Mark Lemhouse 

Former Memphian puts the juice back in Americana.

The 10-year anniversary of No Depression magazine notwithstanding, "Americana" doesn't mean much these days. The once genuine genre has been polluted by too many whiskey-swilling college bands and Lucinda Williams wannabes. It's a fringe scene now that every joker clad in a flannel shirt has thrown his guitar pick in the mix.

Former Memphian Mark Lemhouse might wear flannel, but he's tapping into that supreme power that lesser players can only dream about. Check The Great American Yard Sale, his sophomore album, which was partially recorded here at Scott Bomar's Electraphonic Recording and finished at Wavelength Studios in Oregon.

Lemhouse opens with a dirge, "Scarlett," which touches on depression, suicide, and old age with all the analogies and drunken finesse of a Larry Brown novel. The schizophrenic "Paper Sack" comes next, circling and loping like a bullet-ridden cowboy staggering among the scenery in a spaghetti western. The banjo licks and stoned hollers on "Never Me" sound like an ancient Dock Boggs track, safely stored in an earthenware jar.

Lemhouse shines brightest on his modern story-songs, only occasionally veering into generic hokum. But when he hits, as on a restrained, countryish cover of the Kinks' "Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl," Lemhouse strikes pure gold. -- Andria Lisle

Grade: A-

Mark Lemhouse plays the Hi-Tone Café Thursday, September 15th, with Jason Freeman. Doors open at 9 p.m.; admission is $5.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

On the Scene at Barbecue Fest

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Twin Peaks and American Gods Bring Surrealism To TV

News Blog

Beale Street Bucks Gets Heated Debate

News Blog

Garner Recovery Fund Surpasses Goal in One Day

From My Seat

Lord Stanley Comes to Tennessee

News Blog

'Sun Records' Pitched to Amazon, CW

News Blog

Shelby Co. Sites Added to Historic Register

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Snowglobe

Politics Beat Blog

Luttrell Praises Press, Hints at Picking Successor

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Andria Lisle

  • Mason Fixin’ Line

    The trusty Mason jar can be a cocktail maker’s best friend.
    • May 14, 2017
  • Grownup Drinks

    Low-alcohol beverages: when work and play intersect.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Chartreuse!

    Sometimes it’s easy being green.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation