Though best known now for penning five songs off Norah Jones' Come Away with Me, including the smash, Grammy Song of the Year "Don't Know Why," Jesse Harris is no jazz cat as a performer. Instead, Harris and his band, The Ferdinandos, offer tuneful modern rock in the vein of the Wallflowers or John Mayer, though the best of his upcoming The Secret Sun (due May 20th on Blue Thumb Records) evokes '70s SoCal soft-rock: When Harris and Jones team up for the duet "What Makes You," the ghosts of Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are definitely in the air. Harris & Co. will perform Monday, May 12th, at Newby's.
A Boston guitar-drums blues-rock duo in the vein of the Black Keys or, ahem, the White Stripes, Mr. Airplane Man find their niche as an all-girl band but musically speaking more than hold their own against any of their subgenre competition (except for, ahem, the White Stripes). And these gals have beaucoup Memphis connections in the form of Jeffrey Evans, who introduced them to their label, Sympathy for the Record Industry, and the Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright, who did production work on the band's most recent record, last year's Moanin', as well as their next, due later this year. The Reigning Sound, fresh off their first overseas tour, will be joining Mr. Airplane Man Saturday, May 10th, at the Hi-Tone Café.
The latest installment of the great local music series Tha Movement checks into bigger digs this week when it comes to the New Daisy Theatre Saturday, May 10th. On the schedule for this month's set: neo-soul band Messiah Surrat, soul-rock band Raven, and DJ Nappy Wilson. Showtime is 9 p.m.
-- Chris Herrington
I suppose I need to begin with a small apology to Eric Oblivian. In last week's Music Issue, I credited Eric's former bandmate Greg (Cartwright) Oblivian for writing the song "Guitar Shop Asshole." As it turns out, that little ditty was Eric's tune. So, to make things right between me and the least visible of the three Oblivians (Jack and Greg still play out all the time) let me begin my recommendations by suggesting that you Webheads out there stop and pay a visit to his Web site for Goner Records at Goner-records.com. It's a great resource for fans of Memphis punk and garage music. Onward.
Now I have to admit I'm not a fan of The Gamble Brothers Band. Their funky jazz, blues, and rock fusion just isn't my cup of tea. But there can be no doubt that these guys are players -- they play great together, and we can probably expect good things to happen for them in the coming years. But, I wouldn't go out of my way to see them, unless, of course, they were playing in the coolest venue in the world. And they are. The Gamble Brothers Band will be joined by Porter-Batiste-Stoltz of New Orleans funk pioneers the Funky Meters, at the old Tennessee Brewery, a huge castle-like structure on Tennessee Street, for a Memphis Arts Council fund-raiser called Artrageous. I'll never forget seeing Memphis legends Mudboy & the Neutrons (with Jim Dickinson, Sid Selvidge, and Lee Baker) play a show there back in the mid-'90s. The show was so rocking and the event so cool that it even lured one of the neighbors (some woman named Cybill Shepherd) from her home. It felt like the coolest event in the world. And I can promise that a double bill with the Gamble Brothers and a few Funky Meters in that amazing space will be every bit as memorable. Check it out on Friday, May 9th. --Chris Davis