More Stories
MonoNeon Featured in Bandcamp Daily
(image) It's no secret that the most reliable and widely-used online platform for independent artists today is Most unsigned acts, and an ever-increasing number of established labels, have Bandcamp pages. So it is with local hero MonoNeon, who has parlayed his online presence into a global fanbase who eagerly await his many split-screen videos on YouTube. MonoNeon is no stranger to Bandcamp, releasing nearly all of his self-produced albums and EP's via the platform.

Thus, it comes as no surprise, but nonetheless a delight, that Bandcamp has turned its own power of exposure on MonoNeon himself, featuring him in today's Bandcamp Daily under the title, "MonoNeon, the Funk Bass Maestro Carrying the Torch of Duchamp." See our recent article for more about MonoNeon's background and accomplishments. Then head over to to read Daniel Schwartz's informed and witty take on his career thus far, with oodles of audio clips.

And don't forget to check out the latest videos on MonoNeon's YouTube channel. Here's one posted earlier this week, "When The Neon Pearly Gates Open" (featuring Daru Jones & Lance Lucas) a video filmed by Aiko Tanaka at Electric Garden in Brooklyn, NY. It's a tune off his latest album, I Don’t Care Today (Angels & Demons in Lo – Fi), released earlier this year on — you guessed it — Bandcamp.

Four Exhibitions at Rhodes College

The 2018 Senior Thesis Exhibition, Enter Through the Window, opens with a reception in the gallery on Friday, April 20 from 5:00 – 7:00. It features the work of graduating seniors Reagan Alley, Frank Beiser, Mattie Boyd, Erin Burman, Hope Hudson, and Olivia Thomas. It will be on view through April 27th.

Additionally, Clough-Hanson Gallery is pleased to sponsor three exhibitions organized by students in the Curation in Context class. All three feature local artists and will take place in spaces throughout Memphis:

Art & Space and Space & Art
Wednesday, April 18th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Uptown on 7th, 599 N Seventh Street
Featuring Matthew Berry, Rev Neil Down, Christopher Owen, Terance Brown, Tad Pierson, and Shelby Payne. Organized by Frank Beiser.
“Art & Space and Space & Art” is a collection of personal works including paintings, drawings, videos, and sculptures, all held in a recently finished gallery space. The show takes a comprehensive look at both the architectural and artistic sensibilities of the artists being shown. The art calls attention to the space, and the space calls attention to the art, revealing aspects of both that would have otherwise been left unseen.

Grace Porter: I’ve Had Some Time to Think About It
Saturday, April 21st from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Everbloom Designs, 2489 Broad Avenue
Featuring Grace Porter. Organized by Charlotte Sechrist and Casey Iskra.
“I’ve Had Some Time to Think About It” is an exploration of memory. For Grace, her process is a chance to play, investigate, and absorb the world. Grace’s recent work touches specifically upon memory—how strong it is, how it is weakened over time, and the images and feelings that are stored away in one’s mind.

Text [subtext]
Sunday, April 22nd from 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Evergreen Presbyterian, 1567 Overton Park Ave
Featuring Lauren Blair. Organized by Bonnie Whitehouse and Sarah Hatfield.
“Text [subtext]” brings together a selection of works from Blair’s studio practice including photography, pastel works, and collage that Lauren Blair has produced over the past two years as they have begun their medical gender transition. Interested in the connections between transitioning and mental health, Blair has inspected their own experience and noted daily moods and actions on a series of calendars that become like abstracted, time-specific self portraits; snapshots of moments through a medical, but also deeply intimate and personal, transition.
Tonight's "Tambourine Bash" to Raise Funds for Touring Musicians
(image) In case you hadn't noticed, Memphis is exploding with musical creativity these days. Acts as diverse as Nots, Aquarian Blood, Ghost Town Blues Band, MonoNeon, Motel Mirrors, the Bo-Keys, and Jack Oblivian are traveling the world, each carrying their own vision of the Bluff City with them. Indeed, the road is the surest way to make a livelihood in music. But it's a tough way to make a buck.

How can bands keep taking the Memphis sound to the world, in spite of the touring life's difficulties?

Elizabeth Cawein, of local nonprofit Music Export Memphis (MEM), was contemplating just such a question. MEM, of course, is dedicated to promoting local bands, artists, and studios on a global level, having sponsored Memphi-centric revues and soirees at massive industry confabs like SXSW or AmericanaFest, and promoted cross-cultural exchanges between artists from here and England, among other things.

Perhaps taking her cue from foreign arts programs that often subsidize traveling acts who represent their countries, Cawein hit upon the idea of a local nonprofit that will do the same thing for the Bluff City. Thus was born the Ambassador Grant, a new MEM program just on the cusp of being realized. To kick it off with a splash, MEM is hosting yet another soiree, this time to rally the hometown team. The audience is anyone who wants to support local musicians and the little piece of Memphis they carry on their journey.

Starting with the premise that touring artists based in Memphis will always be sharing the Memphis music story, the Ambassador Grant aims to provide tour support and messaging guidance for them to do it more effectively. MEM is now raising funds to pilot the program with its first-ever benefit, The Tambourine Bash, tonight at Old Dominick Distillery. MEM director Elizabeth Cawein hopes to garner enough support for five to 10 artists, with an initial goal of $10,000.

Artists approved for the Ambassador grant will learn how to share their own Memphis stories. During this training, MEM will help them create content to share (like videos, playlists, blog posts and more) and give them postcards for their merch tables at each show. When they return home, they’ll be asked to provide feedback and some anecdotal reporting.

Artists will be selected for the grant by the Music Export Memphis board based on quality of music, strength of social media engagement and tour schedule. There are no genre restrictions to receive the grant. The dollar amount for each grant will be determined based on the number of dates the band is playing and the geographic reach.

The Tambourine Bash will include craft beer from Crosstown Brewing Company (included with your general admission ticket), Old Dominick cocktails designed by mixologist and musician Sean Murphy (included with your VIP ticket), and live music by The Shotgunbillys and Chinese Connection Dub Embassy. Delicious eats by Chef Shawn Davis, Locals & Legends: A Decade of Erf, and rockstar photo booth designed by Jamie Harmon of Amurica Photo.  $25 General Admission, $50 VIP
Lucero: Redefining the Memphis Sound for Two Decades
(image) The Lucero Family Block Party has become an institution here in their hometown, as has the band itself. Pursuing a relentless touring schedule, with a dozen albums under their belt, they've built a devoted national following and have become de facto ambassadors of Memphis. They're still close to the hearts of many Memphians, but it was nevertheless a little surprising to find that Mayor Jim Strickland had declared tomorrow, April 14th, Lucero Day, citing them as “a source of inspiration, encouragement, and strength for listeners all over the world.” They've come a long way for a band whose founders had their roots in DIY punk, even if their mission quickly became the pursuit of a soulful country rock hybrid that's all their own. As I spoke with guitarist Brian Venable today on the occasion of their 20th birthday party (tonight) and their block party (tomorrow), it became clear that there is still a healthy dollop of punk philosophy in what they do.

Memphis Flyer: So today is the band's birthday?

Brian Venable: We played our first show on Friday the 13th, exactly 20 years ago. I've been, I guess you would call it hoarding. I have 20 years of notes and papers and art and snapshots and old flyers. So tonight from 6-9 there's a free party at the 1884 Lounge. We won't be playing. On the stage we'll have some old guitars, Roy's old drums, John's upright, and two display tables that'll have things like the notebook where I wrote "Lucero" for the first time, lyrics, and other memorabilia. There will be old Memphis Flyer covers, calendars from the 90s; we did skateboards and I have the original art. Just neat stuff. Not very many bands make it 20 years without breaking up. So it's kind of a milestone for us as individuals and as a band in Memphis.

We've got a new album coming out and it's done and it's bad ass. I think, for us, it's like, “Holy crap, how did we make this amazing record?” And so we're still doing new things. But looking back, and preparing for tonight, I was like, “I need to get all of this weird garbage out of my house and let people look at it. And put it somewhere else, maybe!”

Tomorrow is gonna be so hectic that tonight is just like, “Come! Hang out!” Tonight's our actual birthday. You can get drinks and look at stuff. It'll be nice just to breathe and celebrate for a minute, 'cos tomorrow we'll be running around like crazy.

Where was y'all's first gig?

We played at a place on Huling Street, on the corner across from the Lorraine Motel. Some friends of mine lived there. It was an art space that had a little stage and they'd have shows. Today on my Instagram I posted the first flyer for the first show. It was me and Ben and Jeremy Freeze actually played bass and Shane Callaway played drums. It was a different lineup. They played two shows with us. Within nine months, though, we had Roy [Berry] and John C. [Stubblefield], the lineup that we have now. Which is kinda crazy. It wasn't a joke by any stretch; we just wanted to make a demo tape and maybe a 7 inch. I didn't know how to play guitar. Ben had only played bass in every band he'd been in up until then. So...talent is a wonderful thing, but perseverance is just as important.

Do you still include stuff from those early days in your set?

Yeah! Tomorrow we're playing "All the Same to Me," which was one of the first songs we played. Every once in a while we'll reach back. This next record coming out is our 12th. We play two hours & 15 minutes a night, on average, and we pull from all the records. But yeah, we'll drop down and play old shit left and right. It's amazing that people you know were not there, that never saw it, but I guess have the records, will scream out songs and we'll be like "How do you know that song??"

You guys have very devout fans.

They're wonderful fans... I'm glad they're ours. 'Cos they can be butt holes to other people sometimes. They are very rabid and very loyal. And very opinionated, it seems. Just like us, I guess.

So you guys were into punk and metal before you started the band?

I was raised on punk. But by age 25 there's a point where you're like, “This music sucks. I'm tired of all the scenester music.” It's hard to be thinking, "That girl broke my heart," when you're listening to [D.S. 13 song] "NATO SUCKS, RAWWWRRR!" or whatever. All of the sudden you buy that used Lynyrd Skynyrd record and you're like, "This isn't as bad as they say!" From there it was "T for Texas, T for Tennessee" by Jimmie Rodgers, and that led to the Carter Family, which led to bluegrass, which brought me back up to Hank Williams.

Now, everybody calls us alt-country still, and I'm like "Man, I listen to old rock-steady, freaky 70s jazz, and opera!" Literally that's all I listen to right now. After 20 years it's turned into a lot more than alt-country. But at the time, it was, "We wanna be the Replacements and Tom Waits and the Pogues." And then we proceeded to get annihilated for the next six years, play really shitty, write some really good songs, and self-sabotage. So we hit it across the board, we got all three of them. And then at one point you wake up and you're like, "Man, I love Tom Petty." You're okay with your embarrassing influences, so to speak. I think at some point it's like, you can drink yourself to death, you can fuck off, or you can buckle down and treat it like a business. Which sounds not very artistic, but I don't wanna work at McDonald's or dig ditches. I enjoy playing music. It allows me the freedom to hang out with my kid longer than usual. And I get to play good music, so, it's kinda cool.

And you guys have really grown and evolved.

Yeah. The last three days we've been practicing and we have this set list: there's a lot of new songs, there's a lot of old songs that we like, and a lot of the hits that might not be in it. And we're like, "We're gonna get in so much trouble. This might be the funnest set we've ever played, but they're gonna yell at us for not playing this or this or this or this." But, part of it is, you don't wanna play that song you wrote 19 years ago forever.

Would you say you all still have a bit of the punk influence in what you're doing now?

Whether it sounds punk or not, punk has informed every decision I've ever made. I'm not raising my kid punk rock, he doesn't have a Mohawk, but what I learned from punk rock and hardcore and going to shows — the medium and the message and all that — is what I'm using to raise my son or do this band. We still try to take people out on tour that need help. Like we've got Louise Page playing tomorrow, and she's a young woman who's killing it. She's playing everywhere right now and recording EPs. It's like, “Who can we help?” That's the punk rock now. Not necessarily $5 shows and all living in the same place. The part of the punk rock I liked most was discovering the new music. For instance, I keep talking about it, and everybody's losing their minds 'cos I keep buggin' them about it, but a month ago I just discovered opera! I'm like, "This is the greatest music ever in the world!" And everybody's like, "No! It's not!" But one out of every ten people are like, "Yes, it is amazing." But that's punk rock to me. I'm listening to music that everybody hates. It just happens to be 200, 300 years old.

Your guitar playing has come a long way...

I tell everybody I still can't play. I guess technically you can get worse. I had to start playing up to my pay grade, so to speak. When we brought Rick Steff and then Jim Spake in, and you've got all these amazing people around you, you're like "I gotta learn how to do this real quick." But also, whatever style I had early on, I just embraced it and kinda refined it, so I still play the same way, I just do a better job of it. And I'm old enough now to be like, "This is my style." Everybody's like, "Yeah, he's 46. Just go with that..."

Do you guys write collaboratively?

This whole last record, we went old school. We went into Sam Phillips and we had nothing. Ben had a few parts and we wrote on the floor. And in two weeks we came up with 10-11 songs. None had words, and Ben had to go write lyrics. Usually, he starts playing, him and Roy come up with a tempo, and then everybody locks in and I try to find some melody or lead line. We call it “doing the Lucero” to it. So we wrote all that stuff together, and then he put the words to it. Technically they're his songs. We're lucky that he's still writing phenomenal stuff. That's the whole thing. I'm not a lead guitar player. I don't need to be all like, "doodly wigggly doodly doodly," you know? We're all still playing around the song, which is what we've always done. Our job is to make that song sound amazing.

Do you guys still tour with horns?

Not so much. Jim might come onstage tomorrow, we're not sure. Jim was the constant.  He first came in to do demos. I said, "I want a song with a horn on it," and he played on one song, and we ended up putting horns on everything for 1372 Overton Park. And then all of the sudden he was like, "I'll go on tour." So we put a horn section together. We went through four trumpet players. For us, it became like Spinal Tap, but instead of going through drummers, it was trumpet players. It was like, “Golly!” 1372 was like, "We have a new toy, and it's called a horn section." And then on Women and Work, we were writing these songs with the horns. At one point, we just kept getting bigger. There were nine people on stage and we were like the frickin E Street Band, and we were hitting it heavy. Jim did it for five years, and then he was like, "I'm gonna stay home!" When Spake left, we kinda stripped down. We were like, “Oh, let's write some sad songs,” and we brought it back down to the five piece. Now, we're just real comfortable with where we are. We just signed with 30 Tigers, it's a brand new label. And we just went in and made the record we wanted to make. We're not really looking to prove anything to anybody. We're the old dudes now. And so you get comfortable and you just make the record you want to. I drink coffee, paint pictures, hang out with my kid, read, listen to music, go on tour for while, come home, repeat.

Lucero turns twenty today: in just one year, the band will be old enough to drink! Raise a glass to them this evening at the 1884 Lounge, starting at 6:00 pm.

Ghost Music: Mellotrons Return to Crosstown Arts

"When I'm playing a real Mellotron, it's like I'm playing ghosts," says Pat Sansone, multi-instrumentalist for Wilco, who's in town for a series of concerts this week. It's not a comment you would hear about many instruments, but the Mellotron is unique. Its immediate precursor was the Chamberlin, in which strips of audio tape triggered by a keyboard could mimic various orchestral instruments. When a Chamberlin employee absconded to England with two of the machines in 1962, he created his own consumer-oriented model, and the Mellotron was born. The new instrument, using lower fidelity recordings, tended to color the sound of the instruments with its own warble and woof. Before long, it was appearing on records by the Beatles, the Kinks, and others.

It's that slightly corrupted sound that makes the Mellotron a sought-after keyboard to this day, and it's what brought Sansone to Memphis to collaborate with three other musicians in shows using multiple Mellotrons simultaneously.

"The way the old Mellotron tapes were recorded, with the amount of degeneration that happened before they got to the machines themselves, they're just instantly evocative," Sansone explains. "There's already a sense of passed time built into those sounds. It's like a faded photograph, where you see somebody in the corner. There's a humanity creeping around inside those sounds."

It was that mechanically tweaked humanity that appealed to Winston Eggleston (the son of photographer William Eggleston) when he plunged into the world of Mellotron schematics to make his own. Eggleston, ended up building and collecting a few of them, leading his friend Robby Grant to ask, "What now?"

As Grant describes the process, "I reached out to cellist Jonathan Kirkscey and we created new music using only Mellotrons. Neither of us was a keyboard player." But technical virtuosity was not the point. All of Memphis was abuzz with the results: two sold-out shows in 2016, dubbed Duets for Mellotron.

Following the success of the duets, "a person from Crosstown mentioned an interdisciplinary NEA grant — that we eventually were awarded. What we did was make it a lot bigger," Grant says. "We're gonna put on multiple shows. The first piece will be Robert Patterson. He's a composer with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and he's gonna be contrasting the Mellotron with real flutes and real cellos in his chamber music pieces. Then, we have the New Ballet Ensemble (NBE) working with [keyboardist] Ross Rice."

The capstone of this year's project, known as Mellotron Variations, will be a performance by a quartet of Mellotron players including Grant, Kirkscey, Sansone, and jazz/funk keyboardist John Medeski, of the trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. Sansone says he's excited to be playing with Medeski. "He is such a deep musician. He's a fearless player."

For Medeski, fearlessness is key. "How do you push the limits of an instrument? That's what Hendrix and so many great musicians did. This instrument can be both a sampler and, by messing with the speed of the wheel inside it, you can be a DJ. It's really an expressive thing."

Grant and Kirkscey were committed to pushing the instrument's boundaries as well, in part by recording new sounds, previously unheard in vintage Mellotron iterations, including eerie cello and flute harmonics, backwards guitar, and children reciting spoken word pieces. Together, the four have created semi-improvised works that they'll premier this week. Medeski notes, "Improvisation is composition; it's just immediate. ... It's such a cool project, I'm just excited to be part of it."

Work by Amy Ingram-Curtis at Eclectic Eye

In this exhibition of her recent work, photographer Amy Ingram-Curtis explores the urban and natural world through infrared digital photographs. Ingram-Curtis lives and works locally and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she concentrated on visual arts and photography. She is presently active at Memphis Brooks Museum of Arts as a Docent and a member of the Memphis/Germantown Art League. The opening reception is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 13, and the show runs through May 30.
Call for Artists: Art of the South 2018

Number Presents: Art of the South 2018

Artists are invited to apply to this year's Art of the South exhibition juried by Brian Jobe, Co-Executive Director of Locate Arts, an organization that connects and promotes contemporary visual art in Tennessee. This year the Number-sponsored exhibition showcases talented southern artists in the newly opened Crosstown Arts space located in Crosstown Concourse. 
This juried exhibition is open to all artists 18 and older working in any media residing in AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, TN, TX, SC, VA, Washington, D.C., or WV. Entries must be original works created within the last 2 years. Reproductions not allowed. Works previously exhibited at Crosstown Arts are ineligible. Artists may submit up to three images with an entry fee of $35. Accepted works will be exhibited at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, TN July 27–September 2, 2018.
Important Dates
  • May 20: Entries Due
  • May 21-June 9: Jury process
  • June 10: Notifications of Acceptance
  • July 9-13: Ship to Crosstown Arts via UPS, USPS, or Fedex
  • July 16-18: Hand Delivery to Crosstown Arts, between 12-4pm
  • July 27: Opening reception Crosstown Arts, 6-8pm
  • September 2: Exhibition Closes
  • September 3, 4, 5: Pick-up Hand-Delivered Artwork, 12–4pm
  • September 6-10: Gallery Ships Work
Submission GuidelinesAll work must weigh 60 lbs or less and measure no larger than 48” in any direction. Work must be available for the duration of the exhibition. Accepted work must arrive at Crosstown by July 18. Works must arrive exhibition ready, complete with hanging wire. No saw-tooth hangers or clip frames will be accepted. Works that differ significantly from the entry image may be disqualified. Works may be shipped or hand delivered to Crosstown Arts at 1350 Concourse Ave., Suite 280, in Memphis, Tennessee 38104. Those being shipped must use plexi or acrylic, no glass. Work must use a reusable container and be accompanied by a prepaid return-shipping label. Work will be repackaged and shipped back to the artist at the close of the exhibition. Hand delivered works not picked up by the gallery’s designated pick-up date will become the property of Number: Inc.
 Entry SubmissionSubmissions will only be accepted through our online submission portal until 11:59 PM on May 20, 2018. Only digital files (JPG) at 72 ppi, with the longest side measuring 1200 pixels will be accepted. For video submissions use .mp4 or .mov using the h264 codec with a maximum runtime demo of two minutes. Formal entry file names to include artists first initial, last name, title of artwork, and submission number (i.e., j_doe_myartwork_1.jpg).
All submissions must include a completed entry form and entry fee. Entry fees will be collected at the time of submission by credit card or PayPal. You can access the submission portal by using the address below.
Artists chosen to participate will receive a loan form to be filled out and sent to Crosstown with their artwork. Crosstown Arts will include chosen works of art under its insurance policy for works of art on view in any/all of its exhibition spaces.
 Sale of ArtworkCrosstown Arts does not take any commissions from sales of artwork, and is happy to assist in facilitation of sales by accepting buyer information and payment via cash, check, or credit card to be paid to the artist within two weeks of the closing of the show. Credit cards incur a 3% fee paid directly through use of a “Square” credit card reader. There is an additional 2% added to the square charge if the actual card is not present at the time of the transaction. Crosstown Arts will handle of processing of 9.25% TN State sales tax.
PublicityNumber: Inc. and Crosstown Arts may use images of artwork accepted into the exhibition for publicity purposes. Artists agree to allow reproduction of their digital files and or photographs taken of their art for educational, publicity and archival purposes. 
Biography of the JurorBrian Russell Jobe (American, b. 1981) is an artist, educator, independent curator, and non-profit co-director based in Nashville, TN. 
In 2015, Brian and Carolyn Jobe founded Locate Arts, an organization that connects and promotes contemporary visual art in Tennessee. Presently, he is the Co-Executive Director of Locate Arts + Seed Space. He also teaches art courses at Lipscomb University.
Jobe's studio practice is focused on sculpture, installation, and public art. His solo
exhibitions/ projects have been on view at venues such as Mixed Greens Gallery (New York, NY), Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum (San Antonio, TX), the University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY), the University of Tennessee College of Architecture + Design (Knoxville, TN), and the McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, TX). Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Jobe received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tennessee in 2004 and Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2006. After living in Brooklyn, NY for a time, he relocated with his wife, painter Carolyn Jobe, to Tennessee.

More posts are loading...