Angie Stone and Anthony Hamilton, two of the most likable artists on the neo-soul scene, perform together Sunday, September 5th, at The Orpheum. Stone is touring in support of her third album, the recently released Stone Love. Though solid in every way, the album doesn't have a very distinct personality. Rather, it conveys the notion of some kind of abstract genre ideal and leaves the impression that Stone is an artist whose successes and failures are strongly tied to her collaborators. On Stone Love, the winners are producers Missy Elliott and Memphis-connected Jazze Pha. Nevertheless, Stone, who has performed on Broadway, played sax in Lenny Kravitz' band, and cut her teeth as a member of the hip-hop group Sequence, is one of the scene's purest talents. Hopefully, her live show will leave a more distinct impression than her album.
Distinctiveness is not an issue with Hamilton, whose soul sound is far from "neo." Uniting the down-home flavor of such '70s soul stars as Bill Withers and Bobby Womack with a proudly post-hip-hop sensibility, Hamilton is one of the most original soul artists working. His most recent album, 2003's Comin From Where I'm From, has been one of pop's greatest recent growers: Nearly a year after its release, it's still in the Top 10 of Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop album chart despite never climbing higher than number six. Though Hamilton has emerged as a major artist in his own right, he remains one of the most in-demand hook singers around. He got a break-out a few years ago by providing the memorable vocal hook to the Nappy Roots hit "Po' Folks." This year, he can be heard with Stone on her single "Stay for a While" but, even more recognizably, alongside rapper Jadakiss on his smash "Why."
In other hip-hop: Notorious '80s rap group 2 Live Crew (sans founder Luke Skywalker) are scheduled to get as nasty as they want to be at the Young Avenue Deli Thursday, September 2nd. As if that wasn't already unlikely enough, local white rap duo Effingham & Wheatstraw are set to open. Definitely the spectacle of the week. -- Chris Herrington
Add the Buccaneer to the list of alternative-music venues in Midtown. The venerable watering hole has been under new ownership since July 31st, when Willis Davis III and Charles Lankford took command of the pirate-themed bar. "I always thought the Buccaneer had a unique personality," Lankford explains. "While our main focus is our food, we want to showcase good Memphis music."
Although customers can expect few cosmetic changes in the atmosphere -- "the regulars seem grateful that we maintained the integrity," Lankford says with a laugh -- the club is now booking bands on a regular basis. After the Center for Southern Folklore's Memphis Music & Heritage Festival (see Local Beat, page 39) winds down Saturday, the music will pick back up Saturday night at the Buccaneer (1386 Monroe Avenue) with performances from festival bands such as The Dutch Masters, The Natural Kicks, and The Royal Pendletons.