow burn of "Holy Grail," TK2 reveals Toubab Krewe to be rare innovators in a modern age often too ready to settle for more of what's been. Toubab Krewe is happily an exception to this rule, and those willing to take the journey with them are in for one hell of a cool, exciting ride.

"It's five years later since our last studio album, and we've been doing almost nothing but playing together," says Drew Heller. "We've had a lot of time to further our musical relationships. I feel like this album was recorded at a really perfect time. The last track on the new album is an improvisation that was the very first sounds captured, and other things came out of that initial rush."


CURRENT TOUR DATES:

October 9 - Silk Hope, NC (Shakori Hills Grass Roots Festival)

October 10 - Roseland, VA (The Festy Experience)

October 28 - Memphis, TN

October 29 - Birmingham, AL

October 30 - Mobile, AL

October 31 - New Orleans, LA (Voodoo Experience)

November 5 - Charlottesville, VA

November 6 - Baltimore, MD

November 7 - Washington, D.C.

November 9 - Carrboro, NC

November 10 - Knoxville, TN

November 11-12 - Live Oak, FL (Bear Creek Music Festival)

November 18 - Miami, FL

November 19-20 - Key West, FL

December 1 - Boulder, CO

December 2 - Denver, CO

December 4 - Phoenix, AZ

B.B. King at the Boulder Theater - Jan. 22nd

Since the 1950’s, there has been only one King of the Blues – Riley B. King, affectionately known as B.B. King.  Since B.B. started recording in the late 1940’s, he has released over 50 albums many of them considered blues classics, like 1965’s definitive live blues album “Live At The Regal,” and 1976’s collaboration with Bobby “Blue” Bland, “Together For The First Time.” In 2008, B.B. King released his Grammy winning “One Kind Favor” featuring one of his personal favorites, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” with Lemon Jefferson.

B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound.  His singing is richly melodic, both vocally and in the “singing” that comes from his guitar.  In B.B.’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

Riley B. King was born on September 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation in Itta Bene, Mississippi outside the Mississippi delta town of Indianola.  He used to play on the corner of Church and Second Street for dimes and would play in as many as four towns on a Saturday night.  With his guitar and $2.50, he hitchhiked north to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1947 to pursue his musical career.  Memphis was the city where every important musician of the South gravitated and which supported a large, competitive musical community where virtually every black musical style was heard.

--

B.B. King at the Boulder Theater | January 22nd, 2011

Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale – 10.02.2010 @ 10:00 am.

Individual tickets are $77.50 GA / $96.50 Reserved / $124.50 Gold Circle.

Roots Singer/Guitarist Sid Selvidge Returns with I SHOULD BE BLUE

For decades, Sid Selvidge has been one of the most singular voices in American roots music. His unique and seamless fusion of hill country blues picking and languid folk-styled storytelling has allowed Selvidge to carve out a niche that has separated him from other traditional and contemporary southern songwriters. Now, five years after his acclaimed CD/DVD Live at Otherlands, Sid returns with the gracefully melodic I Should Be Blue. Available in stores and online June 8, Selvidge'’s 8th solo album and 3rd from Memphis-based Archer Records sees him crafting material that recalls the warmth of sound and spirit present in classic 70s era folk-tinged pop LPs.

From his early days playing with Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell at The Bitter Lemon Club in Memphis, to his and friend Jim Dickinson’s elusive Mudboy and the Neutrons (Bob Dylan dubbed them “the great band that nobody could find”), to his storied solo career with Enterprise (Stax), Nonesuch (Elektra), and his own Peabody label, Selvidge has always been able to stand alone in his ability to integrate classic methods into fresh vocal and strumming approaches. Former New York Times critic John Rockwell probably said it best: “Sid Selvidge, who comes from Mississippi by way of Memphis, is neither country nor rock. He’s pretty much everything musically in the whole Southeast.” David Fricke of Rolling Stone is also a known admirer, having declared emphatically, “Sid Selvidge is a precious treasure”, in his glowing review of Sid’s previous studio effort, A Little Bit of Rain (Archer Records, 2003).

While his past work has garnered him the praise of national critics, I Should Be Blue palpably displays his versatile appeal to fans as both an original artist as well as an interpreter. Selvidge adjusted his formula for I Should Be Blue, working for the first time with renowned producer/musician/songwriter Don Dixon (Joe Cocker, The Smithereens, REM, Counting Crows), as well as inviting up-and-coming vocalist Amy Speace to join him on several tracks. These duets including Sid’'s sweet and dreamy “Dimestore Angel”, Speace'’s original gem, “Two”, as well as warm, wistful nods to favorites like Townes Van Zandt’'s “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and Donovan'’s “Catch The Wind”. Selvidge, along with the US and European press took quickly to Speace, with Paste Magazine calling her latest release, 2009’s The Killer In Me, a “resolutely hopeful take on heartache and loss...beautiful lyrics are spun with a soulful, husky voice that lilts like a country sweetheart but mourns like Leonard Cohen

In addition to combining new elements to Selvidge’'s sound in Dixon’s production techniques and bass playing and Speace’'s rich vocals, I Should Be Blue will also feature some more familiar players. Among them are Sid'’s son, Steve (The Hold Steady) who plays acoustic and electric guitars, Paul Taylor (Chuck Prophet) on drums and washtub bass, and fellow Archer artist Amy LaVere on upright bass. The outcome is a tender portrait of love and longing amidst loss, flowing with an effortless grace and natural beauty distinctly its own.

I Should Be Blue will be available in stores June 8, to coincide with tour dates for a Sid Selvidge and Amy Speace joint U.S. tour. | For more information, please visit www.Archer-Records.com or www.SidSelvidge.com.

Summer 2010 Tour:

June 7 - New York, NY - The Living Room
June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
June 10 - Raleigh, NC - Six String Cafe and Music Hall
June 11 - Maryville, TN - Brakins Blues Club
June 12 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
June 13 - Memphis, TN - Levitt Shell @ Overton Park
June 21 - Delaware Water Gap, PA - Sycamore Grille
June 22 - Winston-Salem, NC - The Garage
June 23 - Charlotte, NC - Evening Muse
June 27 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
July 8 - Seattle, WA - Empty Sea Studios
July 9 - Bellingham, WA - Green Frog Cafe
July 10 - Portland, OR - Alberta Rose Theatre
July 11 - Hood River, OR - Blackburn House Concert
July 12 - Bend, Oregon - Windance House Concert
July 23 - Portland, MD - TBA
August 6 - Dallas, TX - Uncle Calvin's
August 7 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door

More dates to come!

Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart & Jimbo Mathus tour as South Memphis String Band

south-memphis-string-bandThe South Memphis String Band, a trio composed of Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Alvin “Youngblood” Hart (Grammy-winning bluesman) and Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers), launches its first tour on April 23, 2009 in Dallas, Texas, targeting the East and South. The three friends, bound by Memphis and North Mississippi roots, will tour ahead of recording their debut album later this year. So far only two songs have been unveiled, both at the trio’s MySpace page myspace.com/southmemphisstringband. So the April and May dates will be an opportunity for fans to get in on the ground floor.

Although they’d known each other for years, the trio’s musical spirit gelled last year when they recorded a yet-unreleased album with Luther’s father, legendary producer Jim Dickinson, called New Moon Jellyroll Freedom Rockers.

The South Memphis String Band was greatly influenced by the Mississippi Sheiks, Gus Cannon & the Memphis Jug Band and other string bands and jug bands of their ilk, as well as Mississippi Delta and Hill Country blues. They will travel with a passel of guitars, mandolins, banjos, lap steel guitars and harmonicas.

Luther Dickinson is lead guitarist and vocalist for the North Mississippi Allstars as well as lead guitarist for the Black Crowes. The son of producer Jim Dickinson was born and raised in West Tennessee, where he played concerts and gained recording experience with his father and brother, Cody. The family moved to the hills of North Mississippi in 1985. Luther befriended the musical families of Otha Turner, R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. They were the inspiration for Luther and Cody to form the North Mississippi Allstars in ‘96. The Allstars have been nominated for three Grammy Awards in the Best Contemporary Blues category. Luther produced two Otha Turner albums: Everybody Hollerin' Goat and From Senegal To Senatobia. Luther was recently featured in Rolling Stone as one of the “New Guitar Gods.” He has recorded with the Replacements, Mojo Nixon, Toy Caldwell, Billy Lee Riley, John Medeski and Robert Randolph (as The Word), John Hiatt and Jon Spencer, in addition to Turner, Burnside and the elder Dickinson.

Though born in Oakland, California, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart had family connections in Carroll County, Miss., and spent time there in his childhood, hearing his relatives’ stories of Charlie Patton. Influenced by the country blues, Hart is known as one of the world's foremost practitioners of that genre. He’s also a faithful torchbearer for the ‘60s and ‘70s guitar rock of his youth, as well as Western Swing and vintage country. His music has been compared to that of artists ranging from Leadbelly and Spade Cooley to Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy. Hart plays acoustic and electric guitar as well as banjo and sometimes the mandolin. Bluesman Taj Mahal once said of him, “The boy has got thunder in his hands.” In 2003, Hart's album Down in the Alley was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. In ‘05, Hart received a Grammy Award for his contribution to Beautiful Dreamer — The Songs of Stephen Foster. He was featured in the Wim Wenders film The Soul of a Man, which was part of Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS series “The Blues,” and also appeared in the documentary Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

Guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and producer Jimbo Mathus grew up in Clarksdale, Miss. He first caught the public’s ear in the 1990s with the hyper-ragtime vaudeville act the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Since then, he has released many recordings of his own in a style he describes as Mississippi Music. “Basically,” Mathus says, “I combine the myriad styles of deep roots music in a type of alchemy. Blues, country, gospel and soul all go into the equation equally.” His last outing, Knockdown South, was released on his own label and received much critical acclaim, including the No. 2 spot on Honest Tune magazine’s Best of 2005 list. He runs the Delta Recording Service, a studio based in Clarksdale, and is sought out by many artists seeking the old-school style of recording. One such artist was Elvis Costello, who recorded his Grammy nominated “Monkey to Man” single in Mathus’ studio in 2005. He has produced two blues CDs that were nominated for Blues Music Awards in 2006, Duwane Burnside’s Under Pressure and Big George Brock’s Club Caravan. Additionally, he contributed vocals on the North Mississippi Allstars’ 2006 Grammy-nominated Electric Blues Watermelon. Mathus sums it up: “I break down walls and stereotypes with my music. I confuse people. I use Mississippi music, which is renegade music at heart, as my inspiration and motivation. I use it as a tool to reach people, to express my own feelings and continue to express those that came before me. I keep the old stories alive while they help keep me alive.”

Mathus says, “Luther, Youngblood Hart and myself have been musical co-conspirators for over a decade. It is only fitting that we should come together with acoustic instruments and perform Mississippi music.”
 

Tour dates:
April 23 – DALLAS, TX Sons of Hermann Hall
April 24 – AUSTIN, TX Antones
April 25 – HOUSTON, TX  Continental Club
April 26 – NEW ORLEANS, LA House of Blues Parish Room
April 27 – BIRMINGHAM, AL  Work Play Theatre
April 28 – MACON, GA  Hummingbird
April 29 – ATLANTA, GA  Eddie's Attic
April 30 – CHARLOTTE, NC  Evening Muse
May 1 – CARRBORO, NC  Carrboro Arts Center
May 2 – RICHMOND, VA  Capital Ale House
May 3 – ANNAPOLIS, MD  Rams Head On Stage
May 5 – NEW YORK, N.Y.  Joe's Pub (9:30pm slot)
May 7 – SELLERSVILLE/PHILADELPHIA, PA - Sellersville Theatre
May 8 – ALEXANDRIA, VA  Birchmere (supporting Dr. John)
May 9 – MEMPHIS, TN  Otherlands

Music Doc "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" to Screen at Memphis Film Fest

- for the Grateful Web

Music documentary "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" will screen on March 29 as a part of the On Location: Memphis International Film Festival.

The film, directed by Todd Kwait, is a labor-of-love documentary focused on one of America's most beloved forms of folk music, the jug band.  Featuring a who's who of '60s folk artists like Rock and Roll Hall of Famers John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful) and Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), David Grisman, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur and Jim Kweskin, "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" explores the history of jug band music and the influence it had on these legendary musicians.

Jug band music has deep roots in Memphis.  Two of the most famous early jug bands were from the city: Cannon's Jug Stompers, featuring Gus Cannon, and the Memphis Jug Band, featuring Memphis native and blues godfather Will Shade.  Both bands recorded and played in Memphis during the 1920s and 30s.  Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers were a popular Beale Street act into the 1930s. Three decades later, following the folk revival of jug band music in the early 1960s, Will Shade and Gus Cannon recorded an album for Memphis' Stax label.

Here's what the critics are saying:

"Delightful... it is the first word that came to mind when considering Chasin' Gus' Ghost... the end product happens to be the most enjoyable film anyone will see this year."  
DocumentaryFilms.net - Bryan Newbury

"An absorbing movie capable of inspiring a whole new generation of ghost-chasers."
AllAboutJazz.com - Sam Chell

What: "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" screening at Memphis International Film Festival
Where: Malco Theatre - Studio on the Square
When: Saturday, March 29th 12:30PM
Tickets: $8.50 at door, available online

Just Like Old Times for Panic in Memphis (09/21/07)

photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

Widespread Panic made their return to Memphis, this time with a new twist, a new guitarist and a few old tricks up their sleeve.

This year's Fall Tour-opening run marked the band's first shows in this melting pot of American Music since the end of July, 2006, and a few changes were apparent this time around.  

Not only was this their first time playing the new downtown FedEx Forum, only a stone's throw from world-famous Beale Street, but it was new guitarist Jimmy Herring's first Memphis Panic shows since he joined the band at this time last year.

The band's last shows at their old home, the dark, dingy and loveable old space ship that was MidSouth Coliseum, were also two of the final three shows for former guitarist George McConnell, who had replaced founding member Mikey Houser just before his death from pancreatic cancer on August 10, 2002. McConnell quit last summer's tour after the next day's show in St. Louis, once he confronted the rest of the band regarding rumors of his lame-duck status.

But in a new venue, with a new guitarist, the same old road warriors lit the same old town on fire, showing the versatility that has made them a stalwart of consistency for over twenty years.

This show had a little bit of everything you could ask for from a Panic show.

There was the bouncy, happy sound, exemplified by the show opening trio of A of D, Space Wrangler and Walkin' (For Your Love). It was Herring's first try at the instrumental A of D, a song not played since longtime producer John Keane and Houser's old guitar tech Sam Holt shared the lead spot to help the band finish last summer's tour, before Herring was hired for fall. Wrangler and Walkin' got the band warmed up and the crowd in the mood and ready to keep singing along with front man and resident preacher John Bell.

Another bit of joy marked the opening of the second set, with the instrumental Party at Your Mama's House showcasing Herring's growing sense of comfort with his new band in the form of a very patient jam. Bell also chimed in throughout with nice work on the slide, which is pretty much the only time during a show you can easily hear his instrumental contribution. But, hey, they don't pay the man to play the guitar.   

But that wasn't all this show had in store.

There were the hard rocking foot-stompers. The upbeat Tie Your Shoes followed Walkin', and gave the crowd a usual second set piece of sandwich bread in the first set. The song allowed both the rapid-fire notes of Herring and the rolling bass line of Dave Schools to shine.

More songs in this vein would follow the rest of the night, from the dark rollercoaster of funk that is Pigeons in the first set to their heavy take on the traditional blues of Junior in the second set.

One of the hardest rockers came in the person of Glory, making its first appearance in a set in nearly six full years. And the band nailed this version, appropriately providing a rare surprise for the fans in a town with its own special place in Panic lore.

And while Herring continues to find his comfort zone with this group, there are still noticeable growing pains. It seemed as though he approached shows in the spring as a contest to see how many notes he could play during solos, this Eddie Van Halen-esque style being a stark contrast to the floating, psychedelic sound of Houser. He began picking his spots a little better over the summer, but he overdid it a bit this time on songs like Big Wooly Mammoth and Surprise Valley.

The rest of the band had their moments, too. One can expect some hiccups during tour openers, and this Friday in Memphis was no different. Schools started early for the encore, Imitation Leather shoes, before becoming visibly agitated. Bell appeared to sound unsure of himself as he began the vocals to Climb to Safety, which led to a slightly disjointed beginning. And a second set drop back into Chilly Water from You Got Yours was a bit sloppy.

But, as it is with most Panic shows, the good far outweighed the bad inside the Forum.

The highlight of the first set came with the jam out of Rebirtha, into the fan favorite Ribs and Whiskey. The former ended with lots of funk and great work from Herring, before dissipating into easily one of the longest, most patient Ribs intros that this reviewer has heard, with Herring accented nicely by great slide work from Bell, both flowing over Todd Nance's steady kick drum.

More exemplary jamming followed in the second set, first with the opener, Party, and then with one of the funkiest versions of Climb to Safety you will ever hear. Keyboardist Jojo Hermann carried the jam with his clavinet, riding on top of a funky bass line from Schools that reminded one of their cover of Solid Rock, and song from Bob Dylan's Christian revivalist period. It was a wonderful change of pace for a song too often mailed in with little variation within the jam.

Hermann was not done there, however. His next standout moment would begin a stretch of the show that exemplified why fans still come back to Panic after all these years, because they feature a dark, evil edge to their sound that is truly unmatched by anyone else in the scene.

A drum intro from Nance and percussionist Sunny Ortiz led into an especially sinister version of Dr. John's I Walk on Guilded Splinters, featuring Hermann putting the fear into the crowd with a mix of funky Hammond B-3 and chaotic piano. The jam also featured outstanding work by Herring and a lot of call-and-response between the two of them.

Guilded segued nicely into a Chilly Water sandwich, the meat being more loud, dark, thunderous rock in the form of You Got Yours. The band followed this with the unquestionable highlight of the evening, Colonel Bruce Hampton's Time is Free, which Herring effectively carried on his back with one stretch of psychedelic shredding after another, helped by Bell's growling vocals and rambling raps. 

The set very well could have ended after Chilly Water, and probably should have ended after the marathon version of Time is Free, but Herring jumped right into the roaring stomp of Neil Young's classic, Mr. Soul, finally ending a monster second set and leaving much of the crowd exhausted, undoubtedly nursing sore arms from constant fist-pumping.

The crowd hardly seemed bothered by the short encore, but, after the previous stretch, who could blame them?

After all, once Imitation Leather Shoes gave them time to catch their breath, the debauchery of Beale Street awaited them outside the Forum's doors.

09/21/07 FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

1: A of D, Space Wrangler, Walkin' (For Your Love), Tie Your Shoes > Pigeons, Blue Indian, Rebirtha > Ribs and Whiskey, Big Wooly Mammoth

2: Party at Your Mama's House > Junior, Glory, Smoking Factory, Surprise Valley > Climb to Safety, Guilded Splinters > Chilly Water > You Got Yours > Chilly Water, Time is Free > Mr. Soul

E: Imitation Leather Shoes