You've heard of "new Dylans," right? Well, back in post-Born in the USA 1986, John Eddie was a "new Springsteen." A New Jersey-based bar rocker who was frequently joined onstage by the Boss himself, Eddie was a well-hyped signee to Columbia Records, his only quasi-successful eponymous debut apparently consigning him to the state of next big thing that wasn't. But, nearly 15 years after his last record, Eddie is on the comeback trail with a fine new album on roots label Lost Highway, appropriately titled Who the Hell is John Eddie?
Recorded locally at Ardent Studios with Jim Dickinson at the helm and a passel of local luminaries sitting in, the record finds Eddie dropping the Springsteen bent and settling for "Rodney Crowell with a broader sense of humor," and it works. Rowdy rockers with titles such as "Low Life" and "Shithole Bar" convey the mood. But the highlight is "Forty," which contains the following inspirational verse: "I guess I'm fucking 40/That's what my mamma said/But Bruce Springsteen's fucking 53/And the Stones are almost dead."
Eddie will perform locally this week on Friday, August 15th, on The Peabody rooftop as part of 107.5-FM The Pig's "World Class Concert Series." Showtime is 8:30 p.m., and the only way to get tickets is to register online at RadioPig.com.
Elsewhere, there are a couple of promising shows at the Young Avenue Deli this week: On Thursday, August 14th, Chicago's We Ragazzi, whose late-2002 release The Ache is one of the most durable and interesting indie-rock records I've heard this year, will join The Mercury Program and Color Cast. Then, on Saturday, August 16th, the Deli will host a benefit show for their Cooper-Young neighbor, the Memphis Digital Arts Cooperative, whose second annual film festival is scheduled for early September. The MeDiA Co-op has reportedly lost some funding sources for the festival in the aftermath of last month's windstorm damage, and they could use the support. The Gabe & Amy Show, Dan Montgomery, and Lucero frontman Ben Nichols are scheduled to perform.
-- Chris Herrington
Does anybody really need a reminder as to why they should be calling Ticketmaster and ordering up their tickets to see Mavis Staples at The Orpheum on Monday, August 18th, and Tuesday, August 19th? Because in the '60s, legendary Stax artists the Staple Singers fused glorious sacred music with groovy secular music to create one of the most distinctive sounds in the history of modern pop. With hits like "Respect Yourself," "We'll Get Over," and the "sha-na-boom-boom" song, "Heavy Makes You Happy," the Staple Singers' repertoire became the soundtrack for social protest in the '60s and '70s. At the center of it all was Mavis Staples, whose unmistakable voice can melt butter and peel the paint off the walls. Mavis' first solo record was produced by the Artist once again known as Prince, and she's recently cut the rarest of duets with none other than Bob Dylan. Staples hits Memphis on tour with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, which, while weird, is a good thing. Oh sure, Petty has cranked out his share of cheese in the past 10 years, but "Refugee" still rocks and you know you haven't been able to get "Don't Come Around Here No More" out of your head since you saw that creepy video in the '80s.
Now I know it's not really prom season, but still if you're a fella you might want to consider busting out your powder-blue tuxedo with the ruffled shirt and the flared pants. Ladies, I recommend a formal gown of burgundy with a big bow right across the bum. And a tiara. Gotta have a tiara. If you can afford to rent a limo do it, otherwise hire somebody to drive your old Pinto around for you so you and your date can sit over the gas tank and neck. Because as far as the Memphis rock-and-roll scene is concerned, Saturday, August 16th, is prom night and the Hi-Tone Café is the high-school gym, all done up in streamers and balloons. This special prom-night event is brought to you in part by some of the good people in Automusik (thanks, Rock Unit #2!) and features music by electro-rockers The Pelicans, one of the more interesting bands to crop up on the scene in the last couple of years. Also appearing: The Mutant Space Bats of Doom. Now, we don't know much about the Space Bats, who are new on the scene, but with a name like that they've got to be more fun than a bowl of spiked sherbet punch. -- Chris Davis