The Music Issue 

The Music Issue

Family Affair

The Reigning Sound repeats in the annual Memphis Flyer Local Music Poll, but Makeshift makes its move.

In the summer of 2000, just a couple of weeks after joining the Flyer staff, a package appeared on my desk from an entity called "Makeshift." Inside was a clearly handcrafted artifact called The First Broadcast, a compilation CD of local artists, most of whom were unknown to me. The disc was accompanied by a one-page explanation that Charles Foster Kane might call a "declaration of principles."

"We would like to put Memphis on the map for having good music," it read, and it didn't seem arrogant or presumptuous. It did seem naive and ill-informed. At first. After all, how can you put Memphis on the map when Memphis is where the map begins? But the more I thought about it --and the more I listened and the more I talked to the barely adult schemers who formed Makeshift --the more it seemed like a healthy, even realistic attitude. These weren't people clinging to a fading legacy. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, they were too busy being born to be busy dying.

At the time, I dubbed what Makeshift was doing "termite art," after the category invented by film critic Manny Farber, because the forces behind Makeshift were going about their work with such interest and intent that they didn't have time for self-consciousness.

So, as a music-scene watcher who found the group's art-for-art's-sake ethos and personal and professional modesty refreshing, and been glad to see that attitude remain intact as the scene has blossomed, I'm pleased as punch to put the Makeshift collective on the cover of this, the Fourth Annual Memphis Flyer Local Music Poll.

They deserve to be there: All four of the primary Makeshift artists -- Snowglobe, the Glass, the Coach and Four, and Blair Combest --made the Top 10 of our local music survey for the first time ever. Two other Makeshift-connected bands -- the Lights and the Color Cast --finished in the top 20 in their first poll appearances. And several voters, in selecting these bands, made a case for the Makeshift scene in its entirety.

If you're new to this annual experiment, here's how it works: Every spring we send out ballots to roughly 100 Memphians with a vocational (and, we hope, avocational) interest in the local music scene --writers, photographers, radio programmers, record-store owners and employees, club bookers, label owners, and other "industry" types. We ask them to name the five most "vital" artists in Memphis music today, purposefully leaving the criteria vague to allow each voter to judge vitality (not to mention "local") in whatever manner they see fit. We also ask them to vote for their favorite local album of the past year and, this year, what one new or relatively unknown local act has the most potential to break out in the coming year ("Picked to Click"). We also give voters the opportunity to comment on their picks, because we have our say all year long and want to turn as much of the content over to the voters as possible.

This year, 40 music-scene onlookers chose to participate, down from last year's high of 56 but on a par with the first two years of the poll. They voted for a total of 84 local artists and 25 albums. The top of the poll was unchanged from last year: The Reigning Sound, who won last year in a landslide, squeaked out a tight victory over last year's runner-up, Lucero, who actually received the most votes and also won a closely contested "best album" race. The beloved North Mississippi Allstars finished third for the second straight year. The lesson here is that hard work and, right, oodles of talent pay off: What all three bands have in common is that they've made waves outside the city while still feeling like "local" bands.

But the good news for fans of change is that the top three bands are the only repeats from last year's Top 10. Two others --Three 6 Mafia and the Lost Sounds -- are past finishers who dropped out last year and made a comeback. But a full five of our finishers are making their Top 10 debut: The four Makeshift acts mentioned above and Free Sol, making their first poll appearance.

Over the next several pages, you can read about all this good stuff. Andrew Earles checks in with an in-depth profile of the Makeshift scene and the four individuals or bands that lead the way. Andria Lisle and I profile the other six bands in the Top 10. And we offer a sneak-peek at some of the most popular voter-getters in our "Picked to Click" category. Perhaps best of all, spread throughout the package, are voter comments on all these bands and the many more who didn't crack the Top 10. And then there's the cover itself: My hands-down favorite music-issue cover ever. In the Makeshift story, co-founder Brad Postlethwaite says he doesn't want to always be the one in the front of the photos, which is exactly the attitude that makes him and the entire Makeshift collective such a wonderful part of the local music scene. But if you look at the cover, you'll see we put Postlethwaite exactly where he deserves to be. --Chris Herrington

Best Local Album

of the Past Year

Album Votes

That Much Further West --Lucero (Tiger Style) 4

The Royal Sessions -- The Bo-Keys (Yellow Dog) 3

Wild Emotions -- The Preacher's Kids (Get Hip) 3

Makeshift #3 --Various Artists (Makeshift Music) 3

Others receiving votes: 3rd & Beale -- Barbara Blue (Big Blue Records); Too Much Love -- Harlan T. Bobo (self-released); Unlimited Symmetry -- The Coach and Four (Makeshift Music); The Color Cast -- The Color Cast (self-released); Prettier Than Ugly --Blair Combest (Makeshift Music); Express Rising --Express Rising (Memphix); Disco Eraser --Final Solutions (Misprint); Back to the Bottom -- The Gamble Brothers Band (Archer Records); I Can't Stop -- Al Green (Blue Note); Wrecked --Halfacre Gunroom (unreleased); Path Undefined -- Candice Ivory (self-released); Official Bootleg #1 -- Richard Johnston (self-released); Big Lonesome Radio -- Mark Lemhouse (Yellow Dog Records); Polaris -- North Mississippi Allstars (ATO/Tone Cool); Mix Tape: The Appeal --Project Pat (Hypnotize Minds); Haphazard -- Skinny White Chick (Young Ave. Records); So That's What the Kids Are Calling It? --The Subteens (Young Ave. Records); Da Unbreakables -- Three 6 Mafia (Hypnotize Minds/Columbia); The Band With No Name --The Uninvited (self-released); In the Mood for Memphis --Various Artists (Inside Sounds); Jim Dickinson Field Recordings: Delta Experimental Projects Vol. 3 --Various Artists (Birdman). n

The 2004 Memphis Flyer

Local Music Poll

Voters were asked to name the five most vital artists or bands in Memphis music today. Forty voters participated, with points awarded as follows: five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote, three points for a third-place vote, two points for a fourth-place vote, and one point for a fifth-place vote.

Artist/Band Points Ballots

1. The Reigning Sound 64 17

2. Lucero 63 19

3. The North Mississippi Allstars 38 12

4. The Glass 27 8

5. Snowglobe 26 9

6. The Coach and Four 22 9

7. The Lost Sounds 22 7

8. Free Sol 18 6

9. Blair Combest 16 5

10. Three 6 Mafia 15 3

11. The Subteens 13 5

12. (tie) Saliva 13 4

12. (tie) Yo Gotti 13 4

14. The Bo-Keys 12 3

15. (tie) Jim Dickinson 10 3

15. (tie) The Lights 10 3

17. The Gamble Brothers Band 9 4

18. (tie) Candice Ivory 9 3

18. (tie) The Porch Ghouls 9 3

20. (tie) Automusik 9 2

20. (tie) Billy Gibson 9 2

20. (tie) The Color Cast 9 2

Others receiving votes: Robert Belfour, Big Star, The Bloodthirsty Lovers, Barbara Blue, Harlan T. Bobo, John Farrell Bonds, Cory Branan, Carmen, Joyce Cobb, Holly Cole, The Cool Jerks, Dearest Darlin's, Delta Jax, DJ Boogaloo, Eightball & MJG, David Evans, Jeffrey Evans, The Fieldstones, The Final Solutions, FreeWorld, James Govan, Al Green, Andy Grooms, Gusto, Halfacre Gunroom, Teenie Hodges, Ingram Hill, Gary Johns, Richard Johnston, Rob Jungklas, Tyler Keith & the Preacher's Kids, The Klopeks, Mark Lemhouse, Eric Lewis & Andy Ratliff, Lil' Whyte, Johnny Lowebowe, Memphix, Willie Mitchell, Mr. Airplane Man, Mrs. Fletcher, Blind Mississippi Morris, Nervous Patterns, Larry Nix, Nu Jynsis, The Oscars, Kevin Paige, The Pirates, Tim Prudhomme, Christopher Reyes, Ross Rice, River City Tanlines, Valencia Robinson, Steve Selvidge, Preston Shannon, Six-Pack-a-Delia, The Tennessee Boltsmokers, The Tim Terry Experience, S.J. Tucker, Vending Machine, Viva L'American Deathray Music, Voodoo Village.

Staff Ballots

Chris Herrington:

1. The Reigning Sound

2. Lucero

3. The Lost Sounds

4. Snowglobe

5. The Coach and Four

Album:

Makeshift #3 --Various Artists (Makeshift Music)

Picked to Click: Tunnel Clones

Chris Davis:

1. The Reigning Sound

2. Snowglobe

3. The Lost Sounds

4. Lucero

5. The North Mississippi Allstars

Album:

Wild Emotions -- The Preacher's Kids (Get Hip)

Picked to Click: Halfacre Gunroom

Andria Lisle:

1. The Reigning Sound

2. The Lost Sounds

3. Johnny Lowebowe

4. Robert Belfour

5. Monsieur Jeffrey Evans

Album:

The Royal Sessions --The Bo-Keys (Yellow Dog)

Picked to Click: Chopper Girl

Thanks to all voters:

Tish Alexander

Tha Movement

Nancy Apple

WEVL-FM 89.9

Michael Boyer

KXHT-FM 107.1

Dennis Brooks

independent promoter

Betsie Brown

Blues Foundation

Matt Cole

Last Chance Records

Gary Crump

Snax Memphis

Kevin Cubbins

Easley Recording

Eddie Dattel

Inside Sounds

Chris Davis

The Memphis Flyer

Jimmy Davis

NARAS

Amanda Dugger

The Memphis Flyer

Andrew Earles

freelance writer

Julie Etheridge

Select-o-Hits

Michael Glenn

The New Daisy Theatre

Dave Green

The Hi-Tone Cafe

Eddie Hankins

WEVL-FM 89.9

Mark Jordan

freelance writer

Wayne Leeloy

Memphis &

Shelby County

Music Commission

Andria Lisle

The Memphis Flyer

Lisa Lumb

freelance writer

Cameron Mann

Young Avenue Sound

Don Mann

Young Avenue Sound

James Manning

The New Daisy Theatre

Pam McGaha

Stranjbrew Hoodoo

Mark McKinney

MADJACK Records

Jared McStay

Shangri-La Records

Bianca Phillips

The Memphis Flyer

Brad Postlethwaite

Makeshift Music

Lyndsi Potts

freelance photographer

Scott Rogers

Murphy's

Mike Smith

Snax Memphis

Brian Venable

Last Chance Records

Chris Walker

independent booker

Steve Walker

Cat's Midtown

Sherman Willmott

Shangri-La Records

Janet Wilson

WEVL-FM 89.9

JC Youngblood

Snax Memphis


 

The Makeshift Music Family:

1. Brad Postlethwaite

2. Nashon Benson

3. Luke White

4. JD Lovelace

5. Brad Stanfill

6. Sasha Barr

7. Daniel Ferris

8. Tony Dixon

9. Brad Bailey

10. Justin Minus

11. Tommy Pappas

12. Kevin Cubbins

13. Brandon Robertson

14. Jeff Hulett

15. John Argroves

16. Rebecca Weatherford

17. Tim Regan

18. Blair Combest

19. Paul Taylor

20. Clint Wagner

21. Andy Grooms

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