As a member of Atlanta's Goodie Mob, rotund rapper Cee-Lo wasn't just one of the greatest voices in '90s hip-hop but one of the great voices in pop music, period. With his Reverend Ike flow and surfeit of downhome wisdom that was genuinely wise, Cee-Lo's contributions often put Goodie Mob songs over the top, and he lent his unique voice to a few great Outkast tracks as well. As a solo artist with last year's Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, Cee-Lo let his freak flag fly on a collection that joyfully purÇed Dirty South hip-hop, neo-soul, and acid rock and even added a little country music for spice. Whether Cee-Lo is a talented minor artist destined to dwell on the commercial fringes or a major artist awaiting a breakout remains to be seen, but his unexpected solo gig at Young Avenue Deli on Wednesday, July 16th, might be one of the can't-miss shows of the year. Opening is local white rap duo Effingham & Wheatstraw, who boast respectable flows and some genuine wit but whose take on the form seems both too sheepish and too calculated --hip-hop for white folks who don't really like hip-hop but perceive it as an exotic novelty. It'll be interesting to see how their act holds up in the face of Cee-Lo's honest and entirely unironic multiculturalism.
Best locals' show this week promises to be The Lost Sounds' record-release party Saturday, July 12th, also at Young Avenue Deli. The Sounds will celebrate their great new odds-and-ends collection Demos II, a 23-track opus that documents the band's incendiary combination of new wave and no wave. Opening will be The Break-Ups and The Uninvited. --Chris Herrington
Neighborhood Texture Jam, the elder statesmen of modern Memphis rock, are going on hiatus. And this time it's all for real as NTJ frontman Joe Lapsley has gotten himself just about as educated as a man can get and now plans to leave Memphis for an indefinite period of time, perhaps forever. At any rate, with the stench of finality in the air, this show promises to be a monster. Rumor has it that NTJ will finally be performing their long-promised rock opera Frank Rizzo at Colonus, complete with air and naval reenactments of the battle of Midway. Well, we'll see if that actually happens. NTJ promised to deliver Frank Rizzo at the Overton Park Shell back in 1992 and has been promising it ever since. NTJ will be at the Hi-Tone CafÇ on Friday, July 11th, with The Lights, a new rock-and-roll outfit featuring Kevin Cubbins and Mark Stuart from the Pawtuckets, former Eighty-Katie frontman Bret Preston, and sometime Cory Branan and Alvin Youngblood Hart sideman John Argroves.
Bluegrass fans will want to visit the National Ornamental Metal Museum's Bridges Picnic on Saturday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. Rumblegrass, Memphis' newest picking partners, will provide the entertainment. Rumblegrass brings together the tried-and-true talents of Posey Hedges (guitar) and Richard Ford (banjo), as well as newcomers Brandon Apple (fiddle) and David Pierce (mandolin). If these guys can't make your foot stomp, you must be an amputee. Call 452-5600 for tickets. -- Chris Davis