Minglewood Hall presents
Lucero Family Block Party 2019!
Blackberry Smoke, Will Hoge, Austin Lucas, Ben Abney and the Hurts, The Mighty Souls Brass Band
Sat, April 13, 2019
Doors: 2:00 pm / Show: 3:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm)
This event is all ages
$1 from each ticket purchase is going to Stax Music Academy: https://staxmusicacademy.org/
RAIN OR SHINE
SAT April 13 - Block Party
Kids 10 & under get in free with an adult
SPONSORS: Wiseacre, Central BBQ, Old Dominick, 98.1 The Max
3:30-4:00 – Ben Abney & The Hurts
4:20-5:00 – Austin Lucas
5:00-5:10 - Mighty Souls Brass Band
5:30-6:15 - Will Hoge
6:45- 7:45 - BlackBerry Smoke
8:00-8:10 - Mighty Souls Brass Band
8:15-10:15 - Lucero
Chairs, umbrellas, Blankets are cool, Backpacks will be searched, no coolers, no re-entry. Outside bars are CASH ONLY SO PREPARE PROPERLY, only 1 ATM inside, 1884 Lounge, B-SIDE & Minglewood Hall will be open for Liquor and to start a tabhttps://www.minglewoodhall.com/event/1806256/
Among the Ghosts
Lucero has long been admired in their hometown of Memphis, where they have hosted “The Lucero Family Block Party” every spring for a number of years. At the 2018 Block Party they celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band, with the city’s Mayor Jim Strickland officially declaring it “Lucero Day.”
The group found their name in a Spanish/English dictionary. “Lucero” is variously translated as “bright star” or “morning star.” None of them can speak Spanish.
It’s been two decades since original members Ben Nichols, Brian Venable, Roy Berry, and John C. Stubblefield (keyboardist Rick Steff joined in 2006) started playing shows in Memphis. The band’s first show was April 13, 1998 at a warehouse space across the street from what is now the National Civil Rights Museum, the infamous Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. Their first set was six songs played to about six people. On August 3, 2018, record release day for Among the Ghosts, the band will be co-headlining Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.
The band’s ninth studio album, Among the Ghosts, is their first for noted Nashville indie label Thirty Tigers. It was recorded and co-produced with Grammy-winning engineer/producer and Memphis native Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive by Truckers) at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Service, the studio built by the legendary producer after outgrowing his Memphis Recording Service/Sun Studio.
Recorded primarily live as a five-piece, Among the Ghosts eschews the Stax-inspired horns and Jerry Lee Lewis-style boogie piano featured on some of the band’s past recordings for a streamlined rock & roll sound that pays homage to their seminal influences as it seeks to push that legacy into the future. For a band who carried the torch of the alt-country movement back in the 90’s and helped pave the way for what is now called Americana, Lucero have re-discovered what inspired them in the first place. The sound is more their own and at the same time not exactly like anything they’ve done before. This is a band settling into their craft. The 10-song disc’s title is both a tribute to the spirits which roam the streets of their fabled city, as well as the hard road the determinedly independent band set out on 20 years ago. The band played around 200 shows per year for many of those 20 years.
With a nod to his younger brother Jeff Nichols, an acclaimed filmmaker whose movies include Loving, Mud, Take Shelter, Midnight Special, and Shotgun Stories; Nichols has written songs that are cinematic short stories, steeped in Southern gothic lore. There are nods to regional authors like Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner, as well as newer writers like Larry Brown (Big Bad Love, Fay), Ron Rash (The Cove, The World Made Straight), and William Gay (The Long Home).
As the first album he’s written since his marriage and the birth of his now two-year-old daughter Izzy, Nichols approached the task as a narrator rather than in first person. It’s a dark palette that includes tales of a haunting (“Among the Ghosts”), a drowning (“Bottom of the Sea), a reckoning with the devil
(“Everything has Changed”), a divorce (“Always Been You”), and a shoot-out (“Cover Me”). And that’s just Side A. Side B is a letter from a battlefield (“To My Dearest Wife”), a crime (“Long Way Back Home”), a straight-out rocker (“For the Lonely Ones”) and even a spooky spoken-word cameo from actor Michael Shannon, who has appeared in every one of Nichols’ brother’s films. The song’s title “Back to the Night” references a line from Nick Tosches’ Jerry Lee Lewis biography, Hellfire. In addition, there’s a song Nichols wrote for his brother’s movie Loving, which appeared in the film and on the soundtrack, re-recorded for Among the Ghosts with the whole band.
“You could also say there’s a rescue, a getaway, a survival story and a middle finger to Satan himself,” laughs Nichols. “It’s all in your perspective.”
Several songs juxtapose going off to battle with a rock & roll band’s endless touring, shifting time periods like the spirits which haunt the album, the happiness of domestic bliss undercut with fears of loss and the specter of mortality. Among the Ghosts simultaneously reprises the past and looks to the future, while being firmly anchored in the present.
Musically, the band highlights range from co-founding member Brian Venable’s Dire Straits-meets- War on Drugs guitar pyrotechnics in “Bottom of the Sea” and “Cover Me” to the Springsteen vibe of “For the Lonely Ones”, Rick Steff’s skeletal piano lines on “Always Been You”, John C’s bass lines in “Everything Has Changed” and “Long Way Back Home”, and drummer Roy Berry’s dynamic shifts from the powerful and brutal title track “Among the Ghosts” to the marching drive of “To My Dearest Wife” and the subtlety of “Loving”. Throughout, Nichols’ bourbon-soaked growl has become even more distinctive and commanding.
Among the Ghosts offers a timeless perspective on Lucero’s distinctive sound. The lyrics could’ve been written 200 years ago or yesterday. Representing a new South compared to the one that’s been mythologized, Lucero have formulated their own ideas and culture which, in some cases, contradicts what came before them (no Confederate flags), but also updates and reconsiders those traditions in a new light.
“I think we’ve tried to remake this place that we love and cherish in our own fashion. We are very proud of where we are from and we’ve spent the last 20 years trying to bring a bit of our version of home to the rest of the world... It may have taken 20 years, but everything has fallen in place right where it needs to be,” acknowledges Nichols. “There were some dark days in those middle years, but we’ve learned how to do this and survive. We still write heartbreak songs, but now, with a family at home, it’s a whole new kind of heartbreak.”
Among the Ghosts lays out that new territory with alacrity, as Lucero shines their Morning Star, burning just as brightly, if not more so, 20 years later. As one of the album’s song titles so aptly puts it, “Everything Has Changed”, but one thing hasn’t... Lucero’s music remains more vital than ever.
"Growing Up Around Here," the opening track off of his tenth studio album,
Small Town Dreams. "I'm kinda proud of growing up around here." It's been a
whole lot of miles, indeed: miles on the road, driving the bus himself from venue
to venue since the nineties; miles to and from Nashville writing rooms, where
he's spent countless hours penning songs – some for him, some for others;
miles exploring lands outside of his native Franklin, Tennessee, chasing the
spirits of his musical heroes. Roads meet, roads split, roads led to home. This is
the album that follows them all, every twist and turn in Hoge's American
journey – a journey that's positioned him as one of our keenest, most honest
modern storytellers, telling both his tale and ours.
"It's a reflection of where I am currently in my life," says Hoge of Small
Town Dreams, "but also where I grew up, and, ultimately, where I think I'm
going." From the streets of the town where he was raised, to the sidewalks of
cities a hundred times the size, we all have dreams; and these are the stories of
growing up, looking back and passing on those dreams, told as only Hoge can.
Nostalgia, in his hands, is truly magic.
After producing several albums on his own, including 2013's Never Give
In, Hoge partnered with Marshall Altman (Frankie Ballard, Eric Paslay, Matt
Nathanson) on Small Town Dreams, after the idea to work together popped into
his head during one of those late-night drives. Ballard's "Helluva Life" came on
the radio followed by Paslay's "Friday Night," and he was taken by how true to
the artist the production rang. "Neither of those sound like records I would
make, but they both sound so uniquely them," Hoge says. "So I called up
Marshall, at 2 a.m. – he was up in the studio that late. We started the process
right after that. He's part cheerleader, part conductor, part coach, part fan, all
at the same time."
The result is a collection of songs that paint a vivid snapshot of the
American experience – the struggles to overcome the confines of youth; the
perfect cycle of parents watching their children make the same beautiful
mistakes they once did; the feeling when we realize our roots run deeper than
we've ever known. The partnership with Altman (as well as a guest appearance
from Vince Gill on guitar) bred a sound that's both crisp and raw, letting the
lyrics and unforgettable melodies shine while never casting too much of a gloss
on Hoge's signature raspy bellow.
An extremely prolific songwriter with ten albums under his belt and
countless songs written for others (including a Grammy nomination for Eli
Young Band's number-one hit, "Even If Breaks Your Heart," co-written with
Paslay), Hoge saw this next phase of his journey as an opportunity to explore
even deeper into both his country and rock & roll roots. Never fitting
particularly neatly into a genre box, he's always just made the music that
moved him – but it's safe to say that he feels more kinship with the country
community than ever, particularly as a storyteller.
"That's my favorite thing about the genre itself," he says. "That's what I
love most. Country music is the only genre left telling anybody's stories
Those stories are part of what has made Hoge a vital force in fan's lives
who have followed him across the country and seen countless shows – his
songs speak to the reality of all our experiences, delivered in a way that is
honest, true and ever changing. There's no musical formula here or
predictability to seeing Hoge live – whether opening for the likes of Eli Young
Band or Dierks Bentley, or playing his own sold-out dates, he can stir up
somber, acoustic moments in one turn and then spring a hard-rocking,
plugged-in number the next. "The magic happens in the unsafe moments," he
There's safety, however, in Hoge's words, as he documents the mystery in
our future and the security of our past. It's human experience he studies, and
connecting with the listener is part of what makes it all worthwhile for Hoge.
"I tell these stories about me, or a friend, or an experience," he explains,
"and to have someone come up to me and say, 'that's exactly how I felt,' or 'your
songs helped me through a tough time,' that's the ultimate compliment."
Take "Middle of America," which opens with a simple, sweet guitar strum
and ushers into a full-fledged rock-country anthem with a rollicking heartbeat –
it's about the moments, both perfect and flawed, that unite us all. Or "Guitar or
a Gun," that tells the story of a young boy, a few dollars in hand, facing a
pivotal decision at the local pawnshop: should he buy a guitar, or a gun? "One
can feed your family, and one will end you up in jail. He seemed to know which
one was which but me, I couldn't tell," Hoge sings in impossibly vivid
storytelling that's one part Bruce Springsteen, one part Bob Dylan, one part
Hank Williams. And then there's the closer, "Till I Do It Again," that's as much
The Clash as a country romp, showcasing the best of the special hybrid that
Hoge hits with every lick.
The title of the album, Small Town Dreams, was inspired by a photo that
Hoge found while visiting his mother back in Franklin – a picture of him as a
child, riding bikes with a group of neighborhood kids in the field behind his
house. "We're the most non-threating small-town gang ever," he laughs. "It's
this real innocent photo, and everybody's smiling and happy. I started thinking
about all the people I had lost contact with, and how, at that age, everybody in
that photo truly believed they could do anything they wanted to, and that those
sort of small town dreams are possible."
But when those photos and yearbooks of our youth have been lost in the
piles, and the yellowed pages of newsprint has disintegrated into dust, we'll still
have our stories: and Hoge turns those stories into song, into melodies that last
far longer than any etched or snapped record. Will Hoge, the man, is many
things. A husband, a father, a survivor, a devoted small-town son who credits
much of his love of music to his rock 'n' roll loving dad. Will Hoge, the artist,
belongs to us all – a storyteller first and foremost, charting and living our Small
Mighty Souls Brass Band, a rotating collective of composer-players versed in a multitude of musical traditions, isn’t a soul band, nor is it a funk band, a marching band, or a swing band. And yet, depending on where you catch them live, you’ll hear all of those influences, as well as more from around the globe, in the group’s music. “We’re not interested in just being a bunch of Memphis musicians playing New Orleans-style brass band music,” says Murphy. “We love that music, and we honor it. But we love Memphis music too, and world music, and we want to pay tribute to that history. And it’s a deep one.”
True enough. Check MSBB’s roster, for one thing—an evolving list of knockout players whose chops around Memphis are long-established. The group began to coalesce in 2012, when Murphy and Jim Spake came together to play a New Orleans-style funeral, accompanied by horn player/vocalist Jeremy Shrader and percussionist Earl Lowe. Murphy, who has spent 13 years honing his chops in an improv dance and music group, found a kindred spirit in the wildly versatile Spake, whose sax playing appears on three decades’ worth of albums by Alex Chilton, Al Green, the North Mississippi All-Stars, Natalie Merchant, and dozens more. When Murphy outlined his project—a brass ensemble whose repertoire drew from American soul and funk as well as global traditions—Spake jumped at the chance, as did a host of other players from Memphis’ powerhouse session-musician community. On any given night the talent represented onstage at a MSBB show can run from five to 14 members deep, showcasing some of the best and most esteemed players in the city’s rich performance pool.
That elasticity—of personnel, and of the music—allows MSBB to enjoy a lot of flexibility in its arrangements and live performances. “That’s the great thing, one of the great things, about this group,” says Jim Spake. “Sean’s got to be there, he’s our fount of craziness. But it can be a different band on any particular night. In other settings, you might think, ‘Oh no, man, we don’t have our bass player?’ In this group, the feeling is more like, ‘Hey, who’s playing today…? Cool…’”
That portability brings us to MSBB’s many diverse gigs, which can take them—as the band’s lively booking schedule recently did, over the course of a single day in October 2014—from a morning show playing globally-derived “world brass band” music for children age 8 and younger, to an afternoon’s polka-inflected set at an Oktoberfest party, to an evening opening for (and backing) New Orleans legend Dr. John. To hear Murphy talk about the heady blend of styles the MSBB works in is to hear how the band’s music drinks deep from a multitude of sources. The tight, polished work of MoTown’s session horns; the gritty, dirty inflections of New Orleans’ funky Meters; the slippery R&B of Memphis’ own Booker T. and the MGs—it all finds a place in the thumping heartbeat of Mighty Souls Brass Band.
For proof, check the band’s debut album—Lift Up!, on Blue Barrel Records—largely recorded live, to catch the infectious synergy of the group. You’ll hear all of these influences, but you’ll also hear the writing and arrangement talents of the MSBB’s members, who themselves composed ten of the album’s dozen tracks. This vigorously creative impulse, this desire to weave something new from the threads of various traditions, is what makes Mighty Souls Brass Band a unique act even among brass ensembles. Rooted by bandleader Murphy’s sousaphone (“I like to say I play the ‘brass bass,’” he notes cheekily), MSBB has talent to burn, and that talent burns bright and fierce on Lift Up! From the swaggering opener “STS” to the stomping blues-holler “Lift Up Your Mighty Soul” to the stately southern swing of the traditional “I’ll Fly Away,” this is a band that knows where its roots lie, but also where its branches are reaching, far out into the world, a world that, as Murphy notes, seems invariably to express its deepest spiritual desires and celebrations through music.
Mighty Souls Brass Band is a group attuned to that desire, that celebratory spirit. It’s a music that swings, that soars, that swoons—all of which is suggested by that profound, that humble, that most human of words: “Soul.”
How mighty, indeed.
1555 Madison Ave.
Memphis, TN, 38104