by Chris Davis
Joey Pegram, Shabbadoo's musical auteur, is about to pack his bags and leave Memphis to teach art in Jakarta. He says he's coming back some day, but just in case that doesn't happen it might not be a bad idea to visit Nocturnal on Sunday, May 30 when Shabbadoo celebrates the release of its latest LP There You Are.
There you Are—like so many of Pegram's previous Shabbadoo discs— is shimmering collection of songs for people who like to feel like they're drowning in gorgeous sounds. This time out he and an exceptional group of contributing musicians have mapped some of the dreamiest sonic topography since Fripp & Eno recorded the “Heavenly Music Corporation." There You Are mixes sinister Pop-Art sensibilities with yearning romanticism. Sparkling keyboards give way to surging horns, moaning strings, and simple acoustic folk. Everything plays out like a whispery rock opera set in a steamy American South where dreams are traded like commodities.
Pegram, who started playing music in Memphis in 1988 with original Sangri-La recording artists 6-11, is an undersung titan of Memphis' indie rock scene. Over the years he's played drums and guitar for The Bum Notes, Professor Elixir's Southern Troubadours, Hot Money, Apocolax, The Joint Chiefs,Two Way Radio, and The Original Cindy. For those keeping score at home, that's a heady mix of psyche, folk, pop, punk, metal, and bluegrass. Shabbadoo— a shortened version of Joey Jo-Jo Jr. Shabbadoo, an alias once used by Homer Simpson— is Pegram distilled. And There You Are—an achingly beautiful collection of songs and soundscapes—may be the best thing he's ever done.
When: Sunday, May 30, at 9:00pm
How much: There's a $5 cover. $2 beers all night