Archive for the Chris Stapleton Category

The Jompson Brothers

Posted in Chris Stapleton, Jompson Brothers Band on January 24, 2011 by AmericanaPulse

2011 is a strange time.

Robert Plant, perhaps the greatest vocalist in Rock & Roll history has a chance to win a Grammy in the Americana category when the awards are handed out next month.  This, just two years after winning in a Folk category for his collaboration with bluegrass legend Alison Krauss.

On the flip side, we have Chris Stapleton, who is nominated for multiple Grammy awards this year in a variety of country and bluegrass categories, and has already won an award from the International Bluegrass Music Association for his work with his former band The Steeldrivers.  Of course, Stapleton’s new project is a hard rock outfit called The Jompson Brothers.  Their sound is a fairly heavy brand of guitar rock that is much closer to Ozzy Osbourne than Bobby Osborne.

To say this new endeavor is a step in a different direction for Stapleton is a bit of an understatement.  It’s more like a step, a leap, a jump, and a plane ride.

The thing is… it doesn’t really matter.  Whether backed by acoustic banjos or a distorted guitar played through a stack of amps, Stapleton’s voice becomes the focus of whatever music he’s making. Go back and listen to some of those Steeldrivers tracks where he really lets loose with his voice and growls his way through a note like he does at the end of “Midnight Train to Memphis,” and it isn’t that hard to imagine him in the arena rock setting.

This is about the point where I should mention, for those of you who don’t know, that I’ve known and been good friends with Chris Stapleton since his family moved to my hometown when we were both in the second grade.  I’ve probably heard him sing as much as anyone over the last 25 years, and no matter the setting or the style, the power of his voice has never been in doubt.

As Tony Lawson, my program director at WDVX, said to me last week when talking about Stapleton, “Talent is talent, and it’s going to shine through.”  Again, it isn’t the style that’s important… the substance is there.

The same is true for Jompson Brothers bass player JT Cure.  Cure is another acquaintance of mine from my college days at Morehead State University, and until now I’d only ever seen him play the stand up bass in old-time string bands.  It was a bit of a shock to hear him forming the backbone of a band as muscular and powerful as The Jompson Brothers, but he handles the transition as naturally as Stapleton and fits right into the Rock & Roll format.

I’m less familiar with the band’s other two members, lead guitarist Greg McKee and drummer Bard McNamee, but no less impressed.  Next to Stapleton’s voice, McKee’s licks are the standout feature of the Jompson sound and are ready-made for the arena.  McNamee joins with Cure to keep everything locked in and on time.  It’s a solid four piece group.

The Jompson Brothers made their Knoxville debut last weekend to a curious crowd at the WDVX Blue Plate Special anxious to hear the new project from Stapleton.  Later that night, they played to a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Preservation Pub.  Stapleton told me after the show that a lot of the faces he saw near the stage at the Pres Pub were the same faces he saw at WDVX earlier in the day.  It was just one more validation of the diversity of WDVX listeners and the talent on the stage at both performances.

For those who missed the two Knoxville gigs, don’t worry.  The Jompson Brothers have some more shows lined up around the south in the next few months, including a return trip to Knoxville in March.  They have also just released their self-titled debut record, and it is guaranteed to satisfy and hard rock cravings you may be having.  Here’s a taste…

The Jompson Brothers: Motor Running (Buy Album)

…and a bonus video of the Jompson Brothers taking their shot at The Steeldrivers’ “Midnight Train to Memphis.”

Friday Notes: Parsons, Adams, & WDVX Birthdays

Posted in Chris Stapleton, Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams, WDVX on November 5, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

*Gram Parsons was born November 5, 1946 in Winter Haven, Florida.  He passed away in September of 1973 following an overdose in Joshua Tree, California.  One year after Parsons’ death, Ryan Adams was born on November 5, 1974 in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Parsons was one of the most influential artists of the Country Rock movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s thanks to his solo work and his time with The International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers.  Adams was one of the most influential artists of the Country Rock movement of the 90’s and 2000’s thanks to his solo work and his time with the band Whiskeytown.

Parsons called his sound Cosmic American Music.  Adams helped carry the flag for the Alt-Country and Americana labels.

Parsons sounded great singing with Emmylou Harris.  Adams sounded great singing with Emmylou Harris.

Anyone believe in reincarnation?

Gram Parsons: In My Hour of Darkness (Buy Album)
Ryan Adams: Oh My Sweet Carolina (Buy Album)

*Today is also the day we celebrate the birthday of WDVX and thirteen years of bringing great Americana music to Knoxville and East Tennessee.  We’ll be celebrating all day today in our downtown studios at the Knoxville Visitors Center. You can stop by anytime help to us celebrate, pick up your premium item from the Fall Fund Drive, or make a donation to help keep the music going.

The celebration culminates tonight with Ferd’s Friday beginning at 6:00.  Ferd Moyse from the Hackensaw Boys and some of his friends will perform a free concert at the Visitors Center to help us celebrate.  Portions of the performance will be broadcast live on WDVX and WDVX.com.

*Finally, a note for those of you wondering what Chris Stapleton has been up to since leaving The Steeldrivers earlier this year.  Stapleton did an interview with the Houston Press where he talks about his songwriting and his current rock band, The Jompson Brothers.

It’s funny.  I distinctly remember listening to the Hootie and the Blowfish album Cracked Rear View with Chris back in high school.  Now he’s co-writing #1 Country singles with Darius Rucker.