Chances are pretty good that you won't be seeing New Orleans legends the Funky Meters around these parts anytime soon due to Art Neville's inability to tour, but you can come pretty darn close when three of the group's key members, George Porter, David Russell Batiste, and Brian Stoltz, play the Young Avenue Deli on Saturday, December 7th. The Funky Meters (originally called the Meters) all but invented funk sometime in the mid-1960s. Over the years, they have played with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Linda Ronstadt, and their grooves have been sampled by such heavy-hitting hip-hop artists as L.L. Cool J and Queen Latifah.
Also on Saturday, the Lucy Opry at the Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center will present two of the most talented bluegrass musicians on the circuit these days: Jim Hurst and Missy Raines. Hurst is about as formidable a flatpicker as you are likely to find, and Raines was voted bass player of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association from 1998 through 2001. Purists they are not. While they aren't nearly as far out there as the crazy-talented but supremely heretical Bela Fleck, Jim and Missy are likely to leave the traditional mountain music behind and launch headlong into classic swing or 12-bar blues.
It's time for Memphis rockers to return to the womb, so to speak. The Madison Flame, one-time home to the world-punk venue the Antenna Club, is hosting the Shangri-La Records/Hattley's Garage Christmas party on Friday, December 6th. For four dollars and a can of food for the Memphis Food Bank, you can catch four mighty-fine acts. Up-and-coming rapper Chopper Girl will chant to a heavy beat and deejay Steve "Scratch" Perry (oh, how I love that wonderfully silly name) will be on hand to spin the vinyl. But that's not the half of it. The Villains will also be in the house. Memphis' most eclectic cover band plays everything from Os Mutantes' "Baby" to the Smiths to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Featuring a Simple One, a Grifter, a Neckbone, and an Ultra Cat, the Villains' roster reads like a who's who of Memphis indie rock circa 1995. To wrap things up, the Porch Ghouls -- Slim Electro, Randy Valentine, Duke Baltimore, and Eldorado Del Ray -- will play their punk-y, lounge-y answer to the North Mississippi blues. Come see why this ragged group of maracas-shaking, suitcase-pounding bluesmen has captured the attention of a major label. -- Chris Davis