Forged in the late Nineties as an instrumental soul band in the mold of hyphenated acts like the Mar-Keys and Bar-Kays, the Bo-Keys embody the classic Memphis sound that backed Al Green, Ann Peebles, and William Bell.
“We don’t have to try too hard for it to come out the way it comes out,” assures bandleader bassist Scott Bomar. “We’re blessed to have guys like [drummer] Howard Grimes and Archie Turner in the band who played on a lot of the original recordings people associate with Memphis and know and love. Howard played on just about the entire Hi Records catalog and on a lot of Stax cuts.”
Like the bands that cut most Memphis R&B burners, the Bo-Keys are multiracial in addition to multigenerational.
“That’s the Memphis sound: the collision of gospel, blues, jazz, country. When you get integrated bands, I think you get a mix of sounds that you wouldn’t get any other way. In the Sixties, you had this amazing thing happening where everyone was influencing each other, and it didn’t matter if somebody was black or white. If they could play, that’s what mattered.”
The band’s third full-length, Heartaches by the Number, drops during their three-day stint in Austin. Both the LP and live show feature Percy Wiggins and Don Bryant, vocalists who cut deep Memphis soul tunes nearly 50 years ago.
“Everything we’ve done up to this point has been pure Memphis soul heavily influenced by the Hi Records sound and the Stax sound,” explains Bomar. “For this new album, I’ve gotten more into the Muscle Shoals sound and what was going on at Fame Studios in the Sixties. Also, what Chips Moman was doing at American Studios here in Memphis.
“The core of that material is this amazing songwriting and guys who were writing country songs, but recorded them with a soul band. It came out as this really cool soul-country hybrid, and that’s what I wanted to do with this record.”– Thomas Fawcett
Local T-shirt purveyors Razor Hoof Screen Printing round up a battalion of headbangers for Razorfest 2. NYCDC grindcore/power violence beasts Magrudergrind bring the cachet and “Relentless Hatred,” as it’s put on II, their latest album and Relapse Records debut. Tourmates Yautja defy Nashville expectations with blistering sludgecore on Songs of Lament. Weak Flesh, Illustrations, Fuck Work, Curse the Heavens, and more set the scene, while Magrudergrind’s fellow travelers BLK/OPS close out the carnage.– Michael Toland
In his Stetson and starched Western shirts, Geno Delafose remains as tall and broad as his musical legacy. Son of Cajun zydeco great John Delafose (1939-1994), the Eunice, La., native and cattle rancher has spread the Creole legacy of hurricane accordion, red-hot rub boards, and a French language do-si-do since the day he joined his father’s band as a third grader. Metal, punk, and EDM can’t compete with the eyes-white mass hypnosis brought on by an unstoppable zydeco beat. 10pm.– Raoul Hernandez
Charlie Pierce’s boogie-woogie matches Houston raconteur Jimmy Pizzitola like swampland and ’skeeters. The Austinite’s honky-tonking piano rolls a distinct bayou humidity readymade for the latter’s Ray Wylie Hubbard-lite observations of barroom deal breakers (“Where’s the Johnny Cash”) and backroads ramblers (“Fresh Water”). Pizzitola’s The Choctaw Wildfire Sessions is a Gulf Coast meeting of minds sandwiched by a headlining set from Pierce and drummer Leland Potter and opening ATX guitar tamer Mrs. Glass. Free.– Raoul Hernandez