"I know what it's like to be on both sides, so I try not to overstep my bounds," says musician/producer Harry Koniditsiotis, who has engineered sessions for Al Kapone, Lover!, True Sons of Thunder, and, most recently, Midtown groups Bloody Foot of Rock and The Devil's Handshake at his 5 and Dime recording studio.
This month, Koniditsiotis is stepping away from the control board for a pair of high-profile gigs with his shoegazer-style pop group Twin Pilot, who, along with The Lights, open for Swervedriver's Adam Franklin at the Hi-Tone Café on Thursday, October 11th, then return to the Hi-Tone for an acoustic set opening for Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano on October 29th.
"It's funny. I almost feel like it's '90s revival month at the Hi-Tone," Koniditsiotis says. "I'm a big Swervedriver fan. For me, Johnette's like the Patti Smith of the '90s, so I'm stoked we've been asked to play with people of this stature."
On Saturday, October 13th, Koniditsiotis' rock outfit The Turn It Offs will play Murphy's with Oxford, Mississippi-based garage rockers The Black and Whites and Japanese punk band Gito Gito Hustler. It's the first gig in months for the Turn It Offs, who were forced to take a hiatus after guitarist Bryan Leonard accidentally severed a finger last April.
Then on October 26th, Koniditsiotis' band The Angel Sluts and Leonard's group The Six String Jets will host a pre-Halloween party at Murphy's.
Between all the live shows, Koniditsiotis is scrambling to finish a number of recording projects. "The other day, we finished the layout for a full-length the Angel Sluts have coming out on Wrecked 'Em Records," he says. "Twin Pilot's also working on an album right now, although we hit a stopping point last spring and haven't been able to finish it up. All these catastrophes keep happening, but right now, it looks like everything's going really well."
Acoustic music fans, rejoice: On Wednesday, October 17th, Colorado-based alt-rootsy quintet the Boulder Acoustic Society is presenting old-time banjo and Celtic music workshops, followed by a 7:30 p.m. concert at the Center for Southern Folklore's Folklore Store at 123 S. Main. To learn more, call 525-3655 or go to SouthernFolklore.com.
On October 19th, the Folk Alliance and the Coffee House Concert Series present four homegrown singer-songwriters — Keith Sykes, Jimmy Davis, Cory Branan, and Blair Combest — at the Church of the Holy Communion. Tickets for this sure-to-sell-out event are on sale at Fiddler's Green Music Shop, Cat's Music, and High Point Coffee. For more information, call 336-6275 or go to CoffeeHouseConcerts.org.
And the Memphis Acoustic Music Association will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with contemporary guitar master Richard Gilewitz, who will perform at Otherlands on November 10th. For more details, visit MamaMusic.org.
Blues news: Wander into B.B. King's Blues Club to see Beale Street mainstays Blind Mississippi Morris or Preston Shannon, and you'll hear one of the world's best sound systems, newly installed by local companies Ninth Wave Audio/Visual Design and EgglestonWorks. Twenty custom speakers were designed for the nightclub and its elegant restaurant upstairs, Itta Bena, and installed last month, just in time for King himself — who is slated to appear November 8th and 9th — to test 'em out.
Clarksdale, Mississippi-based record label Cat Head Presents just released septuagenarian harmonica slinger Big George Brock's live debut, Live at Seventy-Five. Captured at Clarksdale's Ground Zero Blues Club this past May, Brock ably demonstrates why interest in his career — he's just returned from his third European jaunt this year — is at an all-time high. To learn more about the album, go to CatHead.biz.
Tickets for the Blues Foundation's 24th International Blues Challenge — scheduled for January 31st through February 2nd, 2008 — are already on sale via Blues.org. Last year, more than 150 amateur acts from 34 states and eight foreign countries dueled for top honors in a talent-filled competition that, says foundation executive director Jay Sieleman, is the world's largest annual gathering of blues acts.
Hats off to Jim Dickinson: On November 1st, Dickinson will be presented with the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award at Nashville's Americana Honors & Awards show. The musician/producer will be honored for his work with artists such as Ry Cooder, the Rolling Stones, Big Star, and the Replacements, as well as his solo oeuvre, which ranges from his seminal 1972 Atlantic release Dixie Fried to last month's Killers From Space (on Memphis International Records), an 11-song collection of obscure cover tunes paired with one deliciously irreverent original, "Morning After the Night Before."