Fresh off a Premier Player Award nomination for "Best Band" (along with three nominations in individual instrumental categories), The Gamble Brothers Band will celebrate the release of their debut album, 10 Lbs. of Hum, on Friday, March 15th, at Newby's. Recorded at local songwriting fixture Keith Sykes' Woodshed studio, with Sykes co-producing, this impressive debut presents a style of smart, jazzy rock that may be what Steely Dan would have sounded like if they were more relaxed and as influenced by Jimmy Smith, Booker T., and the Allmans as they were by Horace Silver and Charlie Parker. As the aforementioned Premier Player nods attest, all four members of the band (bassist Will Lowrimore, saxophonist Art Edmaiston, drummer Chad Gamble, and his brother, singer and keyboardist Al Gamble) are accomplished and (especially given their ages) experienced musicians, with the jam tendencies that grow from such virtuosity nicely balanced by a strong commitment to songwriting. This band has been building momentum through constant local gigging lately, and with the Premier Player nomination and this record that momentum doesn't appear to be letting up.
But if you happen to miss them Friday, the Gamble Brothers Band will also be appearing at an all-day jazz show on St. Patrick's Day at the Young Avenue Deli, with San Diego's jazz-funk keyboardist Robert Walter and his group 20th Congress headlining a show that will also include the Deli's Sunday jazz band. -- Chris Herrington
Something happens when a pair of piercing tenors harmonize over the sound of ringing mandolins. Perhaps you are a metalhead or a blues hound. Maybe your taste runs toward dub, trip hop, or hardcore. It doesn't matter much. When the bluegrass begins to play, chances are you will stop to listen. It calls out like Gabriel's trumpet, and when the pickin' parties begin audiophiles of every stripe come marching home. When it comes to high lonesome, nobody in Memphis does it better than Mudflap Eric Lewis and his multitalented friends. Okay, maybe Andy Ratcliff does it better, but superlatives hardly seem to matter when these two great voices join to sing about liquor, lost love, and the life to come. The fact that the Pawtuckets' powerhouse Mark McKinney is joining Lewis and Ratcliff at the P&H Café on Friday, March 15th, only makes things that much more exciting. The first time I saw Lewis and Ratcliff raise their voices together it was with Professor Elixir's Southern Troubadours, and for the first time in that divine trainwreck-of-a-band's history it seemed like the engines were running on time. Since then, both performers have seasoned their voices and perfected their licks. Lewis' regular shows at the Poplar Lounge have had a decidedly country flavor of late, adding covers by Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Johnny Russell to the mix. Lovers of American roots music won't be disappointed.
Planning to get plastered and celebrate St. Paddy? I'd have to suggest closing one eye and stumbling into Murphy's on Sunday, March 17th. Big Betsy, a once-a-year musical event in and of itself, will be on hand to forget the words to all your favorite Pogues songs. But you won't care. You'll be plastered. You'll try to kiss the bewigged boys' feet. And later in the evening The Joint Chiefs, Memphis' most brilliant arbiters of the world's dumbest rock, will be on hand to R-O-C-K all the snakes out of the greater Mid-South. When the Chiefs are playing you can guarantee that Erin, and all the other tattooed ladies, will Go Braghless. It's a known fact. -- Chris Davis