Memphis bids farewell to one of its finest musicians this week as the multitalented Ross Rice plays his last local gig before moving to upstate New York and heading out on tour with Peter Frampton.
Rice, a multiple Premier Player Award winner, has been a fixture on the Memphis music scene for the past 15 years, perhaps most notably as the lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist for Human Radio, the local alt-pop band that released an album for Columbia Records in 1990, featuring the hit single "Me and Elvis." The group dissolved shortly after Rice and company relocated to Nashville, with Rice eventually moving back to Memphis in the late '90s. Rice's Nashville connections have led to appearances on records from artists such as Steve Earle and Amy Rigby. Locally, Rice has made his mark on the local scene in recent years as performer, back-up player, and producer. He helmed two releases for Archer Records last year: Kelley Hurt's Raindance and The Gamble Brothers Band's Back to the Bottom. Rice has appeared as a musician on a number of recent local releases, including Crash Into June's Another Vivid Scene, Susan Marshall's Susan Marshall Is Honey Mouth, and Justice Naczycz's Water for the Withered Root. Fans can give Rice a proper send-off Thursday, July 15th, at The Blue Monkey Midtown.
As Memphis says good-bye to one local music fixture, it can welcome back another. Orquestra Caliente was something of a one-band salsa scene back when it was packing dance floors in the late '90s. After a three-year absence, the band returns this month with a pair of shows at one-time stomping ground Young Avenue Deli, performing Thursday, July 15th, and Thursday, July 29th.
The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, this week welcomes a traveling exhibit developed by the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Sweet Home Chicago -- Big City Blues 1946-1966 opens Friday, July 16th, and will run through October 15th. It concentrates on the post-WWII Chicago scene from its roots in the rural-to-urban migration through its impact on the rock explosion of the '60s. The exhibit contains over 200 artifacts, including clothing and musical instruments used by Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. It also boasts more than 50 audio clips of rare recordings and interviews and films of blues performances. The Delta Blues Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more info, call 662-627-6820.
Music News and Notes: The Musicians' Advisory Council of the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission has its next meeting Monday, July 19th, at the boardroom of Emerge Memphis, at 516 Tennessee Street downtown. The meeting runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and all interested parties are encouraged to attend The Memphis Songwriters Association is having an open-mic at Memphis Originals (3521 Walker, off the Highland strip). The event begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free Wendy Day's Rap Coalition hosts the next in its series of music-industry panels Thursday, August 5th, at the New Daisy Theatre. This panel is called "Networking for Artists: A How-To Primer." The panel begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free Those hoping FedExForum will boost the local concert scene have to like the early bookings. Tickets for Usher and Kanye West (responsible for, arguably, the year's best single and album, respectively, with "Yeah" and The College Dropout) go on sale Saturday, July 17th, through Ticketmaster. Tickets are already on sale, and still available, for vocal-jazz crooner Norah Jones on Tuesday, November 9th. The concert site Pollstar has been listing modern-rockers Incubus at the new venue for months, though the band's September 24th performance has yet to show up on Ticketmaster's listings. Assuming that show happens, that's nice variety at the Forum so far But the most compelling upcoming concert options might be elsewhere. Folk singer extraordinaire Iris Dement is scheduled to perform at the Hi-Tone Café (her packed show there several years ago was one of the best concerts I've ever seen) on Saturday, July 24th, and Sunday, July 25th. You can call the club (278-TONE) for more information. Also, the terrific tandem of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson will perform at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tennessee, Friday, August 20th, as part of a national tour of minor-league baseball stadiums Plenty of significant local releases on tap for the coming months: Saliva's Survival of the Sickest, on Island Records, is scheduled for release August 17th. The following week, North Memphis rapper Yo Gotti makes his TVT debut with an as-yet-untitled disc. Coming in September is a four-disc Al Green box set. Also look out for great new local discs from Snowglobe, The Lost Sounds, and The Tim Terry Experience. n