As a place or a symbol, Memphis has been quite the mecca for classic rock and soul-reared veteran artists lately, as witnessed by Sheryl Crow's 100 Miles From Memphis, John Mellencamp's No Better Than This, and Cyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues. The latest example is Soulsville, the first album in nine years from '80s-identified hitmakers Huey Lewis and News.
The album, which is set for a November 2nd release, was recorded locally at Ardent Studios with Memphis producer Jim Gaines and showcases the band on 14 classic soul covers. Contrary to some reports, these aren't all Stax nuggets (some titles come from non-Memphis soul greats such as Solomon Burke and Joe Tex), but the band deserves some credit for digging a little deeper in the soul songbook than most high-profile revivalists, with the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself" the only widely familiar title. Other selections include Otis Redding's "Just One More Day" and William Bell's "Never Like This Before." The album's cover was created by Memphis artist (and musician) Lamar Sorrento.
Lewis returns to town ahead of the album release for a pair of appearances at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Lewis will be on hand for a private VIP reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, October 28th. Tickets to the reception are $100, and attendees will get to meet and have their picture taken with Lewis and also get a personalized, autographed copy of the new album. This will be followed by a free public event from 7 to 8:30 p.m. that Lewis is also scheduled to attend. Autographed Soulsville CDs will be sold at the public reception. Both events are benefits for the Stax Music Academy.
There are a bevy of Halloween-themed shows on tap this weekend at music venues across the city.
Saturday: Lord T & Eloise host and headline a "Hall of Horrors" concert at Minglewood Hall. The so-called aristocrunk duo recently released their third album, Rapocalypse, and will preside over a full bill that includes Memphis-style hardcore rap group Kinfolk Thugs, Memphis-via-Brooklyn musician and Magic Kids associate Bosco Delrey, and DJs the Defective Agency and Memphis Feel-Harmonic. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance or $18 the day of the show. Lord T & Eloise — who know a thing or two about cultivating a look — will hold a costume contest onstage, with a $100 cash prize going to the winner.
Meanwhile, at The Cove, Jack Oblivian & the Pirates — the Memphis rock stalwart with a new backing band that includes frequent keyboard sidekick Adam Woodard and the members of folk-rockers Star & Micey — will perform at a Halloween party that will also feature a costume contest. And at Newby's, the Halloween party will feature Wrangler Space, a Widespread Panic tribute band.
Sunday: The Makeshift Halloween Fiasco at Young Avenue Deli will feature a novel concept, with a series of Makeshift-connected bands performing "in costume" as another act. The lineup will have the Warble doing Brian Eno, J.D. Reager as Michael Nesmith, Wampa as the Talking Heads, Grace Askew as Tom Waits, Jobu Babin as Portishead, and J.P. & the Jackrollers as ZZ Top. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $5.
At the Hi-Tone Café, a rare recent performance from local hard-rockers the Secret Service will headline a Halloween party that also features Deuce & the Pit Vipers. The night will feature a costume contest with the best male and female winners getting free admission to all Hi-Tone shows for one year. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $7.
A couple of other Sunday night Halloween shows: The long-running annual Hell on Earth concert takes place at the Buccaneer Lounge, starting at 10:30 p.m., while rap will be on tap at the New Daisy Theatre for Knightmare on Beale Street, featuring Paper Boys, P. London, and Gutta Yungin. Showtime is 10 p.m.