For the fourth night of Road to Nightfall 2017—held at Granfalloon March 17—the organizers have chosen to explore a variable funk noise, Southern blues, country rock and a faith-based rock 'n' roll roar that'll keep you moving all night. These bands come from all different backgrounds but exhibit a shared love for melody and musical release. For those in attendance, the evening will provide a close exploration of the various rhythmic aesthetics that rise from the Scenic City. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door of the venue.
Read through a brief description of the performing artists below.
Josh Driver & the Dixieland Playboys
Josh Driver & the Dixieland Playboys forge a distinctly Southern-influenced version of rock 'n' roll while also embracing the bucolic narratives common to country music. As a flood of memories and emotions pour through Driver's rough-edged voice, the band builds up a thundering rock landscape through which his words roar and stomp. The unique bridge they construct between these aesthetics stands as a testament to their ability to meld and fuse these raucous sounds to each other.
Big Green Funk
With a sound that mixes the delirious desperation of the blues and the groove-addled rhythms of funk music, Chattanooga group Big Green Funk amasses a considerable musical momentum while racing through a blur of various influences. Known for their wild live shows, Big Green Funk brings a feral melodicism to their work, a dense showmanship that builds off the dynamic interplay of the band and reveals the fierce inner creativity that sparks the nimble movements of each member.
Holding to their roots in West Virginia but finding themselves currently calling Chattanooga home, Americana-rock band Mendingwall evokes the storied valleys of the Appalachian Mountains while delivering a sudden burst of classic rock n' roll swagger. Their inclusive and rustic melodies expose a gift for communal experience, the kind of welcoming nostalgia that comforts and draws out distant memories into the light of the low evening. Bound by no guidelines, the band concocts this brew of insightful words and responsive rhythms with the casual ease of practiced storytellers.
At the intersection of Southern rock and withering rhythm and blues lies the music of Backwater Still, a band that marries the parched Delta stomp of the South with a ragged blues desperation. Drawing from years of close friendship, the band members create a shifting collection of experiences and musical associations that hum with an inner pulse. Their work easily and often crosses the borders of multiple genres, while still retaining its focus on the bucolic beats built within the heart of Tennessee.
The faith and attitude of many Christian rock bands can easily get lost in the shuffle of banal lyrics and mediocre arrangements. But Chattanooga band Grace Lane challenges the assumptions that many people hold regarding the viability of bands who base their sound off sacred inspirations. There's no lack of rock aptitude within the band—in fact, their work is a boisterous mix of classic rock buildup and belief-based awareness. The fact that they're revealing all this noise through a filter of religious conviction only shows what can be accomplished when secular and sacred influences collide.
Deacon Bluz/Holy Smoke
The sound of Clark "Deacon Bluz" White and his Holy Smoke band is an amalgam of danceable rhythms and rumbling blues tenacity. Having performed together since 1997, White and the band have made their name combining a host of various musical movements—including Delta blues, zydeco and numerous funk-fueled blues sounds—into a coherent and broad-reaching rhythmic history. Their involving songs are bolstered by a deep love for the genre's source material, as well as a comprehensive understanding that highlights White's innate ability to conjure genuine blues sentiment.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.