Lightning 100 brings you our critically acclaimed weekly concert series featuring national, regional and local artists. The show broadcasts live from 3rd & Lindsley on Sundays from 8-10 PM.
When it comes to down ’n’ dirty roots ’n’ roll, nobody in the wide world of Americana music today does it better than Ray Wylie Hubbard. Except, it seems, for Hubbard himself. After riding a decade-long career resurgence into the national spotlight with 2012’s acclaimed The Grifter’s Hymnal and his first ever appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman (“I didn’t want to peak too soon,” quips Hubbard, 68), the iconoclastic Texas songwriter is back to continue his hot streak with The Ruffian’s Misfortune — his 16th album (and third on his own Bordello Records, via Thirty Tigers) — due out April 7, 2015.
Shelly Fairchild instantly wowed critics with her 2005 recording debut, “Ride,” which spawned the Billboard Hot Country Songs top 40 hit “You Don’t Lie Here Anymore.” The ferocious stage performer blew her fans away once again in 2011 with “Ruby’s Money,” her sophomore record release —with her intent to transform the sound of modern soul.
The seasoned stage veteran (who carried leading roles in the musicals “Beehive: The 60s Musical” and “Always Patsy Cline” and has supported superstars like Trace Adkins and Rascal Flatts in concert) easily converted followers with the blues- and R&B-infused testimony she was born to spread. Growing up in Jackson, Miss., where Aretha Franklin once recorded at Malaco Studios, Fairchild absorbed the blues throughout her childhood. “It was kind of everywhere you went,” she recalls. “I grew up in a family where they loved music and my dad listened to a lot of country, and then I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, so that’s where gospel really came in.”
When she hit Nashville to kick off her music career, she landed on Columbia thanks to performing a live rendition of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and a few Patty Griffin songs in the label’s office. “I had this bluesy, soulful element that I always wanted to bring to my music no matter what, and they let me do that. But I had to stay within certain parameters on my first record,” Fairchild says of “Ride,” which brought her mainstream attention and praise from such publications as People and American Songwriter Magazine. “It was a good first project for me. It was really amazing to make a record in Nashville.” She compares her departure from the label “to graduating from high school to college. I feel like I learned so much. It was like my school and then I developed who I was as a songwriter and got on to the next phase of my life.”
With the release of “Ruby’s Money” on her own Revelation Nation Records, Fairchild took complete control of her music. For the project, Fairchild and Smith (who acted as producer) erected a new-millennium soul sound that’s housed within a framework established by icons like Ike & Tina Turner, Sly & the Family Stone, Isaac Hayes and Barry White. “I hear music a certain way, certain syncopations and things that are a lot different than the feel in the ’70s. But I want to have songs that have the same sort of impact of those songs from that era,” Fairchild says. “That’s what I try to do: take what I know now and what I feel I know now with what I know about then and how I feel listening to music from back then.”
“I used to be so scared of being independent,” she admits of deciding to release “Ruby’s Money” on her own instead of shopping it to a major label. “But as soon as I became independent I felt like every possibility, every opportunity, everything was so open. Making “Ruby’s Money” and all of the current music that I am working on makes me feel as if my soul is unleashed. I am able to sing how I sing and make choices that I make in a ‘LIVE’ setting. I feel so open and I feel so many acts—so many great, solid artists that we know and love—are finding themselves somehow independent and making it work in a BIG way. I think the possibilities for them, and for me, are endless.”
Nashville 8-piece ELEL had a big summer. Their debut track ” 40 Watt”, an effervescent blast of feel good indie pop, drew comparisons to the likes of Vampire Weekend and MGMT, winning over a slew of blogs, radio stations (Alt Nation, WFUV, KCRW) and affording them the opportunity to perform at Bonnaroo Festival, SXSW and Treefort Music Festivlal. The band are set to release their debut EP on Mom + Pop Music this March.
ELEL, consisting of two horns, two drums, three keys ,guitar, bass and whole lot of vocals, was born from front man Ben Elkins meeting a girl named Elisa. Ben’s now wife softened his edges while introducing him to the likes of Beach House and Toro Y Moi. Speaking on ELEL, Ben says “ It’s the outcome of me producing music that risks leaving space and communicates emotion easily and softly.” This band represents a new start for its members, for a variety of reasons. Tied together by the bustling Nashville music scene but from an array of locations, ELEL includes Ben (Arkansas), Zach (Kentucky), Tim (Mississippi), Jo Jo (Queens, NY), Alex (Pennsylvania), and life-long Nashvillians (so far) Frederick, Jerry and Stefan. According to Ben, “40 Watt is a big loud dance song about dancing with one other person in a little bitty house.’ We have more exciting news very soon.
Perhaps sometime in the early 90’s Ben Jaffe and Suzanne Santo passed each other on a turnpike or east coast beltway in transit on a family road trip getaway. Perhaps their families stopped at the same Maryland welcome center and 9 year old Ben and Suzanne stared at the same bag of cheezits in a vending machine, turned to each other and said “ Hey homey, let’s meet up in Los Angeles in ten years and start a folk band that will turn into a folk rock band that will turn into a full throttle rock all the way band.”
Either way, the coalescence of HONEYHONEY has been nothing short of a predetermined soul contract amongst two alien hybrids that came here to spread sweet jams, inappropriate stage banter and insightful beliefs and thoughts via the clubs, festivals, theaters, internets, and Joe Rogan podcasts of the world. Their menagerie of sounds covers many traditional genres ranging from blues/rock and folk, to hip hop and jungle cat, which can explain why they’ve toured alongside the diverse likes of Sheryl Crow, James Morrison, Christina Perri, Trampled by Turtles, Xavier Rudd and Jake Bugg. They have a tendency to fit in everywhere from their performances for the bootyshort-wearing throngs of Coachella to the lawnchair-toting masses of the Newport Folk Festival. Their love for the music they create and their friendship in this life are like a sacred egg that continues to be incubated with the utmost tender care.
As they are in the middle of recording their third record, the rumors of it’s evolved eargasmic potential have been spreading like a fungus that you won’t want to get rid of. It has been said that you can expect a twist on their previous album releases that brings them to the level known as “ballin”.
In their passionate endeavor to spread love and joy through their tunes, the now 20 something year old Ben and Suzanne have honored and appreciated their journey of rock thus far and will continue to do so until the mothership calls them home.