98.1 The Max Presents
Lucero Family Block Party-Outside Minglewood Hall
St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Cory Branan, Mark Edgar Stuart, Young Valley
Sat, April 23, 2016
Doors: 2:00 pm / Show: 3:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm)
This event is all ages
LUCERO FAMILY BLOCK PARTY returns to the band’s hometown in Memphis, TN on April 23rd at the Minglewood Hall Outdoors! The historic Memphis music venue will be blocking off S Willett Street and surrounding areas to bring you this year’s festival. Lucero and friends are joining forces with a variety of local food, beverage, craft, and merchandise vendors to help celebrate MEMPHIS! The Picnic will open doors at 2pm with music performances starting at 3pm. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to WEVL. Kids under 10 get to party for free if accompanied by an adult.
3-3:40 - Young Valley
4-4:40 - Mark Edgar Stuart
5-5:40 - Cory Branan
6-7:30 - St Paul & The Broken Bones
8-10 - Lucero
No Chairs, Blankets are cool, Backpacks will be searched, no coolers, no re-entry. Outside bars are CASH ONLY, 1884 Lounge will be open for Liquor and to start a tabhttps://www.minglewoodhall.com/event/1037961/
The trick there was that we couldn’t really play our instruments! I had never played guitar before and Ben Nichols (lead singer, guitar) had only played bass in other bands. Finding Roy Berry (drummer) and John C. Stubblefield (bassist) solidified the line up and being hidden away in Memphis allowed us to woodshed, experiment with different sounds and create one that was ours alone.
Eventually we got out of town, and playing 250 shows year not only made us tight as a band but as a family as well. We are still one of the few bands out there with the original line up from almost the beginning, and it shows.
Picking up Rick Steff on keys allowed us to expand the sound and grow musically. Being able to play whatever we could think up in our heads and having the music we loved and grew up on motivate and inspire us to try new things and take chances. We realized that if you added some horns to Ben’s lyrics that it took it to the next step, from sad bastard country rock to soul and R&B and we realized we were a Memphis band and came by it honest. We have always brought Memphis with us wherever we went and this just proved it.
We came out screaming on 1372 Overton Park. Big sound, bigger horns – like a kid with a new toy we put them on everything and loved it! This record was a marked departure from the previous sound and announcement of way things we’re gonna be now!
While 1372 Overton Park was written and the horns added after the fact, Women & Work was written with the horns in mind so it was a little less gung ho and was starting to settle in nicely. Women & Work is one of the best modern Southern rock records in my opinion and the song “On My Way Downtown” has almost surpassed “Tears Don’t Matter Much” as the crowd favorite… almost!
This brings us to the new record. All A Man Should Do contains some of the most resonant lyrics Ben Nichols has ever written, lyrics that read like chapters from his life on the duality of relationships, getting older, finding where you want to be in this world, and musically we are broadening our sound. Working with producer Ted Hutt for a third time at the famous Ardent Studios, we felt comfortable enough to take some chances with a palette of new tones that sound understated yet powerful, bringing life to the stories behind the lyrics without overshadowing them.
It’s also the first time we’ve ever put a cover song on a record, with a full band version of big star’s “I Fell in Love with a Girl”, and having Jody from Big Star sing back-up vocals makes it that more special and amazing. This is a Memphis record in the greatest sense and a perfect finish to the three-part love letter to a city that brought us up and made us what we are today.
“I was 15 years old in 1989. This record sounds like the record I wanted to make when I was 15. It just took 25 years of mistakes to get it done.” – Ben Nichols
“Having Big Star actually sing on your cover of a Big Star song that you’re recording at Ardent Studios – it doesn’t get much more exciting than that.” – Ben Nichols
these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver
on those promises.
Half The City is the compelling full-length Single Lock/Thirty Tigers debut of the
Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet, who have already created a maelstrom of interest
with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben
Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of
Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region's classic soul roots while
extending the form with electrifying potency.
Front man Paul Janeway's handle "St. Paul" is a wry allusion to the vocalist's grounding
in the church. Like many a legendary soul singer, Janeway, a native of the small town of
Chelsea, Alabama, was raised on the gospel side, in a non-denominational, Pentecostalleaning
local church. Virtually no non-religious music could be heard in his devout
household. Janeway says, "The only secular music that I heard at all was a '70s group
called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it. The rest of it was all gospel
music. When I was about 10 years old, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life
until I was about 18 years old was to be a preacher."
He adds, "My pastor was the reason that I learned to play guitar. They would let me play
guitar and sing in church. What was weird was that he would never let me sing lead – I'd
sing background vocals. I always thought, 'Well, maybe I'm just a good background
vocalist.' So I never thought I could really, really sing, at all. I never thought it would be a
Though his time in the church exposed Janeway to key influences in gospel music – the
Mighty Clouds of Joy, Alex Bradford, Clay Evans – he began moving away from his
youthful path in his late teens. He began attending open mic nights in Birmingham's
clubs and diversified his listening, excited by some decidedly left-of-center talents. "Tom
Waits and Nick Cave were the really big attractions," he says. "They have that passion.
They've built this aura. They're showmen to the teeth. And that's what got me – it's like
going to church, in a weird way. At about the same time, I began listening to the great
soul singers like Otis Redding, James Carr, and O.V. Wright. I was trying to find
something that made my earbuds tingle."
Seeking his musical comfort zone, Janeway had an incongruous stint in a band that
played Led Zeppelin covers, but, he confesses today, "That's not what I do." However,
his early work in the rock vein brought him together with bassist Jesse Phillips. The pair
became close friends and were soon writing together; "Sugar Dyed," "Broken Bones and
Pocket Change," and "That Glow," all heard on Half The City, were among the first fruits
of their collaboration.
The other members of the Broken Bones are all drawn from Alabama's deep talent pool.
Guitarist Browan Lollar, from the Muscle Shoals area about 100 miles north of
Birmingham, previously played with Jason Isbell's 400 Unit. "We never thought Browan
would ever be interested in this band – he was too big-time for us," says Janeway.
"Jesse had met him while he was on tour with another band out of Birmingham. He
asked Browan to come to the studio, and he showed up. I think we caught him at the
right time. He wasn't busy, and he said, 'Man, I really want to be a part of this.'"
Jasper, Alabama, native Andrew Lee signed on via his acquaintance with Phillips. "We
just picked him up on the way to the studio," Janeway recalls. "Jesse said, 'I know this
guy, why don't I just call him.' And 30 minutes later, he's sitting there playing drums on
'Sugar Dyed.' Andrew's just a hell of a drummer." Brass players Allen Branstetter and
Ben Griner are both graduates of the music program at Birmingham's Samford
University. Janeway says his vision of the band always called for a two-man horn
section, a la the celebrated Memphis Horns, and he approached Griner, although the
latter's main instrument was tuba. "I told Ben, 'Man, I've got to have horns. Do you think
you can play trombone?' He said, 'I'll give it a shot.' And he brought Allen with him."
All six members share writing credit on 10 of the songs on Half The City, with Janeway
contributing lyrics. "We firmly believe in a shared, communal writing process," the singer
says. "These guys are extremely talented. The drummer wrote horn parts. Browan threw
something in. It's very collective. We just get in a room. Sometimes we'll have the scales
for a song, or sometimes we'll have this little riff. That's how we do it."
In Tanner — who logged time at Muscle Shoals' aptly named FAME Studios, where
scores of memorable soul records were cut — St. Paul and the Broken Bones found a
like-minded producer and label boss. Half The City is among the first releases on Single
Lock Records, the imprint co-founded by Tanner, John Paul White of the Civil Wars, and
"When we started getting cranked up and nobody really knew who the hell we were, we
got Ben to mix our original four-song EP," says Janeway. "We just hit it off. He said,
'Hey, guys, I'm in the process of starting this label. Obviously you can say no, but we'd
love for you to be a part of it.' And we said, 'Hell, yeah.'"
Reaching back nearly 50 years to methods employed the great epoch of deep Southern
soul, Tanner and the group eschewed studio trickery for an in-the-moment approach
during sessions at the Nutthouse in Muscle Shoals, AL. Fittingly, the album was mixed at
FAME. Janeway explains, "We said, 'We're doing this as old-school as we can.' We did
it to tape. We did it live. What you hear is taken from about three takes, and we took the
best take. I love it. It's raw. You hear all the scrapes." Special guests include Al Gamble
on piano, organ and wurlitzer, Daniel Stoddard on pedal steel, Jamie Harper on baritone
sax and Tanner on piano, organ and background vocals.
Half The City – vital, direct, emotionally affecting – presents the same engaged, highvoltage,
in-the-pocket sound that St. Paul & The Broken Bones produce at their live
dates, where Janeway's extroverted performing style enraptures his audiences.
"I'm going to be dancing, getting in the aisles, climbing on tables," he says. "That's just
the way we do it. It really takes me back to church. There's not a lot of difference. When
I get on stage, it's, 'All right, it's time to pour it on.'"
Cory Branan is a natural-born storyteller, his seemingly conversational, painstakingly crafted anecdotes benefitting from a hard-eyed stare at hydra-headed life experiences. Not unlike his musical and literary pedestal sitters, from John Prine and Leonard Cohen to Raymond Carver and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cory's gift for detail and phrase-turning is a thing of wonder.
Cory has a well-documented history with groups like former label mates Lucero, musicians of his ilk who trend toward the rawer end of roots music (The Loved Ones' Dave Hause, Chuck Ragan, The Hold Steady, The Gaslight Anthem, Two Cow Garage, Drag the River's Jon Snodgrass), and rock stars like Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), who has covered Cory's gorgeous "Tall Green Grass" and been a reoccurring tour mate.
Never one to shy away from an itinerary of non-stop cross-country shows, Cory possesses a unique performance style that enables him to gravelly sing a coy double entendre in one ear of the audience, while yelling the most beautiful love song into the other.
In 2011, Mark Edgar Stuart had a bad year. A few months after being diagnosed with cancer, a lifelong friend and hero--his father Lou--passed. From that heartache came a new, unexpected outlet: the decorated sideman (band-mate of Alvin Youngblood Hart, John Paul Keith, Jack Oblivian, and more) began writing his own songs. The bassist became a singer-songwriter, and Mark Edgar Stuart began to tell his own story.
Fortunately for us, he’s a natural-born storyteller.
Blues For Lou--Stuart’s debut album--is a collection of songs written in the wake of his father’s passing. Fittingly, Stuart’s songwriting pays tribute to the people, places, and music he and his father shared. Produced by Jeff Powell (Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Allman Brothers), the album tells a sad story happily. Sunny acoustic guitars, breezily melodies, and restrained performances backdrop songs about loss. Powell’s production and Stuart’s pitch-perfect vocals put a brave face on a hard tale.
From the opening track, the album disarms and astonishes with its vividly-realized stories and characters, small towns and living rooms, past loves and troubles ahead. “Remote Control” extends a single metaphor to tell a heart-breaking story of loss. “Almost Mine” casts a warm, generous light on unrequited love. “Arkansas Is Nice” uses a castoff line of dialog to describe everything a hometown is and isn’t. From the plain-spoken poetry of “Things Ain’t Fine” to the gorgeous epitaph “Blues For Lou,” Stuart’s stories are sweet but never saccharine, even-keeled but deeply affecting. His songs are at once sad, nostalgic, knowing, funny, even cheerful--equal parts Roger Miller and Eudora Welty. And Stuart sings them with the confidence of someone who knows that the story is enough.
Blues For Lou is both a tribute to Mark Edgar Stuart’s late father and an homage to the style of music they shared. It’s lovable and literary, smart yet plain-spoken, heartening, funny, and always memorable. It sounds new and familiar, fresh yet timeless. It sounds like your favorite stories, retold by your closest friend.
Lean in, listen close, and smile
--Written by Chris Milam
1555 Madison Ave.
Memphis, TN, 38104