Bluff City Backsliders

THE BLUFF CITY BACKSLIDERS formed in 1999 around several veteran Memphis musicians who shared a hankering for great old sounds from the pre- World War II era. They found between them a hearty repertoire of early jazz, jug band, old-time country, and proto-bluegrass tunes that cried out to be resurrected. In early 2001 they brought these songs down to clubs on historic Beale Street, where, ironically, most of them had not been heard in perhaps 75 years. This series of performances drew so much enthusiasm that the band spontaneously grew into an 8-piece ensemble, drawing in a full range of instrumentation and some of the region’s best players. At the hands of the new lineup, these almost forgotten songs morphed into a high-powered, hip-shaking, barrelhouse hoodoo music that's as profane as it is glorious. At bottom, it’s a wholly Southern musical sound, reaching from Memphis to Appalachia and all the way down to New Orleans, often all at once. Performing with a back-porch soul and the ferocity of the best punk bands, the band brings a new-fangled sensibility and some youthful energy to a deep heritage. During the latter half of 2001, the band spent a few months perfecting their sound with weekly sets at Midtown Memphis’ Young Avenue Deli. These shows raised eyebrows all over town and far beyond. The band was invited to perform at the 2001 Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, as well as the annual showcase of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). The...

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