Well it aint really blues but it is all about the tunes in this mid south mecca for artists and entertainers. You thought it was all blues here in Memphis huh??
I mean after all it was the International Folk Alliance Conference. So everyone was all Folked up. About 2000 performers rained down on the mecca of blues, all of it being at the downtown Marriott….unbelievable scene…the conference is a networking meet and greet monster….anyone who is anyone was here… publicists, promoters, agents, and tons of artists …. of course the artist with the mostest was Keith Sykes who’s new record “Let It Roll” (Fat Pete Records)was the buzz about the conference center.
There is more benefits to attending this conference than just meeting people and seeing great acts …they fill the day with all kinds of panels, clinics and instructional workshops to help in all facet’s of the business…. The Alliance makes available top agents, artists for workshops booking, performing, handling different ways of playing ….honing your techniques in both playing and touring.
There are songwriter workshops, house concert workshops, all kinds of stuff interrelated to the world of the music business… It’s overwhelming! I must participate in some of the events but I will tell ya pay the dues and it makes for a great musical weekend in a cool town. Last year it was in Austin, even fans should just check it out!!
I am telling ya this is cool if you’re a fan you spend the day sightseeing or sleeping or sampling the indigenous delicacies… it’s a riot!! Some of the highlights were Jed and Kelley, a really cool pair who sing great harmonies and great lyrics… Kelley is a pretty little song stress, lots o’ energy, now Jed is a young guy who picks up the other end of the harmony with great skill….these kids are going to make some noise on the circuit….watch them rise.
Andrew Hardin filled in some great guitar parts….Andrew is a great guy and also played with Jimmie LaFave and John Inmon…a cool power type trio….let the guitars ring..then there was Michael Hearne and his band south by southwest who actually made you feel like you were in the New Mexican mountains….they had such a cool sound out of three guys…neat little steal pedal and a stand-up bass plus Mike on a great sounding guitar….I mean there was the Roaches, Michell Shocked, Jessie Winchester…….yup Jessie Winchester…. See, I met him and his wife at a Guy Clark interview which was killer…the interview was with Dave Marsh whose accolades as an interviewer is so long I will tell you just to google his name…you may be surprised.
Thursday seemed to be when most of the business guys and girls showed up…you walk around and look at the names on the badges and they are all the people writing the articles in all the mags based on OKOM….meeting tons of DJ’s playing and making popular all the tunes we like from all over the country…very cool.
Friday we got to see Will Kimbrough do a couple of shows and he stopped to have dinner with Keith, Jimmy Davis and new friend I found Kenny White…Kenny come from New York and is the producer for Peter Wolf…yup the singer from the band J Giels..evidently he really rocks on his new album. Produced by Kenny.
Kenny’s performance was great..he had a great style, I kinda heard the rascals and John Sabastian… cool lyricist and an all-around great guy… I caught another act by a guy named Blair Combest, a Memphite, has a little Tom Waits type thing going…he had a good look too, kinda matched his tunes…good stories and situations. After awhile I was just strolling thru the halls and looking for names and seeing sounds…it is the most unbelievable display of artists I ever saw or heard of Friday afternoon. M (Emily) The new communications expert for Fat Pete dropped out of the sky and began to be thrown to the lions at her first Folk Alliance. She was pelted with “Hi Nice to meet you” from so many people in an unfamiliar world and she handled it like she was born for it. She did a great job and will be answering the phones at Fat Pete from now on.
Meanwhile back at the booth, Kevin Welch stopped by the booth and we had a couple of laughs with Keith, I didn’t get to hear his performance but I suppose it was good as it gets…up the hall a little was Marshall Chapman, another Keith admirer, unfortunately, I couldn’t catch her gig but I bet I would have liked it, she had a great personality.. then I spin around to run upstairs and boom banged into Chuck Pyle, The Zen Cowboy, then off to a Keith Show!
Keith played a couple of great shows… Thursday and Friday… Thursday night he had i think 2 of them..he played with the I40 Tour (Jed and Kelley, Jimmy Davis) all of them were standing room only…all of them had great shows…. When Keith was doing his thing the crowd was at its pinnacle… he had them in his palm.
Saturday Keith was chosen to panel a group on Songwriting… In this situation you could go and sit with Keith and get a few pointers to gain some of the years of knowledge a master at his craft. Martin guitars was just down from our booth when they saw our booth they gave Keith a 0013v to sit and play at our little kiosk.. Keith is getting ready to go on the road and play a town near you.
We have a cool event coming up soon in Hot Springs AR. This will be a blast. If you have not been to Hot Springs its a real neat little stop with a little horse racing, good eatin, architecture to beat all.
Jan and I went there for the event and it rocked warm baths messages music wow I cant wait. Well I gotta go I bored ya long enuff. .I am parked in ole Rosie plugged into Keith and Jerenes mellow home between Memphis and Nashville trying to plan a drive around a storm to get home to Jan. She is getting snowed in. Keep up with the gigs here at Fat Pete…more detail to follow…make sure you check the website for updated tour dates for Keith…see ya!!