Music » Music Features

Saturday, May 5th Band Listings



Companyia Electrica Dharma

Cellular South Stage

2:20 p.m.

Founded in Catalonia, Spain, more than 30 years ago, Companyia Elèctrica Dharma is one of the most popular traditional groups in Europe. Brothers Esteve, Joan, and Josep Fortuny have parlayed regional Mediterranean and Catalan styles into a formidable Iberian rock group that includes a standard rhythm section, electric guitar, and synthesizers, plus a soprano sax that sounds like the Catalan tenora. With more than 17 CDs in their back catalog, C.E.D. have yet to break into the American market, although the group does receive airplay on eclectic, independent radio stations like New York's WFMU.

Eddie Floyd

Cellular South Stage

4:05 p.m.

With just three words — "Knock on Wood" — Alabama-born, Detroit-raised soul singer Eddie Floyd became a million-selling artist for Memphis' Stax Records. A former staff songwriter who penned tunes for Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, Floyd quickly blossomed into a celebrity in his own right and became one of the most recognizable architects of Stax's Southern soul sound. On his adopted home turf, Floyd is sure to shine, serving up a still-scorching take on "Knock on Wood" alongside other hits such as "Big Bird," "Love Is a Doggone Good Thing," and "I've Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)."

Old Crow Medicine Show

Cellular South Stage

5:45 p.m.

Formed in upstate New York, the members of this old-timey music group honed their talent as buskers on the cold streets of Canada before relocating to Nashville to try their luck within the country-music scene. Unearthing a cache of pre-war blues and folk tunes, which they wove into their original repertoire, Old Crow Medicine Show took the industry town by storm: The CMT channel named the band's eponymous debut one of the top-10 bluegrass albums of 2004, while Garrison Keillor tapped fiddler Ketch Secor and the rest of the group to appear as regular guests on A Prairie Home Companion. Loved by the alternative set as well as more conservative moms and dads, they're sure to please the crowds at the Beale Street Music Fest.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd


Cellular South Stage

7:30 p.m.

It's nearly impossible to believe that blues prodigy Kenny Wayne Shepherd will be celebrating his 30th birthday this summer. It seems like just yesterday when he exploded on the scene with his debut album, Ledbetter Heights, cut when he was 13. Grammy nominations, effusive accolades, and opportunities to play with heroes such as Robert Cray and the late Albert King soon followed, as Shepherd used his talent to propel the blues genre back onto the pop radar. No longer the precocious, towheaded imp who astonished blues fans with his adeptness on the electric guitar, Shepherd has matured into a polished and passionate player.

The Bar-Kays

Cellular South Stage

9:15 p.m.

Formed at Memphis' Porter Jr. High School, the Bar-Kays grew up to be one of the hottest groups to record at Stax Records, eclipsing the MGs with an instrumental hit of their own, the '67 Volt classic "Soul Finger," and becoming Otis Redding's preferred backing group. Unfortunately, that same year, four members of the Bar-Kays were killed in the plane crash that also took Redding's life — yet surviving musicians James Alexander and Ben Cauley rallied to take the group to new heights. As famous for their flashy stage presence as for their "Shake Your Rump to the Funk" performances, the Bar-Kays are sure to pull out all the stops at this year's Beale Street Music Fest.

Steely Dan


Cellular South Stage

10:50 p.m.

Steely Dan is one of the many unexpected treats at this year's Beale Street Music Fest. Formed by songwriters Donald Fagen and Walter Becker in 1972, the group's blend of modern pop, cool jazz, and hot R&B quickly became an FM-radio staple. Albums such as 1974's Pretzel Logic, 1977's Aja, and 1980's Gaucho solidified Steely Dan's commercial and critical success even as Fagen and Becker announced plans to disband the group. In the early '90s, they reunited, launching their first tour in two decades. Steely Dan's current Heavy Rollers Tour kicks off with this Memphis performance.

One Less Reason


Budweiser Stage

2:20 p.m.

They may not currently have the cachet of Creed or 3 Doors Down, but Jackson, Tennessee-based alternative rockers One Less Reason are on their way to the top. Eschewing a development deal with Universal Records, the group has two self-released efforts (EveryDayLife and Getting Back Your Self Esteem, which are available through MySpace) under its belt, thousands of fans, and a bright future. This Saturday afternoon, frontman Cris Brown, bassist Jerome Hubble, and drummer Kevin Scott will be performing songs such as "If You Want Me" and "Sadly Smiling Through" before embarking on a monthlong tour to New York and the Midwest.

Hawthorne Heights

Budweiser Stage

4 p.m.

Despite the well-publicized problems with their former label, Victory Records, Ohio-based emo-core group Hawthorne Heights refuse to be derailed. Known for pop-punk anthems such as "Ohio Is for Lovers" and "Saying Sorry," the band, which features vocalist J.T. Woodruff and guitarists Casey Calvert and Micah Carli, has garnered attention from MTV since its debut in 2001. Nevertheless, Hawthorne Heights has managed to keep their success in perspective, penning the self-deprecating tune "We Are So Last Year." More versatile than many of their screamo counterparts, the band easily shifts gears from the full-on punk number "This Is Who We Are" to the tender, emotive "Decembers," before bouncing back to full volume with "Pens and Needles."

Jack's Mannequin

Budweiser Stage

5:40 p.m.

Initially begun as a side project for Andrew McMahon, singer/keyboardist for California-based emo group Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin quickly eclipsed its predecessor. A debut album, Everything in Transit, was released to critical acclaim in 2005, although McMahon was forced to cancel touring plans after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Following a bone-marrow transplant, McMahon went on the road as an opener for O.A.R. as his first single, "The Mixed Tape," stormed its way up the MTV charts. Since then, Jack's Mannequin has recorded singles such as "Lonely for Her" and "The Lights and Buzz," available as exclusive iTunes downloads.

Taking Back Sunday

Budweiser Stage

7:25 p.m.

This Long Island quintet's reputation on the national front grew when they were tapped to open for Blink-182 in 2002. That same year, the single "A Decade Under the Influence," off their second album, Where You Want To Be, became a smash hit. Taking Back Sunday had transformed itself into a worthy headlining act. Last year, the group vaulted from punk indie label Victory Records to Warner Bros. in time for the release of its third album, Louder Now. With recent hit songs such as "What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?" and "Liar (It Takes One To Know One)," Taking Back Sunday has a firm hold on today's ever-popular emo-core sound.


Budweiser Stage

9:05 p.m.

Leave it to this Australian power trio to bring '60s pyschedelic metal back into the spotlight. Last year, Wolfmother catapulted from their local Sydney scene to the majors with the release of their eponymous debut, which quickly yielded hits such as "White Unicorn," "Where Eagles Have Been," and "Dimension." Another single, "Love Train," was featured in an iPod commercial, bringing instant attention to Wolfmother. Drawing equally on Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Rush, and Jethro Tull, frontman Andrew Stockdale, drummer Myles Heskett, and bassist/organist Chris Ross are sure to pull in a packed crowd of classic-rock enthusiasts.



Budweiser Stage

10:50 p.m.

When Boston-based heavy-metal drummer/devout Wiccan Sully Erna decided to put aside his sticks to become a hard-rock frontman, Godsmack was born. The group's eponymous debut, released in 1998, put Godsmack on the map, with hits such as "Keep Away" and "Whatever" helping to sell more than three million copies. Perennial favorites on the Ozzfest tour, Godsmack received a Grammy nod for their next album, Awake, which featured the smash hit single "I Stand Alone." Live, expect a head-banging, testosterone-laden show.

The Duhks

AutoZone Stage

2:15 p.m.

Just call 'em the Ducks. Despite the spelling, this Canada-based, Celtic-influenced folk and gospel quintet pronounces its name the same way. Hardly a household name in the States, the Duhks are big Juno Award winners in their native country, while the single "Heaven's My Home," off their third album, Migrations, was nominated for a 2007 Grammy. Their sound, which deviates from a purely bluegrass foundation to add infusions of Latino and soul music to the mix, resonates with fans of their Sugar Hill label mates, Nickel Creek. Be sure to check 'em out.

Keller Williams

AutoZone Stage

3:45 p.m.

Distill the meandering musical spirit behind the Grateful Dead into a single man, and you'll have Keller Williams. The guitarist ably channels bluegrass skills and electronica techniques into a one-man show. Williams tends to operate below the radar of the general public, although his music — roots-rock, reggae, folk, and funk, often overlaid with hilarious lyrics — is user-friendly. On his latest release, Dream, Williams is joined by a who's who of the jam-band circuit, including Bob Weir, Bela Fleck, and the String Cheese Incident. Live, anything can happen.

The John Butler Trio

AutoZone Stage

5:30 p.m.

From an opening act for the Dave Matthews Band to a platinum-selling headliner, Australian jam band the John Butler Trio mine American roots music and rollicking, bluesy pop. The group's third studio album, Grand National, runs the gamut of contemporary pop: hip-hop, reggae, and full-on rock. Thankfully, Butler and his accompanists, bassist Shannon Birchall and percussionist Michael Barker, know how to drop into the groove without too many extended jams, delivering dance-floor-worthy party songs such as "Funky Tonight," then switching gears for the sociopolitical "Fire in the Sky."

Taj Mahal

AutoZone Stage

7:15 p.m.

Since the mid-1960s, New York-born bluesman Taj Mahal has fused traditional acoustic blues with Caribbean and African influences, creating a trademark style that has sustained him ever since. Mahal married Hawaiian rhythms with a laid-back Mississippi blues feeling on his last studio album, 2003's Hanapepe Dream. Live, expect to hear more of his spicy musical gumbo, which touches on reggae, rock, raga, and R&B.

Ohio Players

AutoZone Stage

8:55 p.m.

The Beale Street Music Fest simply isn't a party without at least one '70s funk band. This year, the Ohio Players take the honors, serving up their bass-heavy R&B singles to what will surely be a packed crowd. Live, expect a crackerjack horn section, plenty of onstage antics, and an undeniably sexual beat as the Players unveil hit song after hit song, including "Fire," "Jive Turkey," "Sweet Sticky Thing," and their show-stopper, "Love Rollercoaster."

George Thorogood


AutoZone Stage

10:35 p.m.

When blues revivalist George Thorogood exploded on the East Coast bar scene in the mid-1970s, his direct approach to roots-rock shook the complacent music industry. Employing scorching Bo Diddley- and Elmore James-inspired riffs against a stripped-down backdrop of bass, drums, and rhythm guitar provided by his group, the Destroyers, Thorogood's reputation swelled from cult status to arena opener for the Rolling Stones. A gold record and worldwide success followed, but Thorogood's shining moment might have been the creative period he spent at Rounder Records in the late '70s. His setlist for the Beale Street Music Fest is sure to include his rousing renditions of John Lee Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?"

Daddy Mack Blues Band

TN Lottery Blues Tent

2 p.m.

By day, Daddy Mack Orr runs a radiator shop, but, by night, he's one of Memphis' most talented blues guitarists. The epitome of a modern working bluesman, he's an unsung hero of the local scene. Accompanied by a rhythm section that includes brothers James and Harold Bonner, Orr has cut three albums for the local Inside Sounds label. His covers of Donny Hathaway's underrated anthem "The Ghetto" and the chitlin-circuit standard "Shade Tree Mechanic" will have you tapping your feet, but Orr really shines on his biographical numbers, such as the menacing "Razor Blade," "Get Your Act Together," and "Savin' My Love."

David Honeyboy Edwards

TN Lottery Blues Tent

3:25 p.m.

The last of the original Mississippi bluesmen, David Honeyboy Edwards is still going strong at 91. Born in the tiny Delta town of Shaw, he played with the legendary Robert Johnson, and he made his recording debut some 65 years ago. After relocating to Chicago, Edwards recorded for a number of local labels, laying down an inexhaustible number of songs, including careful studies of Charley Patton's "Pony Blues" and Memphis Minnie's "Bumble Bee." If you care anything about blues music, you won't miss his performance at the Beale Street Music Fest.

Alvin Youngblood Hart


TN Lottery Blues Tent

4:45 p.m.

Alvin Youngblood Hart is either a talented bluesman or a stalwart rock-and-roller. He appeared a decade ago, seemingly from nowhere, surprising audiences with his 1996 Okeh debut Big Mama's Door, a selection of pre-war blues songs picked on an acoustic guitar, then switching gears for Territory, a blues-meets-rock (by way of western swing) album released two years later. His rock effort, Start With the Soul, shocked blues purists while opening the door to a phalanx of rock fans. Then Hart switched labels and genres yet again, returning to his acoustic roots for the Grammy-nominated Down in the Alley and kicking out the jams for Motivational Speaker. While it's impossible to guess what the Memphis resident has planned for his appearance at the Beale Street Music Fest, Hart's sure to impress audience members with either style.

Ryan Shaw

TN Lottery Blues Tent

6:20 p.m.

Remember when Norah Jones was a nobody? Someday, you'll say the same of Georgia-born soul singer Ryan Shaw. Just 26 years old, Shaw channels plenty of old-school R&B on his debut album, the aptly titled This Is Ryan Shaw, which was released just last month. Appropriately, his debut single is called "Nobody," while another cut, "We Got Love," has received primetime airplay via the TV series Brothers and Sisters. Shaw breathes new life into the Southern soul genre with songs like "Do the 45" and "I Found a Love."

Kelley Hunt


TN Lottery Blues Tent

7:55 p.m.

Kansas blueswoman Kelley Hunt's route to the national scene hasn't been the most direct: Hunt honed her craft at regional events before she took a trip to Nashville to pitch a few songs to Trisha Yearwood. Once she arrived in Music City, Hunt hooked up with producer Garth Fundis, who introduced her to songwriter Gary Nicholson. The duo helped Hunt pen a number of tunes, including "It Ain't Over When It's Over," for the astonishing New Shade of Blue, released in 2004. Expect to learn the lyrics to plenty of her original tunes when she belts them out at the Beale Street Music Fest, along with her gospel send-up of Jesse Winchester's "That's What Makes You Strong" and her slow-burning take on Jim Lauderdale's alt-country ballad "Why Do I Love You?"

Walter Trout & the Radicals

TN Lottery Blues Tent

9:25 p.m.

Blues-rock guitarist Walter Trout has an impressive pedigree: He backed John Lee Hooker, Percy Mayfield, and Joe Tex before he was tapped to replace Canned Heat guitarist Bob Hite. After honing his craft as a sideman for the better part of a decade, Trout put his talent to good use on his first solo album, Life in the Jungle, released in 1990. Critically acclaimed efforts, including 1997's Positively Beale Street, and his latest, 2006's Full Circle, followed, as Trout's ax-shredding style intensified. Backed by his hand-picked group, the Radicals, he dazzles fans with his electric — and eclectic — approach to the blues.

Bobby "Blue" Bland

TN Lottery Blues Tent

11:10 p.m.

Rosemark, Tennessee, native Bobby "Blue" Bland got his start at the Texas-based Duke Records in the 1950s, where he served up a stack of hit records. But the sandpapery vocalist, who moved to Memphis 60 years ago, will be forever associated with Beale Street. As a teenager, he lived just a block south of Beale, where he'd drop change into the jukebox and study the competition. Other blues performers employed Bland as a valet, and, in his off time, he competed in talent contests. Within a decade, all that hard work paid off: Bland transformed himself into a king of the Memphis blues, with a singing style that rivaled his former employers. Today, he's one of the last men of that era still performing, enjoying yet another round of success at Malaco Records.

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