Cameron Bethany, Mike Mosby and the Hard Hitters Kick Off Fridays Unplugged at K-2 Ultra Lounge @cameronbethany_ @MosbyMike @901k2lounge

Cameron Bethany is one of Memphis’ best soul singers, and the Hard Hitters, led by drummer Mike Mosby, is one of Memphis’ best soul bands, so they were a natural choice to kick off the weekly Unplugged Fridays at K-2 Ultra Lounge on Union Avenue in downtown Memphis. Each Friday, beginning at 9 PM, the band plays two sets of excellent contemporary jazz and neo-soul.

Iyse Gibson and Band Live at Perignon's Restaurant and Lounge in Memphis @IyseGibson

Iyse Gibson is one of Memphis’ more prominent young R & B artists, and is a descendent of the Steinberg family of musicians who were famous on Beale Street in Memphis and in the early history of Stax Records. on Friday May 16, he was performing at Perignon’s Restaurant and Lounge in the Raleigh neighborhood of Memphis, with a live band that included my homeboy Otis Logan on drums. I swung by there after I came off my gig at Mollie Fontaine’s, and my drummer partner Mike Mosby fell through after he finished his gig. Gibson is a talented singer, and the band was first-rate.

Blues and Funk With The C3 Band Live at West Alley BBQ in Jackson, TN @cdrumbum90

With lots of conflicting options with what to do on my Friday night (the first in many weeks that I hadn’t either had a gig or been out of town), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to choose. My drummer homeboy Mike Mosby had one of his Locked and Loaded events going on, Bristerfest was kicking off in Cooper-Young, Eden Brent was at the Center For Southern Folklore, and the Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest was going on down in Mississippi. But when I saw that my homeboys in the C3 Band were going to be playing at West Alley BBQ in Jackson, Tennessee, I decided to drive up there, both to catch their performance, and to check out the barbecue, which my homeboy Courtney Brown (C3’s drummer) had said was really good.
West Alley BBQ proved to be something like a large juke joint, with two older men tending to oil drum cookers outside along the side entrance. The look of the place would not have been unfamiliar to people who know Ground Zero in Clarksdale, but there were some elements that seemed more in keeping with Red’s Lounge instead, although the place was much bigger. The pulled pork was delicious, just as I had been told, and the club kept great roots blues playing over the speakers until it was time for the band to come up on stage. As I have discussed earlier, C3 is a blues power trio, with a repertoire that stretches from blues to funk to soul. Their performance on this particular night was augmented by a guest harmonica player that sat in, a visiting drummer that gave Courtney Brown a breather, and a superb female singer that closed out the night with a rousing rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” It was definitely a night to remember in Jackson, and West Alley BBQ will be a place to keep checking up on.

West Alley BBQ & Smokehouse
215 W Main St
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 300-4664

Soulful Sounds with @BrennanVillines and @MosbyMike at Bhan Thai in Midtown Memphis

On Saturday night December 14th, my drummer partner Mike Mosby invited down to Bhan Thai restaurant in Midtown where he was playing a gig with a Memphis musician, singer and actor named Brennan Villines whom I had not heard of before. He is a gifted pianist and singer, and the band, complete with horns was immensely soulful in that unique Memphis sort of way, which was all the more remarkable considering the fact that they had never played together before. It was an altogether enjoyable evening.

Hard Hitters Band featuring Mike Mosby (@MosbyMike) Cameron Bethany (@ShoobyDoowah) and Brittany Shelby at the @MLGW Plus-1 Jam on Beale Street

Each year, our local utility Memphis Light Gas & Water takes advantage of the crowds walking to and from the Beale Street Music Festival to sponsor a stage on Beale Street where they feature a number of local musicians and singers, all in an effort to raise money to help the poor and elderly with their utility bills. My drummer partner Mike Mosby had texted me that his band the Hard Hitters would be playing there on Sunday from 6 to 8, so I walked up Beale and caught their performance, which was really good. Unfortunately, the weather was really bad, icy cold, and increasingly looking like the rain might be coming back. So after their performance, I decided not to go back to the Beale Street Music Festival, even though I had hoped to see the Royal Southern Brotherhood’s performance at 8:50. It proved to be the right decision, because when I completed the several-mile walk back to my car, the rains began in earnest.

Celebrating Cameron Bethany’s (@ShoobyDoowah) Birthday with Mike Mosby (@MosbyMike) and the Hard Hitters at @onixrestaurant

Thursday night was Memphis singer Cameron Bethany‘s birthday, and to celebrate, drummer Mike Mosby turned the weekly Hard Hitters Band gig at Onix into an open jam session, with a lot of great musicians and singers from Memphis sitting in. The only frustrating part was Onix’s extremely small size, which meant that for most of the set, it was standing room only. Still it was great music and great fun, and yet another reminder that Memphis has some of the best musicians and singers in the world.