This week on Music City Roots, host Jim Lauderdale welcomes four amazing bands to the Loveless Cafe stage: Dex Romweber Duo, Buffalo Clover, Jim Skinner, and Little Bandit!
About the artists:
Dex Romweber is nothing less than an icon of the American music underground. Pioneering the template for the stripped to-the-essentials guitar/drums duo format in the (should be) world famous psycho-surf-rockabilly-garage-punk combo Flat Duo Jets—so often emulated, so rarely duplicated—Dex continues his resurgence with the new album Is That You In The Blue? With sister Sara on drums, the Dex Romweber Duo is a potent combo that’ll get your leg twitching with the beat and your heart racing -and sometimes breaking- with the feral excitement of music. If it don’t, you might want to consider turning in your “I Heart Rock n Roll” badge. Seriously.
In Dex, you have someone who burrows into the guts of American roots music with a uniquely alchemical mania; he’s a man clearly bored with, or oblivious to, genre constraints. With a mix of originals and obscure nuggets from rock and roll’s dusky back closets, the DRD romps through the sweaty cinder block studios of Memphis of the 50’s, channels street corners on the wrong side of town with existential blues and instrumentals that’d find a home in a Tarantino spy flick.
For pure rock and roll at its most glorious, Dex, his vintage Silvertone guitar and Sara’s wall of sound drums kick out the jams, mf’ers, on “Jungle Drums,” the dragstrip rave-up “Gurdjieff Girl” and the soundtrack for your next knife fight at the juvey home “Climb Down.” Bust out your hip flask and hand jive to heaven to that wicked Bobby Fuller beach party groove on “Wish you Would,” or strut down the Rio strand to the buoyant Bossa Nova throw down “Brazil”—a classic that runs a sonic spark plug from Xavier Cugat to Tav Falco’s Panther Burns.
Beyond the wild ruckus the Duo conjures so well, Is That You in the Blue? is colored by Dex’s broken romantic trips to the deep tunnel of un-love. From the slinky, cinematic revenge noir of “The Death of Me,” to the unhinged, edge of the abyss vibe of “Nowhere” to the jazzy, ghostly howl at the “Midnight Sun,” he’s on a dark and sometimes vengeful ride he ain’t taking alone. And the title track has as bitter and liberating a kiss off line that’s ever been sung, the one we’ve all wished we could have come up with when she was walking out the door.
For Is That You In The Blue?, recorded at Southern Culture on the Skids Rick Miller’s studio in North Carolina, DRD filled in their already formidable sound with Tarheel luminaries from the bands The Old Ceremony and Savage Knights, as well as Rick Miller himself and fellow SCOTS Mary Huff. Since their last Bloodshot album, Ruins of Berlin (2009), the DRD recorded a 7” single of hillbilly folk-blues with Jack White as well as a live album recorded at his Third Man record store in Nashville.
Formerly one of Nashville’s most eclectic bands, Buffalo Clover now feeds a more fitting hybrid of roots-rock and soul into the Music City bloodstream.
Hailing from somewhere in the Midwest, front lady Margo Price grew up in a farming town where music didn’t thrive. Fortunately, it did thrive in the more obscure parts of her lineage. Price traced her creative genes to a great-grandfather who played piano using only the black keys.
A restless soul brought her to Nashville in the early aughts where she met guitarist Jeremy Ivey. The two made a couple as well as co-writers and got married. In late 2008, they met bassist Matt Gardner whose guitar chops were so good, he eventually switched instruments. They added bassist Jason White later, and drummer Dillon Napier joined in late 2010.
Throughout the band’s formative decade, Buffalo Clover, even in its developmental stages, attracted a variety of talent. Price has worked on two different projects with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Pianist Micah Hulscher, who plays with rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson on the road, recorded on Buffalo Clover’s last record, Low Down Time, and sometimes joins the band for live performances. They’ve also shared the stage with The Flaming Lips, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and legendary sax player Bobby Keys, proving their southern soul style can match up with anyone.
In the simplest terms, Buffalo Clover are vintage rock ‘n’ rollers, but the South tends to creep in. This brand of southern soul bears a striking resemblance to their idols, the Rolling Stones and The Band. Taking a cue from Bob Dylan with a lyrical poeticism inspired by the troubled times, and Janis Joplin with her rough-hewn-but-honest, bottom-of-the-heart soulful lilt, Buffalo Clover emulate their musical paragons in a style of their own.
Never playing the same show twice, the band’s genuineness translates to a loyal local fan base. It makes them just as much at home playing in the UK, which they toured last summer, as The 5 Spot in East Nashville.
Ever the victims of wanderlust, what Buffalo Clover has in mind for 2012 is getting back to those places, in both Europe and the states, and continuing to bring the southern soul to a wider audience.
Over 130 years of combined talent make-up the Jim Skinner Wall to Wall Rhythm and Blues Band. We are a dance band that feeds off audience participation. We will keep you dancing all night from beginning to end. We are always adding new material and every show is unique, exciting, and overwhelmingly entertaining. Jim Skinner, the main vocalist, has traveled the country and has performed in venues in places such as San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans. He had his own band on Bourbon Street for three years and has now landed in Southern Illinois. Born in Chicago, family from Mississippi, Jim Skinner has blues flowing through his veins. Jim’s current band consists of Luthor Stuthers, rhythm guitarist, guitarist Dave Parrish, bass player Charlie Ryan, drummer Charlie Morrel, and lead vocalist/front-man, Jim Skinner.
Drawing from the very foundations of country and rock, Little Bandit manages to discover new and adventurous musical territory. The band tackles classic themes with both sincerity and fresh wit, with the help of band leader Alex Caress, whose songwriting will “make you weep openly in your whiskey.”(Nashville Scene)