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Star & Micey Celebrate 10 Years

The members of Memphis folk-pop band Star & Micey radiate a solidarity that calls to mind a Southern Fab Four-era Beatles, an impression that was driven home for me when I met Josh Cosby and Nick Redmond, the main songwriting duo, for coffee. The two look like an odd couple, the scholar and the handyman, but they field interview questions like an Olympic volleyball team. Cosby sets up a joke, and Redmond spikes it, or vice versa, again and again, putting proof to the fact that the two have spent a decade leaning on and learning from each other on stages and in the studio.

All that hard work pays off, as this month, Star & Micey celebrate 10 years as a band, a mile marker few groups ever reach. The festivities kicked off two weeks ago with an anniversary show at Railgarten, and continue this weekend at the Levitt Shell with a long-awaited co-headlining concert with Memphis indie-pop heavyweights Snowglobe.

"Jeff Hulett from Snowglobe is my neighbor," Cosby says. "We've been throwing it around: 'When are Snowglobe and Star & Micey going to play together?'"

The 10-year mark represents an unusual time in the life of Star & Micey. Having recently amiably ended a near-decade-long contract with Ardent, the band is in uncharted territory. Cosby and Redmond seem happy, open to the possibility of a new direction and pleased with a summer bookended by a spot on the Beale Street Music Fest lineup and a hometown blowout show at the Shell. But after six-and-a-half years of near-constant touring and almost a full decade with the same label, the band is taking stock. "For the first time in 10 years," Redmond says, "we're 100 percent free agents — and with a stack of material."

But let's back up. Redmond was already working at the famed Ardent Studios when Cosby and bassist Geoff Smith welcomed him into the band, so it was natural that they wound up at the Memphis label when the time came to sign a deal.

Star & Micey toured, released an EP and a full-length with Ardent, learned to play drums with their feet, toured some more, and added a drummer, Jeremy Stanfill. Their shows became more extravagant. "It was crazy. There was confetti; there were back flips," Cosby says. They released a third record, Get 'Em Next Time, in collaboration with Ardent and Thirty Tigers (who handled distribution), made a few laps around the U.S. and Canada, and went back to stomping their feet for a while. "In the meantime, we had recorded five records that just sat on the shelf," Redmond says.

"Contractually, we had to stay," Redmond says of the label entanglements that left them tied to the studio but unable to release their newest recordings. And after the deaths in 2014 of Ardent founder John Fry and John Hampton, one of the studio's chief producers, there was no one to let the band go. "I don't think there's blame," Redmond says. "We got lost in the cracks."

Meanwhile, over at Thirty Tigers, the death of vice president and co-founder Bob Goldstone sent the company into a period of drastic change. Star & Micey was locked into a deal with Ardent with no one to handle distribution. Eventually, after years in a sort of limbo, the contract was dissolved.

Now it's back to the band's origins. "I jumped in the van, and we took off — for 10 years," Redmond laughs. Those first tours built the band's chops and taught them how to depend on each other, how to survive long days in a van, and how to roll with the punches.

"If something happens, we'll all show up," Redmond says, demonstrating the Get 'Em Next Time ethos that so defines the band. "We've all decided, all four of us, this isn't over," Cosby says, putting words to a feeling that permeated the conversation from start to finish. Never for a moment did I doubt that, even after 10 years, Star & Micey have a lot more to give.

Star & Micey and Snowglobe play the Levitt Shell, Friday, September 14th, 7 p.m. Free.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Inductees
(image) The Memphis Music Hall of Fame just announced this year's inductees, who officially enter the ranks of honorees at the induction ceremony this November. The Hall of Fame, a nonprofit set up in 2012 and administered by the  Memphis Rock N' Soul Museum, now celebrates the works of over seventy artists or groups, and shows no signs of lacking local talent for future recognition.

This year's inductees are, as usual, giants in their respective genres. We pay tribute to them here with clips of them working their magic onstage. Towering over them all is the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who died just last month. She will be paid a special tribute in November's ceremony, as the Hall of Fame honors a legend who called Memphis her birthplace.

Another soul giant, Eddie Floyd, will also be inducted this year. The writer and hit performer behind "Knock on Wood" and many other Stax hits, Floyd's songs were interpreted by nearly every Stax artist. Naturally, not a year has gone by without at least one artist from the label being inducted.

O'Landa Draper
, the Grammy Award-winning gospel singer and director of the Associates Choir, was considered one of the top gospel artists of the 1990s. He too will join the ranks of honorees this year. Though not born in Memphis, Draper moved to Memphis at the age of 13 and attended Overton High School and the University of Memphis.

At today's announcement event, there was some light-hearted discussion of whether Draper could be honored in the same program as fellow 2018 inductees, 8 Ball & MJG. They will be, we were assured, but the musical numbers won't be juxtaposed. The rap duo are on a roll lately, ramping up their live appearances and continuing to drop new albums. (See our recent profile of them below).

In keeping with the Hall of Fame's tradition of inducting groups as well as solo artists, the Box Tops were also added this year. With Big Star having been inducted in 2014, this makes for two groups associated with Alex Chilton getting the nod. Could he be recognized as a solo artist in his own right one day? In any case, the announcement also named checked original members Danny Smythe, Bill Cunningham, and Gary Talley, as well as 1968 additions Rick Allen and Thomas Boggs. The fabulous guitar in this video clip was not mentioned by name.

Another group, arguably far more groundbreaking than the Box Tops, was also recognized: The Rock and Roll Trio, responsible for the groundbreaking "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and other rockabilly masterpieces. Driven by the savvy guitar attack of Paul Burlison, brothers and Memphis natives Dorsey and Johnny Burnette took the world by storm, once upon a time. Here they are from 1956.

And finally, another legend from the first days of Elvis, who most certainly has not left the building, is George Klein, the pioneering DJ and rock 'n' roll television host who was critical to giving regional bands exposure via his programming. He was also an early friend to the King, and had the honor of inducting Elvis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He'll be honored with the other performers above (for he, in his own way, was an artist as well) at the induction ceremony, scheduled for November 1st at the Cannon Center. Here's George sharing a strange moment with the great Sam Phillips.
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