Archives for category: Alabama Music

debbie bond enjoy the rideDebbie Bond going deep into Alabama Soul Blues Heritage on Enjoy The Ride

Debbie Bond shifts into Northern Alabama soul grooves on the semi-autobiographical Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions with increased depth and focus more than ever before with slide guitar, background vocals and deep production reminiscent of what put Muscle Shoals on the map.

`Working with legendary Recording Engineer Billy Lawson [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound, Wishbone ] as well as Jerry Masters [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound] and Charles Allen at Big Star Recording Studio, Debbie was able to deliver a timeless slice of Muscle Shoals Soul Blues from the true crossroads of all things true Southern American music.

Debbie Bond’s voice, playing and writing have developed like a fine wine so that with the addition of great horns and background vocals, Debbie continues to cut through everything to keep the focus on her unique style.

Debbie pays homage to Willie King with the best take of “I Am The Blues” that may have ever been recorded while paying tribute to other Alabama Blues mentors Eddie Kirkland and Jody Williams.

The addition of horns and strong background vocals only adds to the dynamics of Debbie Bond’s voice; it’s a revelation of grand proportions.

With guest spots by keyboardist Spooner Oldham, in addition to horn players Brad Guin and Will McFarlane [Bonnie Raitt], Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions proves to be a cohesive career defining work with a sound that pulls Alabama Blues and Alabama Soul into one forged weld molten edge of sound.

To be truthful, soul groove has always been a part of what has made Alabama Blues distinctive; music that warms the soul from the inside out like a good meat and three washed down with some sweet tea.

Debbie pulls together the diversity of sound that has put Alabama on the map and shapes it into a well—defined crown of jewels which justifies her calling card as the Ambassador of Alabama Blues to the world. By adding the Muscle Shoals sound and production, this really creates a new chapter much like when Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman jammed all night on “Hey Jude” and started a whole genre that became Southern Rock.

Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions ends with “Train Song” which everybody eventually has to write if they have anything to do with Blues or Rock and Roll. Debbie’s train song means it will be time to hit the road, especially in Europe where things are really taking off.

Enjoy The Ride sets a new bar after the Live album That Thing Called Love which put the spotlight on Debbie Bond on stages around the world. This is her finest work yet and delivers on the Alabama promise of pure bliss.

  • Brad Hardisty [The Nashville Bridge, Performer]

Birmingham’s \\GT// on new album and the importance of closed-up Bottletree

Photo Courtesy - \\GT// and Communicating Vessels

Photo Courtesy – \\GT// and Communicating Vessels

Birmingham, Alabama’s \\GT// is part of a Birmingham well rounded scene tradition that has produced everything from rockers Carnival Season, Brother Cane to a burgeoning Indie scene that began almost ten years ago that included everything from Hard Rocking Universal Joint and beitthemeans to more singer/songwriter oriented material from Jesse Payne and Kendra Sutton.

In fact, the scene has been diversified enough to include various hip hop acts and Punk Reggae Scenesters with a sophisticated College political mindset, The Agency.

Out of all these factions have come nationally known College Radio Americana in the form of Wild Sweet Orange and The Great Book of John. The other angle that has taken off is related to a re-look at Muscle Shoals and the Fame Studio years with St. Paul & The Broken Bones and the unpeggable Alabama Shakes.

Birmingham has managed to develop one of the best regional Indie Music Festivals in the Country with Secret Stages while local label Communicating Vessels is growing and nationwide.

\\GT// developed out of this eclectic scene when two co-workers, Scotty Lee, Byron Sonnier at now defunct venue The Bottletree got together to jam on a modern twist of Alabama gothic tale hard edge grooves. Working with established area drummer Mark Beasley, the Power Trio brings out the loud Birmingham underground belly of the Magic City.

Their newest release, Beats Misplaced, currently only available in Europe on Rough Trade will be released later this year on Communicating Vessels. In the meantime, \\GT// plan to hit every club they can along the eastern half of the United States as well as the Midwest.

The Nashville Bridge caught up with the band a few days prior to their show in Nashville at The Stone Fox on August 15th.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Scotty, you have some great label support [Communicating Vessels] and some gigs coming up.

Scotty Lee – \\GT//: Yeah we do. Let’s see, we have another small run coming up from the 15th to the 23rd so far. We are doing, obviously, The Stone Fox. We have been going through St. Louis and Lexington and starting to do that Midwest kind of thing.

TNB: How was Secret Stages [Birmingham Indie Music Festival] this year?

Scotty: Secret Stages was great! We got in the second day. We were on the road but it was really awesome and everybody that came to the festival was saying great things about it all weekend. So, yeah it was really good.

TNB: I could tell you one thing. I think what you’re doing would work in Nashville now. I wouldn’t have said the same thing seven years ago. Things have really changed.

Scotty: Yeah.

TNB: Are you guys in tune with what is going on in Music City?

Scotty: They might be more than me. The only thing that I know is like my buddies The Banditos is the only Nashville connection that I have.

TNB: Nashville is becoming more diversified with Jack White, The Black Keys and locals that grew up here like Jeff The Brotherhood.

Scotty: Oh yeah. Jeff The Brotherhood. I forgot about them. I forgot they are from Nashville.

TNB: Did you record the new full length album in Birmingham?

gt-beatsmisplaced-cover-1000-570x570Scotty: The full length we’ve got now we recorded over here at CommVess [Communicating Vessels] in their studio. We worked with Lynn Bridges and Taylor Hollingsworth [Conor Oberst, The Spider Eaters, The Puffs, Dead Fingers, Pawn & Gun] and we had a lot of friends play on it and stuff as far as background vocals and all that kind of stuff.

TNB: So, Taylor played on it a little bit?

Scotty: Yeah, he played a couple of lead parts, did some background vocals and he produced a little bit of it as well.

TNB: What’s the scene like in Birmingham nowadays? Is it still centered around The Nick? I know that The Bottletree shut down, right?

Scotty: Yeah, The Bottletree is gone. Saturn opened up and Birmingham is always going to be like it has been. All the fans that are out now are really awesome. I have a lot of friends that are still doing their thing which is great.

TNB: Are you bringing any bands with you to The Stone Fox or are you guys playing with some local bands?

Scotty: Yeah, we’re just playing with people that are from there, I guess. We are not bringing anybody with us on these runs.

TNB: What is the current goal for \\GT//?

Scotty: I just want to tour and give people a chance to hear us. That’s all I want to do.

TNB: A while back there was a demand for stuff over in Europe from Alabama [Drive-By Truckers]. I know that Taylor Hollingsworth has been over to England. Do you see any interest overseas?

Scotty: Well, our album was released over in Germany and the UK with Rough Trade so we will find out.

TNB: When will the album be out on Communicating Vessels stateside?

Scotty: It’s being released here in about September or October. Not really sure. There is no certain date right now.

TNB: Hey Byron.

Byron Sonnier – \\GT// : Hello.

TNB: How did you end up working with Scotty? Were you with him in a different band or is this kind of a new thing for you?

Byron: We were actually in a different band that was kind of a psychedelic stoner rock band. I played guitar and sang. Scotty played lead guitar. It didn’t last very long but, yeah, so we played together before.

TNB: Did \\GT//come out of a jam or did Scotty bring something to the table and say, “Hey let’s try this out?”

Byron: We both worked at Bottletree at the same time. Scotty was getting this band together and asked me if I wanted to play. I had never played bass before but I was like I’ll try and it just kind of went from there.

TNB: How long did you guys work for Bottletree?

Byron: Scotty had worked there on and off since the beginning, I worked there for a little over five years.

TNB: I moved out of Birmingham in 2008 and moved to Nashville. I used to play a lot at The Nick. I didn’t play The Bottletree but I saw some great shows [Dead Confederate, Taylor Hollingsworth, The Donnas] back then.

Byron: It was awesome! I mean The Bottletree is responsible for everything that’s happened here, I think definitely in regards to the music scene. I mean it [music scene] was there before but I think that national attention came out of that one way or another.

TNB: I was going to say that Communicating Vessels kind of came together before The Bottletree shut down, right?

Byron: Oh, yeah, well before that, for sure.

TNB: Some of the early label bands like The Great Book of John, I guess, were established playing out of The Bottletree?

GT-logo-hi-res-600-380x380Byron: Right! Alabama Shakes played open mic night only they were just called The Shakes then. St. Paul [& The Broken Bones], I mean all those bands played through here several times.

TNB: Is there something like The Bottletree now? One thing I remember is that they had had some great stuff like hummus and vegetarian food.

Byron: Now? No, I mean there is the new Saturn. It’s booked by BOWERY. It’s definitely got its own kind of thing going. It’s different. It’s more of a concert venue then a club. So, there really is not anything close to that right now. It’s definitely a void.

TNB: I thought it was a cool thing because like you could go there and eat healthy if you didn’t feel like drinking or anything you know.

Byron: Right.

Mark Beasley – \\GT//: Hey Brad it’s Mark.

TNB: Hey Mark how are you doin’? I remember seeing you play with a lot of people before I moved from Birmingham in 2008. You were playing with Kendra last thing I remember. I used to play in a band myself.

Mark: Which band were you in?

TNB: I played with Danny Everitt [Bass], the sound guy over at The Nick and Daniel Long [The Agency, Furthermore, Jesse Payne etc.]was the drummer. He has been playing with…

Mark: Jesse Payne, yeah.

TNB: Daniel has been playing with a lot of people. Our lead singer name was Peter Davenport. We were called various names over a few years and the last year we went by Furthermore. I used to see you to play with a lot of people. I remember running into you a lot of times.

Mark: Yeah, I’ve played drums in quite a few bands here and there. Some of them short lived and some of them longer.

TNB: Are you gigging full time or are you working as well?

Mark: I think all of us have jobs. There was a time I was playing in three or four bands at the same time but now those bands have kind of folded up and become inactive and now it’s just been playing with \\GT// and going on tour which is taking up most of my time at least in terms of my time playing music.

TNB: I was going to say it’s probably a good band to be in because you’ve got solid label support. They are doing stuff for you and you’ve got some decent videos out as well as a great Alabama regional vibe t your groove.

Mark: I think some of the success from the Alabama bands, at least, is kind of what you would expect Alabama to sound like. There are other bands like us and Dirty Lungs on this label that don’t necessarily, you know, we really are just a rock band with some weird perverted blues licks thrown in there. It’s not typical of what you would think of it being Southern music.

TNB: I think it fits with fans of Alabama music that know about the past ten years and bands such as The Immortal Lee County Killers, Cordova, Model Citizen or Beitthemeans, .

Mark: We played a show with those guys [Beitthemeans] in Mobile [Alabama].

TNB: It’s kind of cool to see that at first Communicating Vessels was more concentrating on almost like new Americana and now they are branching out and tapping into some other scenes. Is that how you feel?

\\GT// - photo_John Purvis

\\GT// – photo_John Purvis

Mark: I think that is just a good business model if you talk about a record label. I know Epitaph had its success having a bunch of the same kind of bands on their label but really to be successful you have to have artists of all different types to diversify your sound. So, Communicating Vessels certainly has a couple of hip hop acts. They have what you would traditionally think of as Americana acts as well as straight ahead Rock and Roll bands too.

TNB: Good luck with the new project! I’ll let you guys go.

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN
Gip's Place, Bessemer, alabama

Gip’s Place, Bessemer, alabama

Owner Henry Gipson (aka Mr. Gip) had his residence, known as Gip’s Place for over 60 years for “house parties” that are as close to a good ol’ juke joint that Alabama has left was closed down on May 4th, 2013, for not having the proper business license by Bessemer Police.

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, photo – Brad Hardisty

The residence was never intended to be a business since Gip doesn’t serve food or drink and is a BYOB place where blues lovers can enjoy regional blues masters like Debbie Bond as well as national performers such as Bobby Rush jam in front of a Birmingham area get together.

Opened in 1952, Gip’s Place was considered a “house party” and not a business and was considered a bright spot on the Bessemer, Alabama map.

There is a meeting today, Tuesday May 7th at 6PM before the Bessemer City Council regarding the matter. Please be there, if you can attend. For further information contact Mayor Kenneth Gulley’s Assistant by email : mayorasst@bessemeral.org.

If you would like to find out how you can support Henry Gipson and Gip’s Place contact Cindi McGee at cindig34@hotmail.com.

A poll being conducted on al.org shows that an overwhelming 64% want Gip to be left alone by the city of Bessemer.

The closing of one of the last of Alabama’s true juke joints is creating international media attention.

Feel free to leave comments here, if you like. I will forward comments to those involved in supporting Henry Gipson and his privately owned residence. I am in contact, right now, with those involved in showing support in Alabama I will post updates when available here on The Nashville Bridge.

Feel free to link this article to your Facebook page or re-blog and get the word out. This is all about property rights, liberty and pursuit of the Blues! Be in Bessemer, Alabama by 6Pm if you can.

Blues Power!

Reports from Bessemer City Council Meeting regarding the closing of Blues Hall of Fame Member Gip Gipson’s Juke Joint: The following was a live text feed from inside the council meeting last night:

 6:59PM The City Council will not even schedule the issue on the agenda. They claim they needed a weeks notice – though they shut down Gip’s on Saturday.

7:01 PM One person will be allowed to speak at the end of the meeting for 3 minutes.

7:09 PM The Circle X Film Group that is in the process of producing a documentary film on Gip’s is in the council hall filming for the doc. 

7:10PM Many wouldn’t sign the film release. They will be blocked out. The city council is sitting here recognizing the achievements in poetry writing of the local kids… 

7:15 PM All local news outlets are providing coverage.

7:24 PM Gip just arrived to a round of applause. 

 A single council member suggests that Gip’s should be moved out of the neighborhood and provided a venue near other city attractions.  There is no response from any other council member.  The Council President says that moving doesn’t matter because that involves another process and the problem is that Gip is operating an illegal business. 

7:58 PM Gip speaks before the council: States that he is going to do what he is going to do and there’s not going to be a license and he’s not going to move. 

Other members of the community are allowed to speak for three min each.

8:05 PM All speakers, community members, neighbors are in support.  Much is said about the heritage that needs to be preserved and the failure of the leadership of City of Bessemer to have a vision that upholds the traditions of the community and the wider heritage of American music history.

People speak of the failure of the city to do anything related to crime, abandoned houses and other blight in the same area yet they are singling out a man that gives back to his community through charitable work and has brought pride and recognition to the town.  That until the City shut down Gip’s they featured his Juke Joint on their website. 

The council president will not allow anymore public comment related to the heritage and unique history of Gip’s.

There has not been a SINGLE person at the meeting who has raised any complaint or spoken against Gip.

 8:07 PM Reporter from Italy is speaking up. The Council President tries to have her sit down, she moves to the mic anyway and describes how people in Italy see the value of preserving their cultural treasures and she cannot fathom why the city cannot see what they are doing is the destruction of American heritage.  She says that Gip’s Place is like nowhere else in the world and an incredible example of Southern culture. 

8:10 PM The city council pres is saying no more public comment. Many people are still raising their hands to be recognized.  Now the Mayor is saying that no one is above the law and that he receives complaints from the neighbors every week about children seeing people urinating in their yards. The mayor is asked where these complainants are and told that there are more neighbors that wish to speak in support of Gip.  They are not recognized.  The Mayor calls the public assembly a mob. The council President tells the police to prepare to clear the room If any one else tries to speak.  He singles out several previously recognized speakers to be removed if they say anything else.

8:12 PM A lady minister stands up and is trying to speak about peacefully working with the city to resolve this issue and the President told her to sit down. He states only the council is allowed to speak. The Police are to remove anyone else who defies the end of public commentary.

The city attorney speaks declaring that all members of the government and the police are required to honor their oaths to enforce the law and no man is above the law.  He states that if the public wishes to change they are welcome to go through the process of changing the law.

8:19 PM – The council motions to adjourn.  They call the meeting to a close. 

Gip after leaving the council building is greeted by news crews, film makers & and the rest of his supporters who could not get into the assembly.  The meeting was filled to capacity. – live text from T. Moreaux, Church of the Last World Singers

There are many questions as to why local city goverment is getting involved when this has been a major pride of the neighborhood since 1952 and at this point unsubstantiated allegations are being pursued regarding neighbor complaints even though many neighbors were in attendance to speak on Gip’s behalf but were not allowed to speak.

Update from 5/11/2013 – Gip did open up last saturday night, but, there were two police roadblocks going in and out of the area with a total of aproximately ten troopers, according to my source, looking for any reason to ticket any patrons going in an out of Gip’s Place. Gip also closed down early at 11 PM. Although there was a police presence that was intimidating patrons of his house party, they did not attmept to shut it down…stay posted. 

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN      thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo- Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo- Brad Hardisty

Friday January 18th, The High Watt walls were rumbling to Bang Ok Bang in celebration of their new video release in support of “Always For You” off their recently released first EP revelating through a heavy groove dirge that can only be described as Trance Industrial Metal Blues.

Ben Lowry - Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ben Lowry – Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ben Lowry was whipping his guitars, both 6 and 7 string varieties through a Bass amp and Marshall half stack pumping the juice through the newly minted High Watt PA system, splattering bass all over the floor and rattling midrange through all the other gear sitting to the left of the stage.

Abby Hairston - Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo - Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston – Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, photo – Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston is probably the most passionate drummer in Nashville today. You can literally anticipate each crack, snap and UH! and determine the pace and dynamic as she throws her hair and weight all over the kit. Abby’s every crack of the stick seems determined much like Hill Country Blues drummer, Cedric Burnside.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Pulling songs from their EP such as “Chemicals Pt. 1 & 2,” and “Above The Surface,” Bang Ok Bang paced through a complete set that showed major growth and tightness since first kicking it out several months ago.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

The set featured new songs that show how to take the heavy two piece into even more sonic space.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

The crowd was an interesting mix of post high school, post EMO less than twenty somethings for opener ForeverandNever that was losing their bass player after this show and a crowd more akin to a singles bar for headliner BREE.

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Somehow, it looked like each group of Apprecianados found something they liked in each set even though the three bands fit three distinctly different cliques and mind sets.

Abby Hairston, photo - Brad Hardisty

Abby Hairston, photo – Brad Hardisty

One of the most amazing things was how tight the two have got to matching each other in the slow down mid song breaks as well as groove changes with ease.

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, The High Watt, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang may be ready for David Letterman in 2013.

The High Watt, Joe Strummer on Mens Room Door, photo - Brad Hardisty

The High Watt, Joe Strummer on Mens Room Door, photo – Brad Hardisty

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Mercy Lounge – Photo/ Brad Hardisty

Thursday night would mark three years since the first time I saw Jason Isbell (former Drive-By Truckers) and his then “new” band, The 400 Unit in 2009.  Jason was at Mercy Lounge last night at what he called his first “hometown” gig, I might be wrong, but, I think he said since he moved here.

Whether or not that is correct, Jason was playing a Nashville “insider” guitar, a session guy’s new secret weapon, a Duesenberg Gold Top with the futuristic looking German engineered vibrato arm. The retro looking euro-high tech guitars were first popularized by Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) but are making their way into Nashville via Rock Block Guitars in a big way.

Jason has always been known for tasty guitar licks, but, he has really developed some deft country licks without going pure Brent Mason. It still has that Muscle Shoals “where Soul meets Country thang” going on.

I was excited to see where he was at since hearing his new project back in 2009. Back then, it was like he was excited to kind of graft in the family tree of Muscle Shoals legends with something akin to The Band or The Heartbreakers (Tom Petty not Johnny Thunders) but now, three albums in and four years on the road, The 400 Unit (named after the former Psychiatric Ward at Florence, Alabama’s Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital) is a crackerjack five piece band, tight and lucid like the heir apparent to The Decoys, that features classic Muscle Shoals players, David Hood, Scott Boyer, Kelvin Holly and sometimes even Spooner Oldham on keys.

Jason has put a lot of weight on his shoulders by putting himself squarely in the middle of a heavy tradition with writers and players like Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts. I have to say it is working out much better than the first time I heard him.  The set was great, the tone, the crowd and the band. I’m glad that he is doing what he is doing. He has refined the dynamics and is now digging a little deeper than the Gibson Les Paul into a Fender thing.

In fact, he pulled a 1970’s era classic Muscle Shoals tune out of his hat as well as a little “Stone Free” on the bridge of the last song before the encores. There was even an ounce of continuity or deja vu for me between that 2009 set at The State Room in Salt Lake City and the one in Nashville the other night.

Justin Townes Earle, The State Room, Salt Lake City, 2009 – Photo / Brad Hardisty

Justin Townes Earle opened for Jason Isbell back on that tour as he was taking off with The Good Life   then Jason Isbell played on Justin’s Harlem River Blues and  Justin was their last night for Jason’s set just catching it from the back.  It’s hard to miss Justin, he’s a tall presence, back then, he had a little Hank Williams style going on, now, it was an overcoat and fedora flair.

Hey, but, let’s get back to Jason. The Country music business is going about creating their own brand of country while there is this parallel universe where most of the Country Artists out of Texas, as well as newcomers, the august, and independent folks like Adam Hood and Jason Isbell pack them in when they come to Nashville.

Jason is some country, some soul and some heart wrenching lyrics, in reality, it’s all about Alabama, with a nod to Hank Williams-style sad lyrics, Duane Allman style ( Jason rocked on this, sometimes with a slide on two different fingers)slide guitar and a country boy from Greenhill, Alabama telling life stories that makes this worth listening too.  He has some solid fans in Nashville.

Dead Fingers, Mercy Lounge, 2012 – Photo / Brad Hardisty

Openers, Dead Fingers, Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor from Birmingham, Alabama got the invite and as Taylor said, “Alabama, represent!” Taylor has some of his own style going on, incorporating some Mississippi Hill Country Blues and rawhide Country into some Indie folk goings on.

Kate sang probably the strongest set I have heard her do so far; a real standout and an accomplishment at six months pregnant.  Kate has a great mix of Emmylou Harris and sixties vibe queens like Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane of Spank & Our Gang somewhere in that voce bella.

Dead Fingers were just at The Basement two weeks ago. Nashville is looking forward to hearing some more tracks in the future. You could say they are Birmingham’s Civil Wars, but, that would put them too much into a box after all the true Mississippi connections Taylor has made as well as his work with Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band.

Taylor’s slide playing was a standout last night. One of the fun things about Taylor’s playing is when you know his songs, you know when he is experimenting or seeing if the band will go wherever he wanders off too. He didn’t too much of that last night, but, he still looked like he was having fun and there were plenty of Nashvillians and probably some Bowling Green patrons wandering south for the night in the audience when they went on at 9 PM. 

Great Alabama-centric night at Mercy Lounge!

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Last Friday night, after trying to figure out how to get from West End across the I-24 construction zone to East Nashville on surface streets (can you say, “Where the hell am I?”), I barely made it in the door at 11 PM, at The 5 Spot in Five Points for the CD Release Party, get near the stage, Ben Lowry (guitar) glances up and then Abby Hairston (drums) says, “Brad! Ya Made it!” and Bang Ok Bang starts into one of the loudest sets I have heard at The 5 Spot.

Bang Ok Bang/ The 5 Spot – Photos – Brad Hardisty

Bang Ok Bang, is the latest project that puts Ben on guitar instead of Bass with The One Through Tens (The 1-10’s) where Abby also rocks on the skins.

This is a lot heavier and a little more insane then The One Through Tens.

Bang Ok Bang joins the A-list Nashville two man bands, The White Stripes (RIP), The Black Keys and Jeff The Brotherhood. The only difference is Bang Ok Bang would be a great opener for somebody like Queens Of The Stone Age or Slayer.

Ben puts a twist on Chet Atkins picking style by covering the low end through an Ampeg Bass rig, with some gnarly snaking fuzzy bass lines a la Vincebus Eruptum, with stripped down Ministry- influenced- at- Motorhead speed chords and notes through a Marshall.

The only other player I have seen that simultaneously can play the low end and the chords and melody like a total fake out is Lightnin’ Malcolm, the bad ass one-half of the 2 Man Wrecking Crew with Cedric Burnside.

How does the two-man-heavy-stoner rock go over at The 5 Spot? Well, the room was packed where they were the third band up and everybody pulled away from the bar and crowded the stage, grinning and kind of thinking, “Is this guy really pulling off Dickie Peterson and Al Jourgensen at the same time?”

Hey Mr. Marshall meet Mr. Ampeg and try to keep up with Abby. Abby was a solid Bill Ward influenced box beater going from kick to heavy thrashing of the Toms between solid grooves and stoner prog breaks.

With songs like “Above The Surface”, the tender titled “Always For You”, not to be confused with an Everly Brother’s number and “Chemicals Pt. 1 & 2”, I think it is time to pull a two man band festival.

Okay, bring back The White Stripes one more time and let’s have Lightnin’ Malcolm & Cedric Burnside, Jeff The Brotherhood, The Black Keyes and Bang Ok Bang all on the same bill at The Ryman. I would pay $100 to see that show.

Ben’s vocals are what you see is what you get punk rock ethos. I don’t think he could pull off a Josh Stone or Freddie Mercury anyways. Hey, but that’s okay, it’s dang close to Blue Cheer with a healthy Ministry grinding to keep heavy freaks and East Nashville hobnobbers  showing up at the same venue kind of like a Crema Cuban Triple Espresso with a Rooster’s Texas style Brisket Sandwich with all the spicy 911 Jack’s BBQ sauce you can handle.

If I had to compare them to any regional scene band it would be Black Tusk out of Georgia witnessing a little “Hillbilly Voodoo” at a Southern Gothic movie convention in Cordova, Alabama with Ministry providing the soundtrack, Juicifer providing cocktails and Henry Rollins on vocals.

I picked up the “limited to 150” new EP CD and it sounds great. Four songs to irritate office workers as you roll down the window of your Ford Fiesta and crank it full volume. I have number 86/150 and I won’t take less then 5K for it okay, so don’t even ask. If you want yours, you better show up for their next set at The Zombie Shop on July 27th.

Bang a gong, get it on!

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

On an unusually hot June night, Dead Fingers from Birmingham, Alabama, played the Basement underneath Grimeys New and Preloved Music, in a stripped down Trio with “really married” Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor backed by minimalist drums of Alan Rosser, as part of their mini-tour last Sunday the 24th.

Dead Fingers Opened up with the classic Taylor song, “Bonnie and Clyde” from his 2005 Brash Music release, Tragic City,  before going into the line up from the first Dead Fingers – Fat Possum release.

Playing to an intimate crowd including some friends who made the drive from Birmingham, Kate and Taylor matched song for song on “Closet Full Of Bones”, “Another Planet” with the different blend of almost Spanky & Our Gang meets southern Americana, Dead Fingers managed to break down a lot of barriers between styles and periods to create their own matchbox of sound.

Taylor stuck mainly to finger picking almost Piedmont style most of the night going from the bluesy slide of “Lost In Mississippi” to primitive western a la Rose Maddox and The Maddox Brothers rather than the current Fleetwood Mac radio country for “On My Way.”

There was a hint of classic Taylor Hollingsworth writing when going into “Against The River” riffing.

Kate and Taylor looked real comfortable together as well as baby bump makes three, Taylor and Kate, who have been married for a while now, are expecting a girl towards the end of the year.

It looks like the child will have music in her DNA taking in the tour from the stage, listening to musical vibrations.

Kate comes from a big Birmingham musical family, with sister Maria Taylor , an artist on Conor Oberst’s  Saddle Creek Records , as well as brother Macey Taylor who has played Bass for Maria, Taylor, Conor Oberst and several other bands and music projects.

Kate is no stranger to the stage, having played in Maria Taylor’s touring band on drums as well as other instruments and supporting vocals.   

Mystic Valley Band at Coachella 2009, Macey on bass, Taylor on Acoustic

Macey and Taylor both played in the two album project that Conor Oberst ended up putting together, The Mystic Valley Band where Taylor sang at least one of his own originals at every tour stop.  They ended up playing some big shows in 2009 including Coachella. Following that project, Taylor released the acoustic project, Life With A Slow Ear, Team Love Records in 2009.

Dead Fingers became the project as Kate and Taylor started taking life on together as a couple.

Kate’s brother Macey at Coachella / Photo- Brad Hardisty

Taylor, even in the stripped down mode, showed plenty of flash, using a harmonizer pedal to get some cool neo-pedal steel type leads going on the country material, and some intense slide work through the night.

Taylor Hollingsworth singing “Air Mattress” at Coachella 2009 / Photo – Brad Hardisty

Dead Fingers included a new song in the set that will be on the next release which they are scheduled to begin recording in the near future.

The duo shows great depth and versatility in their songwriting able to take off in different ways which especially works well in Nashville where, cult classic country, blues and roots rock are part of the whole Indie scene.

Dead Fingers will be back in Nashville on July 12th at The Mercy Lounge opening up for Jason Isbell (formerly of  The Drive-By Truckers) & The 400 Unit. Definitely a lot of Alabama in that show.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com