Archive for the Jompson Brothers Band 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.”

Weekend YouTube: Jayhawks & Jompson Brothers

Posted in Jompson Brothers Band, The Jayhawks on January 22, 2011 by AmericanaPulse

I spent a good deal of time this week listening to the reissued and expanded versions of two classic Jayhawks records.  Tomorrow the Green Grass and Hollywood Town Hall both got the special treatment this week in preparation of the release of a brand new Jayhawks record in 2011.

Here are two classic Jayhawks tracks to get you through the weekend.

One from Hollywood Town Hall…

And one from Tomorrow the Green Grass

On a completely unrelated note…

I finally got to see The Jompson Brothers play last weekend when they made a stop in Knoxville. This is the new project from Chris Stapleton, formerly of The Steeldrivers.  I’ll have some more thoughts on The Jompsons in a few days.  In the meantime, here’s a vid of their show in Knoxville.

Friday Notes: Chely Wright, Tift Merritt, & More

Posted in Chely Wright, Jompson Brothers Band, The Steeldrivers, Tift Merritt on June 18, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown out a notes column. So… Here we go.

*** First. Don’t forget to register for the Mary Gauthier giveaway contest. I’ve had a nice response so far, but would still like to see more people register. Leave a comment here, send me an email, or comment on the blog’s facebook page to enter.

*** I never really listened much (or at all) to Chely Wright when she was topping the Country Music charts a decade ago with songs like “Single White Female.” I’ll have to admit, though, that all the publicity surrounding Wright’s recent personal announcement and release of her new album Lifted Off the Ground intrigued me. She had a personal story to tell and got Rodney Crowell involved to help her tell it. I’m also always happy to see someone leave behind the pre-fab world of Music Row to make an organic and honest record. And honesty is the key word here. By being honest with herself and her fans about who she really is, Wright is able to be honest with her music as well.

You can go here to read the full review of Chely Wright’s Lifted Off the Ground that I wrote for Country Standard Time.
Chely Wright: Broken (Buy Album)
*** Back in April, I told you officially what I had already known for a while… Chris Stapleton is no longer with The Steeldrivers. While this is devastating news to most, there are a couple of silver linings to the cloud. The first is that The Steeldrivers are continuing as a band with Gary Nichols handling the vocals. Even better news is that, before leaving the band, Stapleton went into the studio with the original group to record their sophomore album.
But, that’s all old news. The new news is that that The Steeldrivers’ sophomore album, Reckless, will be released in September from Rounder Records. I’ll be waiting very impatiently for that album to arrive. While you’re waiting for Reckless to arrive, you can listen to Stapleton wail with his rocking new project, The Jompson Brothers.

*** Finally… You’ll want to be sure to tune in to the Feature at Five this coming Wednesday on WDVX. I’ll be hosting the Feature that day, and I’ll be joined in the studio by none other than Tift Merritt for an interview and performance. Merritt is in Knoxville Wednesday for a concert at The Square Room as part of her tour to support her new album See You on the Moon (listen to my review here).

You can listen to the interview live Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 (Eastern) by following the Listen Live link on the WDVX website. Later that night, Merritt will perform with opening act Thad Cockrell at The Square Room. Cockrell will also perform live on WDVX earlier in the day. He’ll appear on The Blue Plate Special at noon. You can hear that performance live as well.
And just so you know that I listened to those of you who voted in the poll for me to include mp3’s with my audio reviews… this is “Mixtape” from See You on the Moon. Sorry to leave you all hanging last time. Speaking as the kid who used to record songs straight to tape off the radio and still makes an annual “Best of The Year” mix CD each December… I can really relate to this one.
Tift Merritt: Mixtape (Buy Album)

Notes for a Friday

Posted in Jompson Brothers Band, Robbie Fulks, Wilco on February 13, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

*** This is The Jompson Brothers Band (and friends)… a new Rock & Roll ensemble out of Nashville.

Yes… that is Chris Stapleton of The Steeldrivers on the left in this picture. He’s the lead vocalist and guitar player for the Jompson Brothers Band and a vocal force as always. The guy in the middle is J.T. Cure, the bass player, and another talented acquaintance of mine from Morehead State University back home in Kentucky.

The Jompson Brothers Band is still working on its first album… so I don’t have any tracks yet. You can hear part of a live demo and watch a few videos on the band’s myspace page. Head on over there and “Go Jomp Yourself.”

***Over at Star Maker Machine this week, we are celebrating the year 1989. Head on over there now for your fix of all things B-52’s, Martika, and The Lemonheads. My only contribution so far highlights Rhett Miller’s ultra-rare 1989 solo album, Mythologies. If you want to know what the Old 97’s frontman sounded like as an 18-year-old high school student… go check it out.

***This is why I love Robbie Fulks. Later this month, Robbie will release 50 brand new songs… all at the same time… at his website, http://www.robbiefulks.com/. Robbie’s last studio album, Georgia Hard, came out nearly four years ago. I’ll be very interested to hear something new from my favorite Americana smart-ass.

***Tomorrow is Valentines Day, and Wilco has a little advice for all of us guys out there of what not to do tomorrow… “Forget the Flowers.”

Wilco: Forget the Flowers (Buy Album)