November 13, 2017

The Soundtrack of Tennessee: It’s The Music That Makes Us

It was a pleasure talking with The Tennessean about Memphis in this article on the current state of music from all across our state.

“You’ll never reach the bottom of Memphis’ music well,” said musician John Paul Keith before his Friday night gig at the Blues City Cafe on Beale Street. He’s right. Trying to tackle the town’s myriad venues, music museums and historic studios in a single day, as we did, is a task that falls somewhere between overwhelming and impossible.

“Memphis has always had its own thing going, regardless of genre, and it’s been flourishing in the past few years. … It’s the busiest I’ve seen (the scene), and the most exciting. There’s a whole different vibe.”

August 8, 2017

“A Boy From Tupelo: A Short Film” by Robert Gordon

It was an honor to appear in A Boy From Tupelo: A Short Film, directed by Robert Gordon. The film has been released in conjunction with the new Elvis Presley box set from Sony Legacy, A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings. My Motel Mirrors bandmate Amy LaVere and I got to interview Kenny Black, brother of Bill Black, and rockabilly singer and James Cannon, who was a neighbor of Elvis’s from the Lauderdale Courts days. You can watch the entire film here.

The film features appearances by Jerry Phillips and J.M. Van Eaton, both of whom will be appearing as special guests at my Salute to Sun Records this Sunday, August 13 at Graceland’s Soundstage A, as part of Elvis Week 2017. Get your tickets here.

July 27, 2017

Upcoming Tour Dates and Special Events

Lots of big things happening in the coming weeks. I’ll be heading out on tour in August up through the Midwest with my band Motel Mirrors, including August 2nd when we open for the great Lucinda Williams at Knucklehead’s in Kansas City. I’ll also be doing my own set at the Lowertown Guitar Festival in Saint Paul, MN August 5th.

On August 12th, I’ll be playing the Jam For Justice benefit at Loflin Yard in Memphis, to benefit the Community Legal Center, an organization providing civil legal services for those of modest means, including immigration law. It’s an important cause and I’m happy to contribute.

August 13th I have the honor of hosting a Salute to Sun Records at Graceland’s Soundstage A for Elvis Week 2017. The band will feature Will Tucker (he played Scotty Moore in CMT’s recent drama, Sun Records) and Brad Birkedahl (who played Scotty in the film Walk the Line). Special guests will include Jerry Phillips, Sam Phillip’s son, and J.M. Van Eaton, who was a session drummer at Sun and played on all of Jerry Lee Lewis’s hits. Elvis Week 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of the King, so this is a huge honor. We did this Sun tribute twice at Lafayette’s over the past year, and both shows were highlights for me. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m going to be one of three judges at this year’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artists Competition at Graceland. As my buddy George Klein aka “the G-ker in your speaker” likes to say, America has had 45 Presidents, but only one King.

I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be heading over to Europe in September playing guitar for my buddy Coco Hames, who has a wonderful debut album out on Merge. We’re bringing my rhythm section with us, Preston Rumbaugh and Shawn Zorn, and we’ll be hitting some places I’ve never been.

I’m also chomping at the bit to announce the upcoming release date for both the Motel Mirrors full-length debut, In the Meantime, and my new solo record Heart Shaped Shadow. We’re dropping both records together on the same date on Last Chance Records. Stay tuned!

I’m gigging around Memphis all the time, too, so check out the tour dates page for a complete listing of local gigs. Full list of upcoming tour dates and special events below. Those with an asterisk are JPK/Motel Mirrors double bills:

7/28 Clarksdale, MS – Shack Up Inn
8/2 Kansas City, MO – Knucklehead’s (Lucinda Williams with special guests Motel Mirrors)
8/3 Springfield, IL – Bar None *
8/4 Mankato, MN – Nakato Bar *
8/5 Saint Paul, MN – Lowertown Guitar Festival
8/6 Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge *
8/12 Memphis, TN – Jam For Justice, Loflin Yard
8/13 Memphis, TN – Graceland (A Salute to Sun Records)

Coco Hames European Tour:
9/19 London, UK – The Old Blue Last
9/20 Paris, FR – La Maroquinerie (w/ Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
9/21 Amsterdam, NE – Paradiso (Indiestadt 2017)
9/23 Copenhagen, DK – Loppen
9/24 Aarhus, DK – Atlas
9/26 Berlin, DE – Privatclub (w/ The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer)
9/28 Vienna, AT – Vienna Waves Festival
10/3 Madrid, ES – Café Berlin

(More European dates TBA)

June 8, 2017

Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records

I’m honored to have contributed to Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records, which comes out this month thanks to the Americana Music Society, with all proceeds going to benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital. The album was recorded at both Sun Studio and Sam Phillips Recording Service, produced by Tamara Saviano and Luther Dickinson, and engineered by Matt Ross-Spang and Kevin Houston. I was in the house band on guitar, and I contributed a track, my version of Warren Smith’s “Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache.” The Memphis Flyer has a nice story about the tune, and you can listen below.

March 8, 2017

My New Blog:

I’m happy to announce the launch of a new venture, New Memphis Beat, a blog covering the Memphis recording industry.

New Memphis Beat grew out of our desire to tell the continuing story of music being made in Memphis studios.

Few cities can boast of as many historically significant, still-operational, and analog-capable studios as Memphis. And while it’s true that Memphis has one of the richest and deepest musical legacies of any city in the world, it also has one of the brightest futures. The reason? Its world-class studios and recording professionals.

Please bookmark the site, and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Here goes nothin’.