Ed. Note: The nice thing about living in a music city is that we get a ton of great live shows every single month. The tough thing, however, is deciding which bands to see. With that in mind, here are 10 recommendations for shows you won't want to miss in the coming month.
These are by no means the only great bands playing in Memphis this month. For more complete listings, check the blog's calendar.
(I know there are a lot of Hi-Tone shows on the list this month, but considering that the venue is closing in February, it seems only right. And they've really gone all-out for their last month.)
Every year, the International Blues Challenge brings some of the world's finest blues musicians to Beale Street for five nights of live blues music competitions. The music is spread through most of the clubs on Beale Street (plus a few other venues) with the finals held at the Orpheum on Saturday night.
(Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins, used with permission.)
Memphis native Cory Branan is back in town, and he's playing a show at Otherlands with Mark Edgar Stuart on Saturday, Feb. 2. His live shows are filled with storytelling, jokes, and plenty of songs that you'll probably never hear on one of his records. Study up by listening to his newest, Mutt, before then.
Lucero has become a big deal in the past few years, which makes it all the more awesome that their Feb. 3 show at the Hi-Tone is free. They'll be sharing the stage with fellow locals the Dirty Streets.
Rootsy southern rock band Ingram Hill is playing a (possibly free) show at the outdoor amphitheater in Handy Park on Beale St. The show is all ages.
Skewby is a Memphis rapper who doesn't sound like a Memphis rapper (and that's not a bad thing at all – he just doesn't sound like he's from around here). He's bringing Preauzz, DJ Charlie White and DJ Crumbs to the Hi-Tone for a $5 show on Feb. 9.
Guitarist Jason Freeman (of the Bluff City Backsliders) is releasing his first solo record, "Hex and Hell" at the Poplar Lounge on Friday, Feb. 15. His songs are bluesy, gritty and a lot rock'n'roll. Watch his video for "(Do the) Rump" before you go to the show.
Grab your favorite dance partner and check out the Wuvbirds and their adorable, charming pop music at the Cove on Friday, Feb. 15. Valentine's day may be over, but this show is a good place for those who want the candy hearts to last forever.
Celebrate Black History Month with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and singers from the community in Soulsville on Sunday, Feb. 17. There's a paid version of the show at the Cannon Center on Feb. 16, but you can catch it for free on Sunday.
The Old 97s have been one of my favorite bands since I first heard their alt country songs back in high school. They don't come through Memphis often, but their live show is a lot of fun. They're playing at the Hi-Tone with the Travoltas.
It's the end of an era, y'all. The Hi-Tone is closing its doors, but before they do, they're throwing a big party with the legendary Oblivians with the Barbaras (featuring members of the Magic Kids) who are reuninting for the show. Go, have fun, and pour one out for our dear, departed Hi-Tone.
What shows are you excited about this month?
For more Memphis music listings, check the calendar.