Friday, April 27
The 27 year-old Memphis-based chanteuse’s debut, “Cold Baby” b/w “Painted Image” (Fat Possum) is a stunning, smoldering slab of wax – a document of love and disillusion, faith and redemption – that instantly heralds Liz Brasher as a thrilling new voice in American roots music. Evolving her brand of spiritual soul, she found sustenance and further direction in the discographies of great Southern labels like Stax, Fame and Goldwax. “These songs are dark,” says Liz Brasher of the material on her debut. “But they’re about having strength through the darkness.”
Thacker Mountain Radio
Thacker Mountain Radio is a live radio show featuring weekly author readings and a wide array of musical performances from the Square in Oxford, Mississippi. The free show is taped and broadcast every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. during the fall and spring and rebroadcast every Saturday night on Mississippi Public Radio.
Thacker hosts an eclectic mix of local and national writers and musicians, performing before a live and loyal audience in Off Square books, an annex of Square Books, one of the great independent bookstores in the nation.
The Delta Saints
Among rock ‘n’ roll’s many mistresses and muses, California remains one of the most enigmatic, enduring, and enchanting. The Golden State’s allure can notably be attributed to the intoxicating melodic excess of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and the finger-picked pensiveness of Led Zeppelin’s “Going To California,” to name a few.
The West Coast’s influence courses throughout The Delta Saints’ 2017 full-length album, Monte Vista. The Nashville-based quintet—Ben Ringel [vocals & guitar], Dylan Fitch [guitar], David Supica [bass], Vincent “Footz” Williams [drums], and Nate Kremer [keyboards]—craft raw and visceral rock music with psychedelic flares, fuzzed-out guitar riffs, arresting drum patterns and blues tendencies.
Saturday, April 28
Sharde Thomas Rising Star Fife and Drum
Sharde Thomas was born in North Mississippi in 1990 and is the granddaughter of the North Mississippi Fife & Drum Master, the late Otha Turner. Sharde was her grandfather’s heir of the mastery of the Fife & Drum at a young age. Sharde released her debut album in 2010 titled “What Do I Do” and released her sophomore album in 2013 titled “Shawty Blues”. Sharde has worked with greats like Eric Clapton, Bobby Rush, Cyndi Lauper, Mavis Staples, The Wandering, The North Mississippi All-Stars, and many others. She is the lead vocalist and plays the Fife in the “Rising Stars Fife & Drum band”. The band performs a mixture of Folk, Blues, Pop, and Gospel music. The group has also traveled to Europe, Paris, New Orleans, Chicago, performed at the Blues Rules in Switzerland, performed at the 2017 Cognac Blues Passions and many, many more. The “Rising Stars Fife & Drum” released the Interlude in 2017. The “Rising Star Fife & Drum” music is featured in “Super-Size Me”, and “Gangs of New York”.
Born in Como, Mississippi, sisters Della and Angela and cousin Ester Mae express their passion through what’s most familiar to them. Music has filled their lives for more than 50 years, through the church and the uplifting sound of their grandfather’s guitar that pulled them through times of turmoil. “Back then you had to go to church, it wasn’t a choice you made,” says Ester Mae. “We would go and sing in the choir but they didn’t have a pianist. That’s why it comes easy for me to sing without background music. I grew up without it.”
The Como Mamas share the Gospel through powerful and compelling vocals, driving both passion and grace into the words they sing. Such emotional and spiritual intensity conveyed through unaccompanied voices is a rare phenomenon, and therefore has garnered much interest over the past years, especially from New York field recorder Michael Reilly and Daptone Records. After hearing the Mamas sing during his first visit to Como in 2005, the only word Reilly could muster up in response was “wow.” Since then the Como Mamas have released two albums with Daptone Records: “Como Now: The Voices of Panola County, Mississippi” in 2008 and “Get an Understanding” in 2013
Don Bryant has been singing since he was 5, starting in his Memphis church. He joined his father’s family vocal group, then formed a gospel quartet for a high school radio gig. Broadcasting broadened the audience and they went secular, singing pop at WLOK on Dick “Cane” Cole’s popular show. After parting with the DJ, they took a very real step toward careers when, as the Four Kings, they began fronting Willie Mitchell’s band.
Willie’s band was known for instrumental records, but when they’d play at Danny’s in West Memphis, Don’s group fronted them. But the group broke up and Willie needed a vocalist who could play with his supple, slinky funky beats, and anointed Don Bryant as his leading man.
Squirrel Nut Zippers
The Squirrel Nut Zippers began their musical journey in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the mid 1990’s, as a musician’s escape from the cookie cutter world of modern rock radio at the time. Jimbo Mathus along with drummer/percussionist Chris Phillips formed the band as a casual musical foray among friends and family in the area. It wasn’t long before the band’s quirky mix of Jazz chords, Folk music, and Punk Rock leanings spread out of the region and attracted a national audience.
Tank and the Bangas
Tank and The Bangas came together in New Orleans and it is evident in their soulful songs. With a poetic style and an upbeat sound they even ponder rollercoasters. You’ll find the Bangas to provoke a musical reference of Rhythmic Soul and Spoken word among other genres such as Rock, Gospel, Funk, and Folk. Combining the various musical techniques among the Bangas, coupled with the instilling play on lyrics from the lead vocalist; Tank and The Bangas have quilted a unique sound that singles them as one of the most distinctive groups to come out of New Orleans. The group has graced the cover of one of New Orleans most recognized magazines, “OffBeat” and has won band of the year at the New Orleans Big Easy Awards. The group has opened for acts such as LiAnne LaHavas, PJ Morton, Galactic, Big Freedia, The Revivalist, and The Soul Rebels. Most recently the band was titled as the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest winners. The group consists of Tarriona Ball (Lead Singer/Poet), Norman Spence (Aux Keys), Joshua Johnson (Drummer/MD), Merell Burkett (Keys), Etienne Stouflet (Tenor Saxophone), Albert Allenback (Alto Saxophone/Flute), Jonathan Johnson (Bass), Anjelika Joseph (Background Vocals), Kayla Jasmine (Background Vocals).
Whitey Morgan, whose real name is Eric Allen, hails from Flint, Michigan where locals believe he keeps true country music alive. Most of his fans and spectators gather in bars and venues from word of mouth rather than any advertising. Whitey’s deep voice and twangy guitars remind one of an old country western film. He describes his sound as “honky-tonk” and despises Nashville for its newfound popularity of pop country. “This may be country music, but it’s dirtier and more dangerous than your average Tennessee two-step” –Rolling Stone
With three albums under his belt, Whitey is almost always on tour, averaging over 200 shows a year. Originating in 2005 as Whitey Morgan and the Waycross Georgia Farmboys, the group’s lineup has undergone several changes while the group’s name itself has changed from Whitey Morgan and the 78s to simply Whitey Morgan
In the small town of New Albany, Indiana Matt Myers (guitar, vocals), Shane Cody (drums, vocals) and Zak Appleby (bass, vocals) became Houndmouth in the summer of 2011.
In 2012, the group issued a self-titled EP on Rough Trade Records, who signed them after seeing a single gig. One of 2013’s most incandescent debuts, their From the Hills Below the City LP affirmed what label owner Geoff Travis had heard: the sounds of Americana, renewed by the youthful glow of songwriters, musicians and pals unafraid to both celebrate and desecrate them.
Cold War Kids
Based in LA, Cold War Kids formed in 2004, soon after vocalist Nathan Willett and bass guitar player Matt Maust met in college and bonded over their obsession with a Blur album. The band also includes drummer Joe Plummer, guitarist David Quon and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Schwartz. In 2006 they successfully released their debut album Robbers & Cowards. The notably darker Loyalty To Loyalty followed two years later, while 2011’s Mine Is Yours introduced a more anthemic element to the Cold War Kids catalog. With 2013’s Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, the band returned to their fierce live sound and offered up their hit single “Miracle Mile.” They’ve had hits like “First”, which spent six weeks in the top spot of Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.