Sounds Around Town

Welcome to Sounds Around Town, a semi-regular column about who is recording what and where in Memphis. Photo courtesy of Dee Dee Bridgewater via

  • Grammy and Tony winner Dee Dee Bridgewater recently cut an album at Royal Studios, appropriately titled Memphis. Produced by Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, Kirk Whalum, and Bridgewater’s daughter/manager Tulani Bridgewater, the first release is a cover of the Staples Singers’ classic “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)”. Listen to an exclusive preview at Billboard. Austin, TX singer and guitarist Jackie Venson has also been at Royal recently, working on her next project, The Love Suite. Luther Dickinson is also working at Royal, producing another record for Nashville singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. The sessions feature Luther on guitar, Cody Dickinson on drums, Leroy Hodges on bass, and Reverend Charles Hodges on organ.
  • At Music + Arts Studio, producer Carl Wise and engineer Daniel Lynn have been working with Canadian artist Crystal Taylor. Young Memphis band Summer Avenue just finished up their debut album there, produced by Kevin Cubbins and engineered by Kevin Houston. Blues artist Dana Fuchs returns to Music + Arts soon, as will my band mates, Amy LaVere and Will Sexton, for an upcoming project featuring guitarist David Cousar and drummer George Sluppick.
  • Memphis favorites Star & Micey are working with Curry Webber at Sun Studio. (In addition, the Matt Stansbury and the Romance album we told you about a while back, which Curry cut at Sun, comes out tomorrow).
  • Memphis’ own Tommy Cathey returned to Ardent Studios to record his debut solo LP with Adam Hill engineering. Tommy’s history with Ardent includes Target, Steve Cropper/Yvonne Elliman, and his bass contributions to Big Star’s Third LP in 1974. 

    Pictured in Ardent’s Studio C L to R: Scott Sudbury (guitar), Mark Ross (keys), Tommy Cathey (Lead vocals, bass) Buddy Nemenz (guitar), Bill Marshall (drums), Adam Hill (engineer). Photo by Michelle Grider

  • At the recently revamped American Studios, Toby Vest is mixing an album from the Echo Friendly, the New York City band with deep Memphis ties. The band features Jake Rabinach, his wife Shannon Esper, Greg Faison, and Jake Vest. Toby cut the tracks at the band’s rehearsal space in Brooklyn back in March.
  • Over at Bruce Watson’s brand new Delta-Sonic Sound, Nashville’s Legendary Shack Shakers frontman J.D. Wilkes has recorded a solo LP, Fire Dream. The album was produced by Watson, engineered by Jeff Powell, and mixed by Clay Jones. Memphis singer/songwriter (and another band mate of mine) Mark Edgar Stuart has also been working with Watson as producer at Delta Sonic. In addition to doing horn and vocal overdubs on Bette Smith’s Jet Lagger, Bruce has been doing archival tape transfers of blues recordings from the Gene Rosenthal archives, as well as syncing audio and video of the 1969 Memphis Country Blues Festival concert film, out on Fat Possum in 2018.
  • Producer Matt Ross-Spang has been cutting more tracks for Lucero’s next record at Sam Phillips Recording, and has been working with Thirty Tigers artist Charley Crockett. Matt also recently cut a record there on Austin’s Dale Watson, with Will Sexton on guitar.


John Paul Keith

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