It only makes sense, in a circle of life kind of way, for Black Joe Lewis to be releasing his major label debut on the same week that the SXSW Festival is descending upon his hometown. Lewis has been at it for a while, paying dues with his band's previous incarnation, Black Joe Lewis & Cool Breeze, releasing gritty singles on a small southern label and setting stages on fire at equivalent venues. It was, in fact, a SXSW diamond in the rough find of Lewis' "I Don't Mind," three years ago that first introduced this writer to his music. On his debut full-length for the Lost Highway label, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, Lewis and his band The Honeybears don't change a thing: it's 30 minutes of raw Stax-styled funk and retro R&B with unapologetic titles like "Big Booty Woman," and "Master Sold My Baby" ("Bitch, I Love You," from the recent EP teaser release apparently didn't make the cut).
Closer to home, Portland's Celilo celebrates their new Bending Mirrors with a release show Thursday night at the shiny new Mississippi Studios. Sloan Martin leads the band and writes songs in a distinctly northwest vein of Americana, soaked in equal parts rain and whiskey. The album delivers on the promise teased at by last year's Bush Pilot EP, adding welcome instances where the band is afraid to turn up the tempo and the twang, as on the catchy "Pink Sofa." The Woolwines and The Physical Hearts open Thursday night's show.
More to come here-- questions, comments, requests, points of discussion-- what's on your minds?
Tagged: SXSW 2009