Music

Friday, April 28, 2023

The Stews

After releasing debut album What Was in April of 2022, The Stews have been a non-stop touring machine, playing packed-out shows across the country. Forming at Auburn University, the band ultimately decided to leave school to meet the massive demand for their live shows. With sellout crowds from Nashville to New York, Charleston to Dallas, and several in between, it is clear that The Stews have graduated from their former “college band” label. A Stews concert is a perfect blend of upbeat, singalong indie tunes and downright headbanging hard rock.

It is impossible to accurately capture the experience of The Stews live show using just words. The band works very hard to give fans from around the world a taste of the live experience through both social media and Youtube. Their most recent production is a live performance of the song Fireline, off of their debut album What Was. Performed at Center Stage in Atlanta, GA, this performance is just a taste of the electric environment enjoyed by all at a Stews show.

6:15 P.M.

Chapel Hart

Chapel Hart has found a way to gift wrap their Mississippi roots & Louisiana spice and share it with listeners around the world. Consisting of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart along with cousin Trea Swindle went from singing together as children in Hart’s Chapel Baptist Church, to a world class group whose colorful and contagious energy has flourished into a full live band experience that fills venues at home and around the country. Chapel Hart has an amazing ability to tug on your heartstrings with a tender yet powerful ballad, then have you pumping your fist in unison to the pulse of hard-hitting music. The cohesiveness of the band has not gone unnoticed as they have garnered thousands of fans from all over the world and have received hundreds of thousands of views on-line of their performances.

In 2021 Chapel Hart was inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country, the institution that has been known to help up and coming female country artists such as Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBryde, & Gabby Barrett… to name a few. This Mississippi trio’s music has reached fans around the globe earning them the title of “International Group of the Year” as well as “International Song of the Year” for the single “You Can Have Him Jolene” in Scotland. They were also nominated in multiple categories by the British CMAs including “Group of the Year” and “Album of the Year” for their sophomore release “The Girls Are Back In Town”

7:45 P.M.

Ashley McBryde

McBryde was raised in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, taking to music at the age when most kids were running wild in the backyard, dressing dolls or playing with trains. At three, she’d secretly pluck her father’s guitar like an upright bass, and after about the 17th time being caught, her father bought her a guitar of her own. When she was twelve, she played her parents and grandparents her very first composition.

It was at Arkansas State when, while a member of the marching band, McBryde finally started sharing her voice with others – first at karaoke parties, then in a band, and then in Memphis where she’d play a mix of cover and original songs while still commuting from college. When McBryde finally moved to Nashville in 2007, she settled with a friend at an apartment in a building that housed storage units – not the most glamorous of homes, but enough of a place to crash in between a healthy dose of dive bars, biker hangouts, and colorful joints where she fought to have her songs heard.

Her first EP, the self-released 2016 Jalopies and Expensive Guitars was just a taste of what McBryde can do, and, on her full-length debut, she will meld her songwriting chops with the vision of producer Jay Joyce, peppering her tales with a touch of guitar-driven rock fury – but offering plenty of room for her emotive, vulnerable twang to move softly through songs like “Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” which was written the morning that Guy Clark passed away.

McBryde indeed played “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” at her Opry debut, and still performs it on stage to crowds that now sing along. She gets emotional from time to time, remembering the days when she was working at a guitar shop or as a security guard or selling barbecue, never letting that vision go – a vision she will share on her forthcoming LP that will help remind Nashville what country music is about. And that’s the stories that shake us, make us and tell us a little more about what it’s like to be human.

9:00 P.M.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

The Mississippians Jazz Ensemble

With a lineage that goes back to a university sponsored group of student musicians who performed dance music in the late 1890s, the University of Mississippi’s jazz ensemble is one of the oldest in the nation. 2022 marked 100 years since the “Jazz Orchestra” first appeared in the 1922 Ole Miss annual.  By 1927, the group adopted the name “The Mississippians,” which is still in use today by the premier ensemble of Ole Miss Jazz.

Throughout the 20th century, Ole Miss Jazz groups performed regularly at social functions on campus, gave concerts, and toured throughout the South. Ole Miss Jazz and affiliates have been integral participants in the development of Oxford’s thriving music scene. The Mississippians played significant roles in establishing Oxford’s Double Decker Festival as well as the Summer Sunset Series in the Grove, performing for numerous consecutive years in the earliest editions of each.

Famous alums of the group include pianist Mose Allison and tenor saxophonist Brew Moore. Local musicians who have performed in the University’s jazz ensembles include: Paul Tate, Jeff Colburn, Jeff Callaway, Casey Lipe, Brandon Lewis, Slade Lewis, Dave Woolworth, Jeremy Freelon, Alphonso Sanders, David Willson, Kevin Cole, Bill Perry, and many others.

More recently, Ole Miss Jazz groups have performed at the 2016 Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in South Bend, IN, the 2018 Jazz à Juan festival in Antibes, France, and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, the 2012 and 2022 National Convention of the Jazz Education Network. In July, 2023 the Mississippians will return for a second European tour with performances on jazz festivals in France and Spain.

In his 21st year at the University of Mississippi, Michael Worthy is the director of the Mississippians Jazz Ensemble.

11:00 A.M.

Vieux Farka Touré

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician.

When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020 and all touring ground to a halt, Vieux stayed focussed on his craft at home. He worked tirelessly in the studio he built at his family’s compound (which he named ‘Studio Ali Farka Toure’ in honor of his late father) to record his debut album for World Circuit Records/BMG, the prestigious UK-based record label with whom his father recorded and released most of his own work. The resulting album, ‘Les Racines’ (released June 2022), sees Vieux masterfully return to the deep roots of the Desert Blues music that his father introduced to the world and Vieux spent most of his career to date exploring, experimenting with, and expanding. 2022 also saw the release of a long-awaited collaborative album between Vieux and Houston-based psych-rock superstars Khruangbin called ‘Ali’ – an album on which the artists join forces to pay homage to Ali Farka Toure by reimagining eight of his songs together.  The album was an instant hit around the globe, immediately getting millions of streams, enormous critical acclaim and even earning the praise of Sir Elton John who called it “one of the albums of the year – absolutely wonderful music.” With each new project Vieux broadens his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians.

12:30 P.M.

Sensational Barnes Brothers

The Sensational Barnes Brothers are a melting pot of the old and the new. As Pop Matters states, “The brothers run through a spectrum of moods and modes in their gospel soul, often bridging the gap between, say, the Soul Stirrers and Stax, all the while keeping a local flavor.” The brothers are able to dive deep into their roots, creating a sound that reflects the music of their history, all the while drawing in a modern-day audience.

From playing in their family living room to recording their first album from a legendary 1970s catalog, The Sensational Barnes Brothers have created a place for themselves in the music industry. “We performed a lot,” recalls Courtney. “In our performances, my mom and dad would do the first section. They would sing, and we would be the background. Then in the next set it flipped over to where the children would do our thing, and that would be the Barnes Family concert.” Before the release of their debut album, the brothers solidified their role as musicians by working with legends of soul and R&B as well as modern-day award-winning artists.

Family was and is a huge part of the creation of The Sensational Barnes Brothers. Their father Calvin “Duke” Barnes made his way through the world with his beloved wife Deborah who was the daughter of Rev. James L. Gleese, who founded the Beale Street Mission for Blacks/Negroes, and music came to her even more naturally. For a time, Deborah was a Raelette, one of the background singers for the genius of soul, before love, marriage and children demanded that she leave the touring life behind. The family carried on as musical collaborators for years and still play and sing together, even with their father gone. In 2015, the family released an album, Family Tree before Chris and

Courtney began The Sensational Barnes Brothers as a duo. For a time, Courtney played with a rock band chiefly influenced by Disturbed and Dream Theater. The brothers were then featured as background vocalists on Don Bryant’s Grammy nominated album Don’t Give Up on Love. Now he and Chris, on drums, percussion, and vocals, front Black Cream, which is the perfect blend of funk, soul, and r&b with Gospel tinges. Chris has also joined longtime singer and performer Larry Dodson, former lead of the Bar Kays, in the launch of his solo career. More recently, The Sensational Barnes Brothers have worked with Latin Grammy nominated Making Movies as well as lead singer of The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, on his newest solo album.

Now, as the Sensational Barnes Brothers, they are bringing it all back home to music they grew up with. The Sensational Barnes Brothers recorded their first album under the Bible and Tire Recording Co., a first for the label as well as the brothers. This first album, produced by Bruce Watson of Bible and Tire Recording Co./Big Legal Mess Records at Delta-Sonic Studios in Memphis. Songs from the album were chosen from the 1970 catalog of the Designer Records label, but the original recording reminded the brothers of their late father Calvin “Duke” Barnes, that it could have been written by the Barnes Family themselves. Inspired by their shared past, fueled by harmonies that resonate with both their blood and their kindred souls, The Sensational Barnes Brothers see themselves singing, playing, and dancing for a long time coming.

2:00 P.M.

Southern Avenue

The Memphis, TN-based band’s third studio recording sees Southern Avenue pushing themselves towards bold new ideas of what it means to be a blues band in the modern world, bending and reshaping their musical heritage with electrifying performance, vivid production, and a remarkably clear vision. Operating from their distinctively international vantage point, Southern Avenue has produced a wide-ranging collection of original music – predominantly co-written by Israeli-born guitarist Ori Naftaly and powerhouse lead vocalist Tierinii Jackson – that links them to their home city’s glorious past while at the same time, demonstrates their
ambitious intent to evolve Memphis music to contemporary effect.​

The road to Southern Avenue began when Naftaly – a gifted guitarist with a lifelong passion for American roots music – first arrived in Memphis from his native Israel to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. There Naftaly met Tierinii and her ferociously talented sister, drummer Tikyra “TK” Jackson, both of whom had grown up in the church and were only just beginning to perform secular music. Blown away by the sheer force of their ability and personalities, Naftaly invited Tierinii and TK to join his solo blues combo
but soon realized that together they had become something both new and special.

Taking a name from the main thoroughfare running due west from East Memphis to 926 East McLemore Avenue – a.k.a. Soulsville, the original headquarters of Stax Records, Southern Avenue swiftly began developing a distinctly contemporary approach towards their own reverent sound. Signed to Stax in 2016, less than a year after their initial formation, the band released their self-titled debut early the next year. SOUTHERN AVENUE was an immediate phenomenon, reaching #1 on iTunes’ “Top Blues Albums” chart before being honored with 2018 Blues Music Award for “Best Emerging Artist Album.” 2019’s KEEP ON proved to be an even greater success, debuting among the top 5 on Billboard’s “Top Blues Albums” chart amidst worldwide critical acclaim, ultimately earning Southern Avenue their first GRAMMY® Award nomination, for “Best Contemporary Blues Album”.

Having spent nearly all of their half-decade lifespan on the road, Southern Avenue began 2020 with plans to celebrate their GRAMMY® nomination in front of audiences around the world. The global pandemic changed all that but allowed the band a rare chance to finally pull back and take a well-deserved pause.

BE THE LOVE YOU WANT marks an irrefutable enhancement of what has already proven an exceptional canon of material, augmenting the band’s signature sound with myriad layers of guitar tracks, percussion, strings, and brass (courtesy of veteran saxophonist Art Edmaiston and trumpeter Marc Franklin) to create what Naftaly calls “the most Southern Avenue album yet.” Songs like “Control” and the house-quaking album closer, “Move On,” fully came to life during recording, arranged to accentuate the band’s uncanny interplay and exceptional musicianship. “Don’t Hesitate (Call Me)” is marked by Naftaly’s chromatic chord changes and psychedelic bridge and while “Heathen Hearts” tacks far from Southern Avenue’s usual full-blooded musical domain, eschewing traditional instrumentation for handclaps, foot stomps, and joyful church choir harmonies.

3:30 P.M.

Lissie

Midwestern artist Lissie is a multi-talented tour de force who released her new Americana-tinged indie folk album Carving Canyons on September 16, 2022. Ahead of the release she unveiled the first song two songs “Flowers” and “Night Moves”. Debuted by FLOOD Magazine, the haunting sun-soaked song “Night Moves” channels Fleetwood Mac grandeur as it explores sensory memory and considering multiple realities vs one’s own point of view when navigating heartbreak. Carving Canyons is about looking within while dealing with the uncertainty of the future—finding hope in personal and worldly adversity, no matter what the forecast might say. Inspired by her incredible intergenerational female friend group and the nature that surrounded her, Lissie traveled to Nashville and co-wrote much of the album with a majority of female-identifying songwriters—including Bre Kennedy, Madi Diaz, Morgan Nagler, Natalie Hemby, Kate York, and Sarah Buxton—who also contribute additional vocals throughout the album. Carving Canyons is Lissie’s first full-length album since her UK Top 10 album Castles in 2018. In 2010, her first full-length album Catching a Tiger unassumingly established Lissie as a global voice. Lissie has recently appeared in TV shows Twin Peaks and Loudermilk as well as co-owning the music genre themed popcorn company Otts’ Pops Indie Pop and is involved with land conservation.

5:00 P.M.

Blackberry Smoke

Throughout their career, Blackberry Smoke — vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr, guitarist/vocalist Paul Jackson, bassist/vocalist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner, and keyboardist Brandon Still — has embodied Georgia’s rich musical legacy, honoring the people, places and sounds of their home state. As the band celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, their reverence for Georgia has only deepened.

On their latest album, You Hear Georgia, the follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Find a Light, Blackberry Smoke is further celebrating these roots with 10 new songs that feel like Georgia, accented by the addition of Grammy-winning producer and fellow Georgia-native, Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile). Blackberry Smoke worked quickly, spending just 10 days at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A, Cobb’s home base since 2016. The band recorded live on the floor, giving You Hear Georgia a crisp, outgoing feel. Like other Blackberry Smoke efforts, this album leans into well-crafted Southern rock driven by jagged guitar riffs and rich instrumentation, as the band layers on rollicking piano (“Live It Down”), funky grooves (“Hey Delilah”), and introspective acoustic sounds (the stripped-down, folk-leaning “Old Enough to Know”).

Starr co-wrote most of the album’s songs with friends, including current Lynyrd Skynyrd member Rickey Medlocke (“Old Scarecrow”) and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes (“All Rise Again”), as well as two frequent collaborators, Four Horsemen guitarist Dave Lizmi, and ex-Buckcherry member Keith Nelson.

The hard-touring Blackberry Smoke knows a little something about hitting the road in order to find a place to belong. Over the years, the band’s toured with ZZ Top, Zac Brown Band, and Eric Church, while the group’s last four full-lengths reached the top 10 of the Billboard country charts, with two of these albums (2015’s Holding All The Roses and 2016’s Like An Arrow) landing at No. 1. “That’s what makes it so enjoyable to be in a band: to play with the same dudes decade after decade,” he adds. “Because when you land on something that works to you, you don’t want to stop. You want to keep doing it.”

6:30 P.M.

Marcus King

GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist, performer, and songwriter Marcus King was downright destined to play music. By eight-years-old, the fourth generation Greenville, SC native performed alongside pops, grandpa, and his uncles for the first time. Logging thousands of miles on the road as “The Marcus King Band,” he established himself with unparalleled performance prowess and a dynamic live show. During 2020, he linked up with Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and cut his solo debut El Dorado, garnering a GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best Americana Album.” Beyond praise from NPRAmerican Songwriter, and more, Rolling Stone christened it “excellent, and Associated Press went as far as to claim, “El Dorado already stands out as a definite high point of 2020.” In between packing venues on his own, he performed alongside Chris Stapleton, Greta Van Fleet, and Nathanial Rateliff in addition to gracing the bills of Stagecoach and more with one seismic show after the next. Along the way, he caught the attention of Rick Rubin and signed to American Recordings.

Plugged into his old man’s dusty amp with a ’59 Les Paul in hand, Marcus set out to make a rock ‘n’ roll record in 2022. He didn’t disguise his ambitions at all. He didn’t hold back. He didn’t think about anything but writing from the gut, shooting from the hip, and playing straight from the heart. Joined by Auerbach, he made the kind of rock ‘n’ roll record that makes arenas and asses shake, and it’s called Young Blood [American Recordings/Republic Records].

8:30 P.M.