Saturday, December 5, 2009

Memphis 59 CD Release Party

Before last month we had heard of the local rock band Memphis 59, but never took the opportunity to see a live show. However, over the last 40 days we've witnessed the band 4 times, including their CD Release party at Jammin' Java. The band consists of Scott Kurt, Chris Zogby, and Richard Lewis, plus an additonal guest guitarist. For "Ragged But Right", that position was fulfilled by producer John Jennings and Jon Manitta. For the CD Release party - Nate Taylor occupied that role. And for this evening the band invited Laura Tsagarris and Fools & Horses to start and end the evening. Unfortunately I spent most of the time that Tsagarris perform talking with members of all the bands - including some that played in the early show. Also being local, we will make sure we attend one of her shows in the future.

I've mentioned several times, what attracts me to Memphis 59 and these attributes were on display again this evening; they are a traditional rock band - no power pop - no metal - just rock and roll and maybe a little alt-county to get that 50's flavor. Except for one Petty cover, they played the entire CD starting with "Gone" and "Me, Myself, and Eyes". I think my favorite were the slower tunes "Knock Me Out" or "Way With Words". And "Killing Time" and "Black and White TV" are other good ones. Playing with two extra guitarists, they produced a bigger sound than previous outings - and they were tight. Scott Kurt is a charismatic front man and I think being a southpaw adds a little more character to his performance. All in all - this is one band we recommend seeing and I've already listened to the CD a few times. Its good.

I was pretty beat by the time Fools & Horses so I only stuck around for a few songs. What was readily apparent is that this is one polished band. They easily transitioned between songs and exuded a great sense of professionalism and musical ability. Matt and Tim Hutchison must have a nice pedigree. And Steve Herrera can play the guitar. They had a slight power pop sound that was a disincentive to see the rest of their show - but don't take my biased preferences. This band was the Grand Prize Winner of Starbuck's National CD Contest and Music Monthly's Reader's Poll two years straight as "Best Modern Rock Band".

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