Misti Rae Holton performs this Saturday, March 29th, at Otherlands as part of an evolving bill. Holton (nee Warren) has performed in Memphis for years with an array of top-shelf musicians. One of Memphis' creative wonders, she is as comfortable working the plastic arts as she is in music. Given the demands placed on the caliber of musician that makes up her band, she has expanded into design to compliment her music.
"This is going to be a four-piece," Holton said. "I play guitar and ukulele. Jimmy Arnold is my lead guitar player. C.J. Manning plays upright bass. Jesse Dakota plays drums. I'm going to holler at a horn player. All of them are busy. It's hard to book with any of the guys in my band. Booking rehearsals is unbelievably hard. And recording time?"
Holton has adapted. Her experience with Rae Ray, a collaboration with Davy Ray Bennett, covered an eclectic mix of tunes that keeps her looking to new songs and set ups.
"It varies. I'll take gigs, anything from a solo gig, up to a seven-piece with horns and stuff. I do a lot of private events and public stuff, where we're throwing parties. We'll do some of my more up-tempo original songs, but it's mostly fun jazz songs and stuff from the '50s. It's hard to explain what I do. You really have to listen. You can't sum it up in one sentence."
She wants to record but has found her art and design to be a more manageable way to connect to her audience. See her work at facebook.com/mistiraeband.
"I've got to have something to leave my fans with. I still don't have any recording that I'm proud of. But it's really frustrating to do these gigs where the songs are just evaporating into space. If you weren't there, you don't even get to hear my music. I've always done visual art. I did visual art before I picked up a guitar."
Misti Rae Holton and others, at Otherlands. Saturday, March 29th, from 8-11 p.m.