About six months ago, Jeremy Scott -- veteran of The Reigning Sound and Harlan T. Bobo's backing band -- decided to lay down his bass. Lucky for us, he picked up a guitar and formed The Wallendas with Jim Duckworth, Steve Parkinson, and Grayson Grant.
Actually, Scott explains, he's been playing the six-string instrument since he was a teenager. "I started off on clarinet and sax, but I thought the guitar was cooler," he says. He credits Parkinson for encouraging him to finish some demos he was working on earlier this year and bringing Duckworth -- who's played with The Gun Club and local legends K9 Arts -- into the mix.
"Originally, it was just the three of us, and I thought I'd play bass, but then I ran into Grayson at a crawfish festival last spring," Scott remembers. "He said we should get together and play, and I was like, funny you should mention that. I called him a few days later and said, 'Now that you're presumably sober, do you still want to do it?'"
The Wallendas woodshedded at The Buccaneer lounge, holding court during happy hour for months before Scott decided they were ready to headline a late-night gig. "I didn't want us playing under really adverse conditions and getting disillusioned, so we built the band playing for a crowd that didn't necessarily 'know' us," he says. "Now I'm getting feedback from all kinds of people who are thrilled to see Jim playing rock again."
With a spate of originals honed to perfection, Scott's next step is to get the group into a recording studio in the next few months. "We have enough material to do a full-length album, and I already have the sequencing figured out," he says.
Catch the Wallendas at Murphy's Friday, October 27th. To learn more about the band, go to Scott's Web site.
Don't miss former Memphian Cory Branan -- who recently pulled up his Bluff City stakes to move to Arkansas -- when he rolls into the Hi-Tone Café for an all-ages show next Wednesday night. The first stop on a tour that pairs Branan with Thrift Store Cowboys, the Memphis show will feature three sets: one from the Lubbock, Texas-based musicians; one from Branan, who will mine material from his newest album, 12 Songs; and one with him fronting the group. The 17-date tour will take Branan and the Cowboys all the way to the West Coast and back, with a stop in Lubbock to celebrate the Thrift Store Cowboys' new release, Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, on November 10th.
Bentonia, Mississippi, bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes has plenty to smile about: Earlier this month, the 59-year-old guitarist/juke-joint owner, who celebrated the release of his debut album, Back to Bentonia, on the St. Louis-based Broke & Hungry label last April, was gifted an acoustic guitar by Epiphone. The instrument adds new dimension to Holmes' haunting, finger-picking blues style, adapted from legendary Bentonia players such as the late Skip James and Jack Owens, who built careers on songs such as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" and "Devil Got My Woman Blues."
"I can't really wait to see what that box can do," says Holmes. "That guitar looks just like the kind I used to see in my parents' juke joint when I was growing up."
Trick or Treat: Misty White's annual Hell on Earth party -- now in its 21st year -- is slated for Earnestine & Hazel's Friday, November 3rd. White deemed the theme this year to be "Black Jack," because, she says, "you can still win at cards, even if the world's going to hell." This year, Hell on Earth boasts two stages and more than a dozen performers, including Chopper Girl, The Menstruals, Olivera, The Marcels, The Guacos, Big Rig, Three Faces of Angerhead (with Antenna club alumnus Mark "Angerhead" Kallaher manning the lead mic), and White's own group, The Zippin Pippins. Also slated to appear: a topless dancer named Lady Sam. Showtime is 9 p.m. sharp; costumes are encouraged. In the meantime, don't miss The Final Solutions, The Secret Service, and Chopper Girl's rap-rock band Memphis Babylon at a Halloween bash at the Hi-Tone Café on Tuesday, October 31st.