Memphis' community-supported radio station, WEVL-FM 89.9, will host its annual spring concert Saturday, March 6th, at the Hi-Tone Café, featuring three of the scene's most interesting indie bands. Headlining will be Jack O & the Tearjerkers, Jack "Oblivian" Yarber's vehicle for all manner of garage-/roots-connected styles, weaving Stones-y classic rock, punk-fueled garage rock, Dylan-esque folk-rock, and R&B and early rock-and-roll influences all into a clearly personal style. Also on the bill are Mouserocket, where Alicja Trout (the hard-rockin' River City Tanlines) and Robby Grant (the bedroom-pop Vending Machine) find fruitful middle ground, and The New Mary Jane, where a couple of local-scene legends — Grifters cohorts Dave Shouse and Scott Taylor — have reunited. All that for only $10, with all admission proceeds going to support WEVL. Showtime is 10 p.m. See WEVL.org. for more information.
The New Mary Jane won't be the only blast from the Memphis rock past taking the stage March 6th. At Minglewood Hall, Tora Tora will be playing. One of the leading bands on the city's fertile metal scene in the late '80s and early '90s, Tora Tora made waves locally before being signed by major label A&M, with whom they released two albums, 1989's Surprise! Attack (which reached #47 on the Billboard album charts) and 1992's Wild America. By that time the music business was moving away from the straight rock/metal sound that had dominated the '80s and more toward alternative/grunge after the breakthrough of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, so perhaps Tora Tora was a couple of years too late. But in 2008, the original lineup of the band reunited and has played a series of live shows. The concert at Minglewood is being recorded for a live release. Showtime is 8 p.m., with Chosen View and Blackberry Wednesday opening. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 the day of the show.
The Blues Foundation has announced its 2010 Blues Hall of Fame inductees, with a strong Memphis/Mid-South component: Mississippi-born, Memphis-bred harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite and classic early Memphis artists W.C. Handy and Gus Cannon and his Cannon's Jug Stompers are among the inductees, along with Chicago bluesman Lonnie Brooks, blues-rock superstar Bonnie Raitt, and late R&B performer/songwriter Amos Milburn.
Non-performers honored this year are roots chronicler Peter Guralnick (author of several Memphis-connected books, including the two-part Elvis bio Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love and the Stax-centric history Sweet Soul Music) and Helena, Arkansas radio host Sonny Payne, of the classic King Biscuit Time program. There are eight recordings being inducted in the Blues Foundation's hall of fame this year, among them Little Willie John's "Fever," "Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Match Box Blues," and Robert Cray's Strong Persuader. The induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 5th, at the Memphis Marriott Downtown, the night before the 31st Blues Music Awards.
Goner Records celebrated its sixth birthday last week and the local record store/label isn't slowing down. After its biggest release slate ever in 2009, Goner is off to a busy start this year: In February, the band released City of Rotten Eyes, the studio debut of longtime Jackson, Mississippi garage-punk band The Overnight Lows. On March 16th, Goner releases Rush to Relax, from Australian post-punk band Eddy Current Suppression Ring, whose 2008 Goner debut, Primary Colours, was one of the label's best and most successful releases. This spring schedule culminates with the April 13th release of the long-awaited (and if ever that liberally used rock-crit phrase applied to a local release, this is it) third album from Harlan T. Bobo, Sucker.
Music Notes: Congrats to singer-songwriter Nancy Apple, whose new album, Shine, debuted at #33 on the Americana Music Association's national airplay chart on February 22nd. Shine was released nationally this week ... Memphis rapper Mr. Del has been nominated for a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association. Mr. Del's album Thrilla was nominated for Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year. Another artist with the Memphis-based Dedicated Music Group, Mali Music, was nominated for Urban Song of the Year for "Avaylable." The 41st annual GMA Dove Awards take place April 21st in Nashville and will be broadcast April 25th on the Gospel Music Channel.