Friday, July 31, 2020

Listen Up: Branson Summers and His Zen Drumming

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 12:21 PM

Branson Summers
  • Branson Summers

Branson Summers now lives in Nashville, but he’ll return to Memphis at the drop of a yoga mat to demonstrate the soothing tones of his crystal bowls and steel drums.

“I’m calling it ‘Zen drumming,’” says Summers, who will release his EP Harmonic Circulation on July 31st.

Summers, 27, and his brothers, Jared and Wesley, cut their musical teeth in Memphis when they were teenagers and played in their first band, “The Summers.” They continued to play in bands together after their family moved to Nashville. After the loss of their parents in the Gatlinburg wildfire in 2017, the brothers went in different directions.

Last December, Summers began playing on crystal bowls and steel tongue drums. “I started doing my own thing, creating something I had never done before,” he says. “Crystal bowls are used in meditation and ceremonial gatherings. It’s very peaceful. It has one long tone that kind of resonates throughout your whole body. The bowls are made of crystal quartz. And then I have a rubber mallet and a stick that’s wrapped in cowhide.”

Summers runs the mallets around the bowls. “The cowhide creates a more distinct, clear, prominent note. And the rubber mallet is more of a softer note, but it also is used to sustain the note.”

The steel tongue drum is “like a metal tank that has tongues carved into it that are all different notes. So, I had the one bowl and the one drum and started putting the two together.”

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Summers posted a video of himself playing the bowl and drum on Instagram. “A friend hit me up and said, ‘I’m teaching yoga. I would love to have this as live music for my classes if you’re interested in coming. We do a weekly class every Sunday.’ So, I was instantly into the idea of providing live music for a yoga class.

“It just really inspired me to kind of run with this new idea of drumming that I’ve never really seen done before.

I don’t want to take credit for creating it, but I’ve done research and haven’t seen anybody do the combination of crystal bowls and steel drums. It’s meditative, peaceful. One of my favorite words to use in relation to it is  ‘Zen.’ It’s a very relaxing style of drumming. It’s the complete opposite of anything I’ve done before.”

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Summers moved with his family from Louisville to Memphis in 2008. He and his brothers performed as The Summers, with Summers on drums at the Redbirds Stadium and other venues. They later changed their name to Cavalier. After moving to Nashville in 2015, the band changed its name to Renaissance Fair. They toured and they also recorded a couple of songs in the Boston area.

"The Summers" featuring Jared and Branson Summers, bass player Peter Armstrong, and Wesley Summers in August, 2011.
  • "The Summers" featuring Jared and Branson Summers, bass player Peter Armstrong, and Wesley Summers in August, 2011.

But the band began to break up. “Music was becoming too demanding. Practices became more scarce. We were butting heads more. We were starting to disagree. And we chose to end the band to preserve our friendships.”

They all were in Gatlinburg during the wildfire, where their parents were among the 14 people who died. Summers and his brothers were injured. “When I got out of the hospital, I knew that I wanted to get back into music. Because it has been my life since I was a teenager. And it’s hard for me to turn my back on something I’ve been committed to for so long.”

Summers currently is in a band, Mirror Mind, which he describes as “kind of like ‘90s grunge. We’ve got a lot of people comparing us to Smashing Pumpkins or Alice in Chains. Little bits of Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. Our lead singer has this kind of Ozzy Osbourne sound to his voice a little bit.”

His girlfriend, Leslie Davis, gave him his first steel drum, which he’d seen in a drum shop, as a Valentine’s Day gift.  His brother, Jared, gave him his first crystal bowl as a birthday gift. “I just thought of putting the two together — playing the drum with one hand and swirling the bowl with the other.”

Summers, who sits cross-legged on a tapestry mat when he plays, gradually has been building up his set of bowls. “I’m up to four different notes. There are seven primary notes, so I still need three more to get the full set. But right now I’m making it work with the four I have.

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And I have two different steel drums that have completely different tones. Different notes.”

When yoga studios began closing during the pandemic, Summers started live streaming his Zen drumming on Instagram. “I just started playing in front of a camera and letting people tune in when they want to.”

He gets “an extremely positive response. Everybody loves it. They feel at peace. It’s like a break in your day. A lot of times I do it around 11 or noon. And it’s like a chance to kind of take your mindset off what’s going on around you and just go inward. What the drums do is kind of create this atmosphere of sound you almost get lost in. It’s spiritual. It’s peaceful. It’s everything people want to calm down or zone out.”

His music is “pretty much all improvised. I do have a couple of patterns I consistently return to. I’m always experimenting with new patterns and melodies, if you will.”

Summers recorded his Harmonic Circulation EP with a former Memphian, producer Paul Ebersold.  “He’s up here in Nashville. He really connected with it when he saw what I was doing. He’s gone down the spiritual path. He’s doing yoga. He was very into the more ambient and atmospheric sound of the drums and the bowls.

“So, we got in the studio together, spent a day, and I just ripped it. It was all improv on the spot. Each song individually has a consistent feel to it, but if you play it from the first song to the last song, it slowly builds.”

The first track, “Outer Ether,” just features crystal bowls. The EP then progresses to more and more steel drums. It goes from “more spacious to more high energy.”

Summers is easing his way back into the yoga scene now that more studios are re-opening. He’d love to book his live Zen drumming gigs at Memphis studios.

He also plans to keep live streaming. “My goal is to live stream two to three days a week and offer it two or three times a day. And give people the option to get a little peace.”

Click here to view a Zen drumming video

To listen to Harmonic Circulation, click here.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, July 30-August 5

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 11:24 AM

Lipstick Stains
  • Lipstick Stains
This week, we not only have an extra show from the live-stream stalwarts at B-Side Bar, there's an award show dedicated to the great country music of Arkansas. All of this, plus the regular performers who keep the live-stream flames burning, make for another great week of Memphis music.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, July 30
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
Live DJ - Downtown Memphis Virtual Carry Out Concert
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

8 p.m.
Lipstick Stains - Ixora Sessions
Facebook

8 p.m.
Devil Train - at B-Side
Facebook


Friday, July 31
Noon
Alex Walls - Virtual Fridays in HSP
Facebook

8 p.m.
The City Champs - Music Export Memphis COVID Relief Fund Benefit at B-Side
Facebook


Saturday, August 1
1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook

8 p.m.
Sheiks & Toy Trucks -  at B-Side
Facebook


Sunday, August 2

3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, August 3
8 p.m.
Arkansas Country Music Awards
Facebook     Arkansas Music

8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, August 4
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, August 5
8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Al Kapone Releases New Single, ‘When It Hits Home,’ July 27th

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 11:04 AM

Al Kapone releases his new single, "When It Hits Home," on July 27th - NATHAN BLACK
  • Nathan Black
  • Al Kapone releases his new single, "When It Hits Home," on July 27th

Fresh after he released a new album, Hip Hop Blues, Al Kapone released a new single, ‘When It Hits Home,” on July 27th.

The single, again released under the name, “AK Bailey,” deals with what’s on most people’s minds — the pandemic. The song is a reworking of a song, “COVID Blues,” that he wrote several months ago.

“It became outdated because a lot of stuff happened,” Kapone says. “And I wrote that in the very early stages. Well, I decided to revisit that and actually make it more current.

“I wanted to approach it in a different way. Instead of just talking about what’s going on, I wanted to make it more personal.”

People hear “all these different stories” about COVID-19, he said, and “it’s easy for you to either take it serious or not to take it serious.”

They’re either “directly affected by it” or they don’t know know anybody who’s got the virus.

“You start questioning how serious it is because you’ve only seen it on the news. You’re not really feeling it close enough,” he said. "When it hits home, if it happens to you or happens to one of your loved ones, all the stuff you looked at looks different, feels different, because it’s close enough to you. It feels real. That’s when you tend to start to tell people how serious it is.”

That can apply to other things, Kapone says.

“If you’re not used to police brutality, which has been a big part of the protest and everything that’s going on, if you’re not used to being affected in that way, it’s easy for you to not see it as a serious issue," he said. "But as soon as you or someone you know goes through that exact same scenario, it becomes way more serious again. It feels completely different.

“You can flip it on the women’s rights situation. If women are used to going through certain abuse that men don’t go through, some men — not all — could dismiss where they’re coming from. But as soon as it happens to their mom or their daughter or somebody close to them, if that level of abuse happens to somebody close to them, they change their whole insensitive thought pattern.

"Again, when it hits home. Until it hits home you dismiss it or don’t take it serious. It can apply to anything if it hits home. I wanted it to feel that way so the lyrics will connect with the overall feeling I was trying to convey.”

His son, Young AJ, designed the single’s cover, which features a photo taken by Nathan Black of Kapone wearing a black mask.

Kapone's son, Young AJ, designed the cover for Kapone's new single, "When It Hits Home.' - NATHAN BLACK
  • Nathan Black
  • Kapone's son, Young AJ, designed the cover for Kapone's new single, "When It Hits Home.'

“Some people have their issues about wearing masks," he said. "But if it’s going to help the situation, fighting about it is not really worth it. The same thing with seat belts. There was a time when people wouldn’t wear a seatbelt. We wear it for precautionary measures. To help the situation. It’s not saying it’s going to end the situation.

“Everybody needs to do their part so we can get the economy back going and people can get back to work and can take care of their family like they want to do. It’s all good. We can go back to partying and kicking it. We will get a chance to go back and do some of those things. This is definitely not going to last the rest of our lives.”

The pandemic has a plus side, Kapone says.

“A lot of people were able to slow down and focus on things they didn’t have a chance to focus on," he said. "A lot of people were able to sharpen their skills, bond with family members. Before this, you didn’t have time to stay still long enough.

"Some positive things have come out of this quarantining. If we didn’t slow down, we wouldn’t make time to reconnect with family members. Or even get to know yourself. Sometimes if you sit still long enough, you learn things about yourself.”

To hear “When It Hits Home,” click here: 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, July 23-29

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 11:31 AM

Mario Monterosso - PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILLY MORRIS
  • Photographs by Billy Morris
  • Mario Monterosso
This week features a different live-streaming platform, for music anyway. As we detail here, the Take Me to the River Educational Initiative has been hosting a series of webinars on Zoom, with both group discussions and live performances. This week's featured guest is Bobby Rush. Also of note this week the regular Goner TV Live series, on Twitch TV. Here's to all you streamers out there: keeping it real, keeping it safe.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, July 23
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
Live DJ - Downtown Memphis Virtual Carry Out Concert
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

7 p.m.
Bobby Rush - Take Me to the River Webinar Series
Zoom - Register Here

8 p.m.
Devil Train - at B-Side
Facebook


Friday, July 24

8 p.m.
Tyler Keith - Goner TV Live
Twitch TV


Saturday, July 25
1:30 p.m.
Rod and Mike - from the Home of Rod Norwood
Facebook

1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook


Sunday, July 26
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, July 27
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, July 28
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, July 29
8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Listen Up: Ethan Healy: On Returning to His Memphis Roots. New Single and Video Released July 23rd

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 11:13 AM

Ethan Healy in "Second Wind"
  • Ethan Healy in "Second Wind"

Ethan Healy returns to his Memphis roots in his new single, “Second Wind,” which was released along with the video July 23rd. 

As he raps in the song, “South in my mouth/and man I can’t control it/even if I hold my breath”

“The song sounds like redemption to me,” says Healy, 27, who now lives in Los Angeles. “I spent a lot of 2019 doubting and second-guessing myself. And writing this song was really cathartic. The song began as a means of self-acceptance and, eventually, became a general commentary on life as I was seeing it. The song really opens up as it progresses. And, as the second verse continues, you hear a sort of push and pull between normal and pitched vocals. In the same way, I’ve really stepped into myself more fully this year.

“I’ve been working toward finding a balance between humility and ego. But, overall,  the song, really, is kind of a coming to grips with myself. My inspiration. My identity. I was really kind of shutting my roots out for a while. So, calling on Memphis in the song really meant to be a reminder to myself: ‘This is where you’re from. This is what you’re inspired by.’”

And, Healy says, “‘I am Memphis,’ is what it essentially is saying.”

The Buick LeSabre in the “Second Wind” video is a nod to Memphis. “I got on the phone with Huey’s Midtown to figure out what type of Buick ran into the restaurant in the 1970s. The woman said she contacted some of their family and they couldn’t remember.”

"Second Wind"
  • "Second Wind"

The Buick was “just to tie into the Memphis allusion and that specific moment. The first words are, “Fist-full of wind in the back of the Buick/Same one that wrecked into Madison Huey’s”

Being from Memphis is a plus, Healy says. “It really provided me with a fearlessness and creativity. Growing up in Midtown helped a lot because there was a freedom of expression there that became my baseline. That’s really all I knew was being able to express myself. And trying to express myself rather than holding everything in. I still hold stuff in, but I think growing up in Midtown but also having my friend group around me, I was surrounded by creative, musical  people.” 

Healy grew up playing soccer and other sports, but he also liked to sing. “I always liked singing in the shower all the time. We grew up going to IC (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception). My mom was in the choir. She was always singing a bunch of hymns nonstop around the house.”

He wrote prose before he wrote music. Jamie Brummer, his advanced placement English teacher at Christian Brothers High School, “literally reached into the depths of me and pulled my voice out of me,” Healy says. “He really helped me find my voice. My poetic and writing style in general. He opened a lot of doors for me. We were reading stuff like a lot of Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, learning about different writing styles.”

Healy’s parents divorced right after he got out of high school. “I needed a way to express myself. Get out the emotions I was feeling. I didn’t have that at the time. I picked up the guitar the summer after high school. I just kind of stayed in my room and learned guitar.”

He “cut his teeth” on hip-hop from grade school through middle school and then high school, so he rapped while he played guitar.  “I grew up listening to a lot of rap.”

As for college, Healy, who had made some videos in high school, was drawn to film and video production. “I’ve always had an affinity for stories and storytelling and I thought that would be a really cool way of doing it.”

But his advisor at the University of Memphis “wasn’t as invested” in his future as Healy hoped. “I operate on feelings a lot. I did not get an ounce of good feeling from it. 'I’m going to listen to my gut here.' I had a secondary path. Physical therapy.”

Healy graduated in 2015 with a degree in exercise physiology.“And a few months later I started my doctorate at UT downtown in physical therapy.”

But music still was a part of him. During his last two years of college, he sat down and tried to figure out what he wanted to do with his craft. “I really enjoy music, but I want to create something I’m ultimately proud of that will really tell my story and really access some of the fictional styles I like as well. So, I storyboarded for a year or so and wrote a real coming of age story. It was basically like a rags-to-riches story where someone gains the world but loses everything.”

He wrote music to go with it. “I told the story through music and made it all one piece of art.”

Healy recorded three or four songs that were released on Soundcloud by 2015. A blog, Hillydilly (now Before the Data), picked him up and included the songs. “It was a blog a lot of music industry people kind of scout, watch to see who is making what music. That was really the turning point for me.”

He learned how to present his music to people “to make it more approachable. I’d made music for a while. I just wanted to figure out what’s not clicking with people. I tried a little less. The law of reversed effort was in full effect. I kind of loosened up a little bit and things started working. People started listening.”

Ethan Healy - HENRY HEAD
  • Henry Head
  • Ethan Healy

Healy never was employed at a job pertaining to his degree. “I was being approached by labels as I was making a living just with something I considered to be a hobby at this point. I figured it wouldn’t be productive for me to turn down an opportunity to really do something creative and fun.”

He released  A Galaxy with Skin, a mixed tape, in 2015, and Subluxe, an album, in 2017. “They both told a very similar story from different perspectives and different levels of experience from different times of life. So, they’re all centering around this idea of recognizing what’s in front of you. And one vehicle for that would be the disillusionment of knowing what really matters when you’re given everything.”

Healy began using a binaural microphone in 2017 on Subluxe  “for field recordings that would either serve as added textures or transitions between songs.

“The way the microphone processes audio is the same way the human ear receives audio. So, when you play these recordings back, if you had the headphones on, it sounds like you’re in the exact context the sound was recorded in. Some tires screeching on my car is like an exact 3-D map of where the audio is being recorded. It’s another way for me to inject nature and inject my perspective into the stories and have them push things forward. And create momentum.”

The microphone worked perfectly on “Build,” one of his songs on Subluxe. “It’s kind of an account of this one night in Memphis when I was growing up. My friends and I were skateboarding outside pretty late. We got the cops called on us by this one neighbor. It created this divide in our neighborhood. To be able to put the listener into the story, into the experience of the song, I used the binaural mike to convey some of the details of the night.

“A friend of mine is smoking a Black & Mild. You can hear the burning of the cigarillo in your right ear. And you can hear the gravel in your left ear and right ear at times.”

The binaural microphone is a way to “ground the listener in the experience and the story. It’s like a world for them to live in. It’s an escape, in a way.

“I had label interest from 2015 until 2018. I signed a joint venture with RCA in December of 2018.”

That same year, Healy finished grad school, went on tour with his music, and moved to Los Angeles.

He’s devoted three years to his current album. “I spent a lot of time figuring out exactly who I wanted to be in music and in life in general. And a lot I need to change about myself. I had a lot of opportunities to reflect on what I want to talk about and the stories I want to share.”

Healy took heart from Memphis hip-hop group Unapologetic. “I wanted to be Unapologetic. Fearlessly creative and not afraid to push boundaries in music. But also take matters in my own hands. I want to learn production more. I want to have a larger hand in the production of the music that is coming out under my name.

“Up until Subluxe, I had production credits on maybe two of the songs. For this next album, the majority of it came from my mind. Came from my hands. It feels really good.”

Healy wanted to take “more control in life. I needed to be more self aware. And more, I guess, less selfish and just more approachable. I had gone through some traumatic stuff and developed a lot of calluses for it and I think that was beginning to affect the people around me. And I wanted to be able to still be myself, but also learn the right way to be treating myself and others.”

He’s now “much more self aware and considerate of the world around me.”

Healy began to see a therapist after he moved to Los Angeles. “I uncovered different parts of myself. I’m a bad perfectionist. I have a tendency to have this all or nothing kind of thought. Very binary kind of thinking. I think I accept mistakes a lot better now. I know mistakes now don’t define me. I’m more forgiving of myself and others.”

He even changed his appearance at one point. “I had a lot of ego to dissolve. And a really easy way to cut the cord of the ego at the start of my therapeutic journey, in a way, was to shave my head. I spent so long on my appearance in the morning with my hair, it became an anchor that really dragged me down and buried me inside myself.”

Describing “Nikes On,” the first song he did on his current album, Healy says, “Fighting time is wasting time. It’s yours for the taking and not the other way around. It’s a reminder for me to stay present. With my perfectionism, I spent a lot of time trying to make the past perfect and worry about the future.”

"Nikes On"
  • "Nikes On"

As for wearing Nikes, Healy says, “I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop so Nike was mentioned in a lot of songs. And then I grew up playing sports and would always wear Nikes. I was very familiar with the brand.”

The line “I’m fast as lighting bro ya better use ya Nike’s bro” in T. I.’s song, “What You Know” made an impression on him, Healy says. “That line stayed in my head basically my whole life.”

Healy wears Cortez Nikes in “Nikes On.” “The Cortez Nike just reminded me of Forrest Gump.”

Originally, Nike was going to donate 30 or 40 pairs for the video, Healy says. “And then a week before we were filming, it came out that they going to have to re-allocate those funds to All-Star Weekend that was happening at the same time.”

Healy and his crew ended up buying “70 or 80 pairs” of Nikes, which they used in the video. “But we returned basically all of them.”

They were “working on a tight budget,” so they just kept the ones that had “scuffs on them,” Healy says. The majority of them were 10s or 11s. “The ones too dirty we kept and gave away to people who needed them or our friends.”

Healy wears Nike socks in his “Tucson” video in which he uses his foot to control a looping pedal, and Nike shoes and socks in “Reckless” and “Nikes On.” “I do wear them regularly. But I made sure to wear them in the videos.” 

He purposely wore the Nike apparel as subtle hints about the upcoming “Nikes On” video. “I wanted to leave these small Easter eggs along the way. Like a bread crumb trail.”

Healy made “Second Wind” with his friends Conrad Hsiang, Grant Yarber, and Ali Abu-Khraybeh at Joshua Tree, California. He and the three, whose producer names are “Public Library Commute,” “YOG$,” and “Forty Thieves,” “traveled to Joshua Tree this past February and spent a week and a half making music there. We made this song there.

“I grew up listening to U2 and they released their album, The Joshua Tree.  I always had that in the back of my head that would be a cool place to go create something.”

As for Hsiang, Yarber, and Abu-Khraybeh, Healy says, “We spent enough time working together where we all speak the same language creatively. We don’t even have to talk while we’re working. We know what the other is thinking.”

Working at Joshua Tree: Conrad Hsiang, Ethan Healy, Grant Yarber, and Ali Abu-Khraybeh. - HENRY HEAD
  • Henry Head
  • Working at Joshua Tree: Conrad Hsiang, Ethan Healy, Grant Yarber, and Ali Abu-Khraybeh.

This wasn’t the first time they got together. “It’s always a house and it’s always a different house for fresh energy. We’ve done it three times now. We set up the studio on this long dining room table and we faced it out toward the desert. There was already a piano inside and a bass, too, so we just recorded everything really natural in the middle of the room.

“I recorded the first verse on the binaural mike in the living room. As you listen to the first verse you can visualize the free space of the living room that the vocals were occupying. Some natural reverb. You hear things from across the room. The refrigerator door shuts at one point. Henry (Head) the photographer was walking down the spiral staircase behind me and you can hear the squeak.”

Healy is near the completion of his new album. “I’m going to finish up a couple of more singles to be released and I’m hoping this album will come out sometime in October.”

Reflecting on his career so far, Healy says, “To this day, I’m so surprised that this is what my life is. I’ve always felt like it was supposed to positively affect a large amount of people, but I never knew it was going to manifest in this creative way. I always thought it would be with physical therapy or something else. But I’m constantly amazed music has taken me this far and I’m still able to do it for a living. It’s crazy.”

To watch the “Second Wind” video, click here: 



"Second Wind"
  • "Second Wind"
"Second Wind"
  • "Second Wind"

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Bobby Rush Brings It All Back Home (and Online) for Education Initiative

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 5:09 PM

Bobby Rush
  • Bobby Rush
Nearly six years ago, when Memphis Flyer film editor Chris McCoy first wrote about the innovative new documentary Take Me to the River, few could have suspected how viable the movie would remain to this day — or the many offshoot projects that it would spawn.

One reason for such longevity was the film's reliance on actual performers, collaborating across the generation gap. The brainchild of North Mississippi Allstars' Cody Dickinson and producer/director Martin Shore, the film's central premise was bringing together old school soul singers with younger hip-hop talents, with footage of the recording sessions bearing witness to the creation of new, hybrid sounds. Featuring Bobby Blue Bland with Lil P-Nut, Booker T. Jones with Al Kapone, William Bell with Snoop Dogg, and other luminaries like Mavis Staples or the Hi Rhythm Section, the film could hardly go wrong, musically.

And, on the strength of that musicality, a perennial tour revue was launched with many of the same talents hitting the road together. The ongoing interest inspired a follow-up tour focused on players from New Orleans, and an accompanying film for that as well; not to mention the Take Me to the River Educational Initiative, which has provided instructional modules to hundreds of schools, and hosted several online webinars and other events.

One such webinar will be happening tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, as a star of the first film, Mississippi bluesman and Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, performs music from his new album, Rawer Than Raw, and sits for a Q&A with moderator Martin Shore. Though the full album is not due until August 16, its first single was just released this month.

This will be the 16th online webinar or masterclass hosted and inspired by Take Me to the River, and surely not the last. Visit their website or their Facebook page to keep up with future events, and see why their banner motto is "A Movement of Social Consciousness."

Take Me to the River: Modern Blues Music, with GRAMMY-winning legend Bobby Rush and Award Winning Filmmaker Martin Shore takes place Thursday, Jul 23, at 7 p.m., CDT. Click here to register.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, July 16-22

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 9:44 AM

Yubu
  • Yubu
Dying to hear some music, but still wary of getting out in public? Speak with your doctor: a live-streamed concert might be right for you. There are no side effects, but there is a mild risk of cutting a rug in your living room. Also, note how many of these shows are fundraisers. People continue to pull together during these challenging times. Please help the musicians and their respective causes!

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, July 16
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
Live DJ - Downtown Memphis Virtual Carry Out Concert
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

7:30 pm
Oakwalker - Fundraiser for Undocufund
Facebook

8 p.m.
Devil Train - at B-Side
Facebook


Saturday, July 18

1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook

8 p.m.
Yubu & the Ancient Youth Band - B-Side
Facebook


Sunday, July 19
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 pm
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

7 p.m.
John Nemeth with Jon Hay & Matthew Wilson
Facebook

7:30 p.m.
Super Brick - Fund a Home Fundraiser
Facebook


Monday, July 20
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, July 21
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Ben Ricketts - Ixora Sessions
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, July 22
7 p.m.
Miz Stefani (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Lawrence Matthews on Recording Academy Invite, Masks, and More

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 12:24 PM

Last week, Memphis multi-genre artist Lawrence Matthews, who performs as Don Lifted, announced he'd been invited to join the Recording Academy, host of the Grammy Awards. So I called to talk with him about the invite, the potential risks of performing in a pandemic, and the importance of knowing when to take time and to listen.


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“As a person who would love to get a Grammy one day, to be a part of the process is really exciting,” Matthews says. “I’m hype to learn more about the recording academy and everything that comes with it. I’m oddly obsessed with studying the Grammys, the winners, and all of the correlations between engineers and producers, so to be close to that process has been something that I’ve wanted for a while.”


As for what he’s been up to in quarantine, the prolific artist sounds almost meditative: “I’m taking time.”


“I’ve been working on music. I’ve been recording, doing the social distance thing,” Matthews continues. “I’ve been showing up to people’s houses, running cords into their house or into backyards, recording from a safe distance.”


“As far as performing, I’m not going anywhere until Live Nation starts doing stuff. That’s been the barometer for me,” Matthews says, explaining that he’s watching the mainstream music industry and sports, keeping an eye on sites like Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Contrasted against responses that include cries to “LIBERATE!” states, reopen business, resume school in the fall, and get back to normal — seemingly at all costs — Matthews’ measured assessment is a welcome dose of sobriety in what has become a charged discourse over how to handle living with the coronavirus.

Lawrence Matthews
  • Lawrence Matthews

Matthews’ work has already been affected by the current health crisis. His photography exhibition “To Disappear Away (Places Soon to Be No More),” which was on view at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, closed about the same time the coronavirus showed up in Shelby County. “I’m hoping that by next year we can navigate this a little differently,” Matthews says. “People’s livelihoods depend on group things, especially artists.”


Matthews says he’s given the matter of safe, socially distanced concerts some thought, but when it comes down to it, he’s not ready to try something like that. “For me, I’m thinking about ‘What do I gain from that? What does the viewer gain?’” Matthews says artists have a responsibility to weigh the possible risks against any rewards, be they financial or artistic fulfillment. “It’s potentially life-risking. You’re thinking individualistically. You’re like, ‘What can I get out of this? How much money will I make? It’s their personal choice if they choose to do a thing or not.’ But that’s being irresponsible.


“At this point, I try to lead by example. Stay safe, stay in the house, share stories,” Matthews says. “I’m not going to pretend I’m the most knowledgeable person in the world, but for the people that are, I’m following them and I’m sharing the words they’re trying to put out.”

As for his advice to his fans, other artists, and everyone else? “Stay the fuck in the house, or keep the fucking mask on,” Matthews says, laughing. “One of the two.”

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Misterioso Africano: Khari Wynn Discusses Sun Ra’s Influence on His Music

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Khari Wynn, aka Misterioso Africano
  • Khari Wynn, aka Misterioso Africano
Khari Wynn is a bit of a globetrotter, or at least he was before the coronavirus brought us all back home. So perhaps it's not surprising that he's not a regular presence on the live scene here. By his reckoning, he's been to at least 20 countries in as many years, and has played around 2,000 shows in that time. That's because he's been working as the guitarist, and more recently the musical director, for the group Public Enemy. But that's another story.

Here in Memphis, Wynn, son of erstwhile Commercial Appeal jazz and pop music critic Ron Wynn, creates music that is very different from Public Enemy's. In these solo projects, often featuring some of the city's finest players in supporting roles, Wynn takes a jazzier turn, sometimes with cosmic musings woven into the dense musical compositions. All of them feature Wynn's own virtuoso guitar playing, as well as being his original compositions, which display the keen musical instincts that won him recognition as one of Crosstown Arts' resident musicians earlier this year. I spoke with Wynn recently about this solo work and the diverse influences that have informed his music. 
Khari Wynn, aka Misterioso Africano
  • Khari Wynn, aka Misterioso Africano

Memphis Flyer: You have a lot of musical tracks on YouTube under the name Energy Disciples. Tell me a bit about that.

Khari Wynn: Where I got Energy Disciples, the basic concept, was I was very interested in electronic music. I'm still interested in it; I think it's the new frontier of music. But I wanted to combine electronic music with some of the acoustic instrumentation, and conceptual, more 'out' concepts of what somebody like Sun Ra was doing. Sun Ra is so original, because he would have some tunes that were straight big band charts, he would have other tunes that were almost like pop/show tunes, and then he had other stuff that was just absolutely, completely, all the way out. Cacophony/chaos kinda stuff, man. So if you could take that concept and somehow integrate it with electronic music, combined with live instrumentation, I thought that would be an original concept. So that's what I attempted with that group.

I heard it right from the get go. Like Sun Ra without the Fletcher Henderson.

Exactly. Re-imagined with the influences of the 1980s and ’90s vs. the 1930s and ’40s.

Is it an actual band you assembled?

That was more of a studio project. I have another project that I did after that. Energy Disciples was purely a studio thing that never did anything live. I have another group now called the New Saturn Collective. And we did some live gigs. That's the live interpretation of the Energy Disciples. Before Energy Disciples, I had a group called Solstice, and and we played around Midtown in the early 2000s. That was way more of a live, jazz/rock sound. Kinda like that late ’60s, early ’70s mix. Rock, but with extended solos but not all the way jazz either. Kinda like Colosseum. The first John McLaughlin record, Devotion, that type of vibe.

There's even a little Frank Zappa in there.


Definitely. Exactly. The pioneering late ’60s, early ’70s, before fusion got a little corny. It started to get corny in the mid-70s. But it was still real dangerous in the late ’60s early ’70s. Solstice was that kinda thing. But at that time I started going out on the road more with Public Enemy, so I couldn't really play out. It's hard in Memphis, to get gigs with stuff like that. It still is. It's really hard to get gigs like that anywhere, but especially in Memphis. Even on the Midtown scene, it was hard.

So I disbanded that and did Energy Disciples purely as a studio thing. And I would bring in other musicians. And I did about four CDs of that. So then I thought, it may be cool to attempt stuff live again, so that's when I did the New Saturn Collective. Almost as a combination of Solstice and Energy Disciples. Where it had some of the live aspect of Solstice and then some of the spacier concepts of Energy Disciples.

Is New Saturn Collective a set group of people, or a rotating cast?

It's a rotating cast. Now I'm working on this other concept, so I'm starting to rotate the players. On each New Saturn Collective album it was a new cast. I like to bring in different players. I composed all the music. But different players give it a different interpretation, so it always takes you a different place. Each player puts their individual personality onto the thing so it's good to keep it fresh.

I've also got this improv project that's called Misterioso Africano, and it's pure improvisation, nothing worked out. Sometimes we get into the avant-garde noise thing, sometimes we just groove. 

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, July 9-15

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 9:46 AM

Lucero at Sam Phillips Recording - DAN BALL
  • Dan Ball
  • Lucero at Sam Phillips Recording
While live-streamed shows are tapering off a bit, look to the artists below for an indication of how we keep music flowing, even as the first wave of COVID-19 grows. We predict a resurgence of live-streamed shows in the near future! This week even features that rarest of birds, a touring band (Portland, Oregon's Symptoms) passing through Memphis and live-streaming from one of our favorite dives, the Lamplighter Lounge. Hometown favorites Lucero also make an appearance this week.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT


Thursday, July 9
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
John Paul Keith - at The Edge Motor Museum
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

7:30 p.m.
Britt Dignan
Facebook

8 p.m.
Devil Train - proceeds go to Nicola Uphoff
Facebook

8 p.m.
Native Blood - at Ixora
Facebook


Friday, July 10
Noon
DJ Siphne Aaye - Virtual Fridays in HSP
Facebook


Saturday, July 11
1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook

8 p.m.
Symptoms - at the Lamplighter Lounge
Facebook

9 p.m.
Lucero - at Minglewood Hall
Facebook

Sunday, July 12
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

7 p.m.
Misterioso Africano - at B-Side Bar
Facebook


Monday, July 13
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, July 14
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, July 15
7 p.m.
Miz Stefani (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Listen Up: Jacob Davis on Co-Writing a Protest Song, 'Rise Up'

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 2:52 PM

Jacob Davis in a protest march in Memphis.
  • Jacob Davis in a protest march in Memphis.

Jacob Davis believes in rising up. 

The Memphis singer-songwriter, who rose up from facing demons in his own life, came to the forefront and participated in recent protest marches to help others rise up. 

Davis, 25, also co-wrote “Rise Up,” which he describes as “sort of an honest letter penned to music to our nation in dealing with all the racial tension that’s going on. I got together with my buddy, Kyle Wright, and we’ve been writing together for the last year or so. The message is to break free from constraints. They are found in systematic racism. And to put policy in place that will bring more freedom and equality to the African-American community.”

He met with some of his friends who are Black and asked them what they thought about the song. “They really liked the song. I wanted to fully understand to the best of my ability what their culture goes through. It was very eye-opening and sobering.”

He and Wright are donating profits from the song to Campaign Zero, which is “an anti police brutality nonprofit.”

And, Davis says, “All of this will go to that organization for what it stands for.”

The song wasn’t written in his usual style, he says. “It’s a bit out of my comfort zone because it’s a funk tune. Man, I like funk music and I never released something with a funk feel and I thought it was time to do something. When I got with Kyle I gave him three different options. Three songs fully written. They had the chords and some of the riffs.”

Wright really enjoyed the funk version. “So, we stuck with the funk.”

Kyle Wright
  • Kyle Wright

Davis sang an 1963 song, popularly known as “Peace on Earth,” as he played his guitar and participated in four protest marches. “It was a united group. It was very peaceful and people were really locking arms. But everyone was very angry.”

He found the police supportive at the marches he took part in. “A few police officers were marching with us, actually.”

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Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Davis grew up in a musical family. His parents and sisters all sang. “My dad was a recording guitarist and engineer. And I was in the studio with him. When I was growing up my dad worked at a studio called The Jam Room Studio in Columbia. That was his main job. And I’d be with him ‘cause in the early days we couldn’t really afford a babysitter.”

His mother was a nurse, so Davis often would be at the studio late night. Even though he was four or five, he still remembers those days. “My dad was the mix engineer and usually got brought in to record punk and rap bands. South Carolina was a very big alternative scene at the time. He was the guy.”

Davis still remembers some of the groups. “There was a band called Figure 4. Kind of a Rage Against the Machine group. They all wore wrestling masks.”

But Davis fell in love with blues and blues rock. He could sing the recording of  “When Love Comes to Town” by U2 and B. B. King when he was five or six years old.

Growing up, Davis and his family listened to a lot of “Christian underground bands.” Growing up in an unorthodox Christian family, he says, “We didn’t approach the Bible as a rule book. We approached it as a love letter from God to man. So, it’s all about this intimate relationship with Jesus. And everything we did was an offshoot of that.”

Davis doesn’t remember the name of the first song he wrote, but, he says, “It was something about being near to God’s heart.”

His life began spiraling downward after he and his family moved. “My parents are missionaries. So, we moved to Germany when I was 10.  And during that time I was severely bullied. I went through a lot of depression. I had night terrors until I was 18 years old. And it’s really easy to get a hold of alcohol when you’re in Germany. I started to have kind of a bit of a problem. If you can imagine a middle school kid drinking when they shouldn’t.”

He was bullied when he was 13 and going to a “missionary kid high school,” Davis says. “A lot of verbal stuff. If I was going to the gym they’d throw my clothes in the shower and they’d be wet. They’d try to hit and kick me. I was a very small kid. I ended up being the target.”

And, he says, “I was very introverted. I didn’t like people.”

Then, Davis says, “I had a moment where all of it kind of came to a head and I tried to kill myself.”

He was prepared. “I had a knife. I was just going to take myself out through the chest.”

But, he says, “God showed up. I kid you not. And he put this invisible shield in front of my whole body. I couldn’t hurt myself or stab myself or anything.”

And, Davis says, “I couldn’t do it no matter how many times I tried. I did. And it didn’t work.”

He previously experienced dark times during his life. “I already was having these very dark demonic experiences and I didn’t have somebody to really talk those out with. Not just that, I saw demons as a kid and they’d come terrorize me in my sleep. So, when I got to this suicidal moment, I heard the Lord speak for the first time. And he said, ‘Have you forgotten me?’ And he told me to drop the knife and everything would be OK.'

“So, I did. And fell asleep. Cried myself to sleep. That’s a lot for a 13 year old. It was kind of crazy.”

The next day, Davis looked at some statistics. “Forty people die from suicide every minute. So, I’m sitting there and the first thought that comes into my head is, ‘The God of the universe just stopped me from taking myself out. What?’ So, I thought, ‘My life must matter to him and I must have something important I need to get done.’”

His life changed dramatically. “I became an extrovert all of a sudden. A massive personality change. I started thinking more positively. I was able to get some of my heavier emotions out in songs. My relationship with my parents deepened. I was able to talk to them about some things. We grew closer as a family. It was crazy.”

School life changed, too. “I was still kind of the weird kid, but I started making more friends. And some people started apologizing to me. And that was the beginning of healing in my life.”

When he was 19, Davis majored in psychology at Columbia International University. But he realized after a year that he “didn’t have what it took to be a counselor.”

And, he says, “One of the things that the Lord told me at 13 was that I would be writing songs for young people. And that would be my job and my ministry career. And I had not followed that track.”

Davis had a lot of fear about making music a career. “Several people in my life that meant really well were discouraging me from doing music.”

But with the help of God, he took the plunge and delved into music, he says. “I think what I’m doing now is a miracle. I think any musician who is pursuing it full time is a miracle.”

Davis eventually “hit the ground running. I put together an indie Americana record. I wrote a bunch of songs. I ended up putting a band together and we became one big family. Jacob Davis and the Nightingales.”

God also told him to go back to school, Davis says. He chose Visible Music College in  Memphis because it offered a degree in songwriting. “Visible is a beautiful, unique hub, I would say. Even though it’s a modern Christian music college, we opened it up for all denominations. So, you have all these different people that were there. And the music was very diverse.”

Davis graduated from Visible two months ago. “There’s a general thing I took and a specific thing I took. Generally, I learned what it means for a songwriter to love God and love people as well. And to steward our words well. I think music is supposed to be selfless. I think it’s supposed to be an offering of kindness and unity and peace and restitution. And up to that point, songwriting had been cathartic to me. So, I learned how to get out of myself and look at the world and write about that world in a way that’s uplifting.”

Now an instructor at School of Rock, Davis currently is working on various projects.

“Ayr” is his three piece Irish group. “I’ve got a lot of Irish and Scottish in my heritage.”

“Monsters Beware” is another band Davis is working on. It’s “about all of the monsters we deal with internally. And, I would say, demons that we face externally and the strongholds within our minds. Things that are mentally incorrect that hinder us from being able to move forward in life.”

To hear “Rise Up,” click here:


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Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, July 2-8

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 10:59 AM

Devil Train
  • Devil Train
While some venues are back to hosting live music on patios and decks, most Memphis musicians are erring on the side of caution. Yet they continue to live-stream their art from empty rooms and homes across the city. Support them and their socially aware methods by following the links below, and Happy Fourth of July!

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT



Thursday, July 2
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
Live DJ - Downtown Memphis Virtual Carry Out Concert
Facebook

6:30 p.m.
Cazateatro - Celebrating Memphis' Spanish-speaking communities
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Church Brothers
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

8 p.m.
Devil Train
Facebook


Friday, July 3

8 p.m.
Andrew Cohen, Frank Fotusky, Nick Wade
Country Blues, Rags, Spirituals & Old Time Music
Facebook


Saturday, July 4
10:30 a.m.
Tony Manard - Coffee in a Cadillac
Facebook

1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook


Sunday, July 5
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 pm
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook


Monday, July 6
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, July 7
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, July 8
7 p.m.
Miz Stefani (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Turnstyles
Facebook

8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Listen Up: Brooke Fair — Taking Ukuleles Seriously. And a New Single July 17th.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 1:34 PM

Memphian Brooke Fair will release her new single "Universe" July 17th.
  • Memphian Brooke Fair will release her new single "Universe" July 17th.

Brooke Fair wrote her first song when she was in the third grade.

“No one told me I couldn’t do it,” she says. “I always assumed — which I know now isn’t the case — people who sang wrote their own songs. And I had this third grade pop star dream: ‘I’m going to write a song because I’m going to be famous.’”

“Escape” was the name of that song. “It was about my imaginary boyfriend. You just write a lot of bad songs. The more bad songs you write, the more good songs you have. I have 10 times as many terrible songs.”

Now 16, Fair has written more than 100 songs. On July 17th, she will release her new single, “Universe,” which was produced by Justin Timberlake guitarist Elliot Ives and Scott Hardin at Young Avenue Sound.

Born in Memphis, Fair began writing prolifically after she picked up the baritone ukulele when she was 12. “There’s this singer I really love, Dodie Clark. I’ve been obsessed with her since second grade. Her lyrics are very universal, but specific at the same time. She played ukulele. “

Fair, who doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t sing, began taking lessons at House of Talent when she was 8 years old. “I just got to go there and sing my heart out for an hour.”

She also studied with Timberlake’s former teacher, Bob Westbrook, but, she says, “I really liked belting and singing very emotional songs, but he was always trying to make me sing ballads. I wanted it to be more fun and lighthearted. At the time, I just wanted to be Ariana Grande. To be honest, I didn’t have my personality.”

Fair then began studying at School of Rock, which was a great experience, she says. Singing in front of audiences helped with her anxiety. She also liked the feedback from other musicians. 

One of the instructors, Sarah Simmons, and Simmons’ husband, Greg Langston, were “really important in making me realize I could record. All this stuff seemed so far away. I didn’t realize I could record music in Memphis.”

That was when Fair picked up the baritone ukulele. She had been playing a soprano ukulele, but she loved the sound of the baritone, which suited the emotional type of music she was writing. “It’s so simple-looking and simple to play. It’s not that difficult. But you can make it sound so pretty and use it to write a lot of songs. And you can translate it to the guitar because it’s the bottom four strings of a guitar.”

The first song she wrote on a ukulele was “Elevator Music” — “another love song,” she says. The song, which she wrote to her boyfriend at the time, begins, “When I’m with you, everything else is like elevator music. Nothing else matters.”

In 2018, Fair released her first single, “Love Songs on Loop,” which is “about being stuck on someone you’ve been with. Not being able to get over somebody. But in a lighthearted way, not a sappy way. It got on a few Spotify lists and got some traction. Almost 90,000 streams on Spotify. Which really is not an obviously impressive number. But when you take into account we didn’t do any publicity for this song — it kind of organically grew like that — I think it’s really cool.”

Fair released her first EP, All Queens Wear Crowns, in 2018.

She then began studying with her current teacher, Memphis musician/Memphis University School instructor Matt Tutor, who began teaching her “how to sing a little bit better.” But he also concentrated on her “potential as a songwriter.”

Fair went into Young Avenue Sound last February to record “Universe.” The song is “flipping the narrative on the whole type of songs I used to write, where I was the one being played or being strung along by some guy. Instead of being heartbroken, [I'm] being the heartbreaker.”

She released “I Can’t Breathe,” also produced by Ives and Hardin, last April before George Floyd was killed. The song is about “anxiety” and a lot of lines coincidentally pertain to the Floyd incident, she says. “A few days after George Floyd was killed, I realized that after listening to the song and going through my Instagram feed at the same time.”

People were telling her how much the song applies to Floyd. “There’s a line: ‘When the world mistreats me, I’m left in pieces.”

Fair had already decided to donate all the proceeds of the song to suicide prevention awareness charities, she says.

“I’ve always been a huge advocate of human rights and things like that. The fact I wrote a song applicable to ‘Black Lives Matter’ shows I’m kind of meant to use my platform to support things that matter to me.”

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Flow: Live-Streamed Music Events This Week, June 25-July 1

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Cory Branan
  • Cory Branan

As live-streamed concerts become the new normal (even as some venues have begun tempting fate with non-virtual events), we've seen an explosion of online shows by national acts.

The beauty of virtual shows is that they could be happening anywhere, while viewers enjoy them from their homes. The Flow remains focused on Memphis acts who perform online from Memphis, but check out other listings to see what's happening on a national scale. Our hometown music television heroes at DittyTV, for example, maintain a running calendar of online events in the Americana world that originate from all over the nation.

REMINDER: The Memphis Flyer supports social distancing in these uncertain times. Please live-stream responsibly. We remind all players that even a small gathering could recklessly spread the coronavirus and endanger others. If you must gather as a band, please keep all players six feet apart, preferably outside, and remind viewers to do the same.

ALL TIMES CDT



Thursday, June 25
Noon
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
Facebook

Noon
Live DJ - Downtown Memphis Virtual Carry Out Concert
Facebook

7 p.m.
The Rusty Pieces
Facebook

8 p.m.
Devil Train
Facebook


Friday, June 26
Noon
Bailey Bigger - Virtual Fridays in HSP
Facebook

8:30 p.m.
The Juke Joint AllStars & The Sensation Band
Wild Bill's Stay Safe At Home Live Stream
Facebook


Saturday, June 27
10:30 a.m.
Tony Manard - Coffee in a Cadillac
Facebook

1:30 p.m.
Michael Graber - Microdose
Facebook

7 p.m.
Cory Branan
Instagram

7 p.m.
Southern Avenue - at Loflin Yard
Facebook

7:30 p.m.
Cyrena Wages - Orpheum Theatre's Memphis Songwriters Series: Virtual Voices
Facebook

8:30 pm
The Juke Joint AllStars & The Sensation Band
Wild Bill's Stay Safe At Home Live Stream
Facebook

9 p.m.
Gerald Stephens - Tribute to Stevie Wonder
Facebook


Sunday, June 28
3 p.m.
Dale Watson - Chicken $#!+ Bingo
Facebook

4 p.m.
Bill Shipper - For Kids (every Sunday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Cashmere Kashjimer & That Memphis Band - Lamplighter Lounge
Facebook

10 p.m.
Defcon Engaged (every Sunday)
Twitch TV


Monday, June 29
8 p.m.
John Paul Keith (every Monday)
Facebook


Tuesday, June 30
7 p.m.
Bill Shipper (every Tuesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Mario Monterosso (every Tuesday)
Facebook


Wednesday, July 1
7 p.m.
Miz Stefani (every Wednesday)
Facebook

8 p.m.
Richard Wilson (every Wednesday)
Facebook

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Reigning Sound Live from the Stream

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 2:00 PM

This Saturday, Memphis garage-rock gurus Reigning Sound will perform live (streamed to your computer or device via Twitch and Facebook Live) from the stage of B-Side, presented by Goner Records, to celebrate the upcoming Merge Records rerelease of the band’s 2005 album Home for Orphans.


The Home for Orphans reissue isn’t Reigning Sound’s first association with Merge. Their excellent 2014 LP Shattered was released on Merge Records, as was last year’s reissue of Abdication … for Your Love. “Featuring,” Merge’s website boasts, “the original Memphis lineup of singer-guitarist [Greg] Cartwright, bassist Jeremy Scott, drummer Greg Roberson, and [Flyer Music Editor] organist Alex Greene, Home for Orphans presents Reigning Sound’s classic sonic blueprint.”


Home for Orphans
  • Home for Orphans

That the record is made up of outtakes, demos, and rarities makes it feel like a glimpse of something elusive and wild. The songs are moody and raw, oozing atmosphere and warbling organ chords. “It was a record almost by accident,” says bassist Jeremy Scott. “We had a whole third record pretty much ready to go when Alex left. (He had a youngun’ to raise, and probably didn't need to hang with us heathens so much anyway.) The more rockin’ material was lifted for what became Too Much Guitar, along with some newer things we developed as a trio; the moodier stuff, which contains some of Greg’s best songs in my opinion, formed the basis of this record.”


Scott adds, “Great to see it available again, in a jacket which features not one but two pictures of us! We were ugly then and we’re uglier now!”


“Love is a funny thing,” Cartwright sings over a bed of acoustic guitars, slide, and burbling bass. “Don’t know it’s real till it’s caused you pain.” The drums are unobtrusive for most of the song — a light tok! on the snare, shimmery cymbals and hi-hat to keep the beat — until the fills come in, big and dramatic as anything drummer Howard Wyeth played on Bob Dylan’s Desire.

Reigning Sound: (left to right) Jeremy Scott, Greg Cartwright, Greg Roberson, and Alex Greene
  • Reigning Sound: (left to right) Jeremy Scott, Greg Cartwright, Greg Roberson, and Alex Greene

“If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home” is plaintive. Shakers and whining electric guitars that riff off of the melody of “Joy to the World” are almost too maudlin, but in the end, it works wonderfully, the sound of a lonely, drunken holiday distilled. And of course, the woeful organ chords work wonders as well. “Medication Blues #1” swirls with Byrds-like chiming guitars and an uptempo drum shuffle. The format for many of the songs — acoustic guitars, swirling organs, electric guitars played crisp and clean, bass and drums high in the mix, and harmonies galore — represents a particular sound Memphis seems to do so well in any genre, be it garage, soul, or power-pop.


“The out of town shows we did in March demonstrated that we can still bring it,” Scott says, obviously amped about the upcoming full-band performance. (Scott, like many musicians in the age of coronavirus, has streamed solo performances from his couch.) “I’m looking forward to having another opportunity to play with these guys, who are like brothers two through four to me.”

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The folks at Goner have this to say about Goner TV: “We are all bummed out and we can’t get out and see a show. See our friends. Hang out and have some laughs late into the night in a dark dingy bar. Remember those days? So we wanted to do something about it. Goner TV is our attempt to bring the good times to you.”


Goner Presents: Reigning Sound Live From B-Side Saturday, June 20th, at 8 p.m. Catch it on Facebook Live or on the Goner Twitch channel: twitch.tv/gonerrecords.

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