with Lightnin Malcolm
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
with Lightnin Malcolm
"Mixes funky, '60s-style R&B, stomping electric blues, and garage aggression in equal parts." – AllMusicBuy Tickets
Genre: Blues, Soul, Funk
ALL AGES: 18+ with valid photo ID. Under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
Anatomy texts might not show it, but the greatest soul and blues music leaves no doubt that the hip bone is directly connected to the heart, a fact that is driven home in every note laid down by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. As they prove on their Lost Highway debut, Tell Em What Your Name Is, the Austin based combo has the kind of gritty attitude and deliciously greasy groove consciousness that would pass muster in the toughest juke joint.
To paraphrase Ike and Tina Turner, Tell Em What Your Name Is gives Lewis the chance to play nice and easy as well as nice and rough. He and his bandmates take the latter route more often, as on the fiery, brass laced opener Gunpowder and the unabashedly horndog anthem Big Booty Woman. But there is far more than one trick up their collective sleeve, as borne out by the dark New Orleans march Master Sold My Baby.
It is weird. People say I come up with all these different kinds of songs, and I guess that is true, but they all just come out naturally, says Lewis, who cites James Brown and Lightnin Hopkins as two of his bigger influences. If I sit down and try to write a song, it just sounds contrived. All the songs on this record, I just made up as I went along. I could not do a lot of them again if I did not have them on tape.
That from the gut stream of consciousness permeates the disc, with Lewis wailing wildly in a voice that is one part Joe Tex, one part Tyrone Davis through sweat soaked offerings like the gutbucket Im Broke and Please, Part Two as his bandmates turn up the heat, taking a low simmer to a full boil with turn on a dime precision.
The thing about the band is that we play with each other, not against each other, says Honeybears guitarist Zach Ernst. It is not a pissing contest, the way it is in some bands. We communicate with each other without speaking, and I think that has a lot to do with Joes attitude, he has an amazing ability to just draw people in. For a lot of people, the blues is a museum piece, but Joe brings it into the moment.
If not for a twist of fate, Lewis might never have gotten up on stage at all. Growing up in the small town of Round Rock, Texas, he was more likely to be found on the football field than in the band room but landing a job in an Austin pawn shop put him at a (shall we say) crossroads in life.
My dad and my uncles listened to soul and blues when I was a kid, but I never really took much notice, says Lewis. When I was about 19 or 20, I was working in this pawn shop and all these guys would bring in guitars. One day, I started playing around with one and took it home and started teaching myself how to play.
Buoyed by the encouragement of friends, Lewis soon gravitated to the fertile open mic scene of his adopted hometown, where he performed as a solo artist, a period he now laughingly recalls as horrible. I was usually too drunk or too scared to put on a good show, but people kept asking me to come back.
While he eventually put together a band with a solid lineup, Lewis could not capture the mojo he was looking for and was seriously considering retiring from music in his mid twenties until Ernst entered the picture.
I was on the (University of Texas) programming board and we had booked Little Richard to do a show and I immediately thought of Joe, says the guitarist. I heard he was down on music and was woking at a restaurant shucking oysters, so I approached him as a fan and Joe ended up playing the show with his old band.
The plea worked, the gig was explosive, but also a partnership was born. Shortly after that gig, Zach formed a band around Joe and the rough and ready Honeybears were born. Four weeks later, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears played their first gig. Their stylings quickly drew attention from local tastemakers, like the Austin Chronicle, which marveled at the singers ability to spit lyrics in short bursts of aggression like bricks at glass windows, and fellow musicians like Okkervil River and Spoon, both of which tapped him and the Honeybears to hit the road as an opening act.
Joe is a really special, really natural performer, says Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who thought enough of the band to lend his production skills to the new disc. We were able to do about 75 percent of the album live, and that is something you very, very rarely do.
Cutting Edge Bluesman LIGHTNIN MALCOLM, a charismatic and energetic guitars linger with a deep soulful voice, has taken his irresistable Dance grooves from Juke Joint teen years as a One Man Band to World stages with mainstream artists such as Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffett, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, The Black Keys, Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd, North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, and Gary Clark Jr.
The Mississippi based Multi-instrumentalist combines the Tribal Rhythms and raw electrifying power of the Hill Country Blues with melodic songwriting wisdom of heroes Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. MALCOLM fuses elements of Funk, Soul, Rock, Reggae, Hip Hop, West African World Beat, Gospel and Country to create an Authentic Signature sound in modern day World Roots Music.
MALCOLM won Blues Music Awards Best Debut Artist in 2009 and has since toured the Globe, releasing critically acclaimed albums "RENEGADE" and "ROUGH OUT THERE." He is a rhythmic Force of Nature, with a wild droning guitar style consisting of bass, rhythm, and lead syncopated together into churning tribal grooves that take listeners by storm.
"Everywhere we go, people say we sound like a 5 or 6 piece band," he says. MALCOLM has made a major impact on the recent Mississippi Blues scene, bridging younger generational sounds with a telepathic feel to play with traditional Legends like Hubert Sumlin, R.L. Burnside, Honey Boy Edwards, James Cotton, T Model Ford, Robert Belfour, Big Jack Johnson, and Charlie Musselwhite etc...
MALCOLM generally performs as a Power Duo, with his Larger than Life Guitar riffs teamed up with razor sharp drums (Cedric Burnside, Cam Kimbrough, Stud, etc), or as the One Man Band (playing guitar, harmonica, and kick drums simultaneously) that made him a hit in Juke Joints across the South. "They used to send for me at juke joints as a One Man Band, and everybody would be dancin to Al Green, Johnnie Taylor,and Tyrone Davis.
Then they would shut the jukebox off and stick me out in the middle of the floor... I'd be nervous because the jukebox sounded so good.... But this was how I was surviving and failure was not an option. You had to win them over on the first song or you wasn't gonna get another try... But once you did you was about to have the greatest night of your life!" he explains "My music was developed on Americas Funkiest Dance floors!" This rigid training ground taught MALCOLM to be an alert and intense performer, with the stamina to channel and electrify the audiences emotions.
MALCOLM's new album "FOOT SOLDIER" drops 4.15.16 on Mississippi Indie Label SHAKEDOWN RECORDS. "FOOT SOLDIER" updates MALCOLM's relentless, hypnotic, foot stomping grooves and signature melodic songwriting in 11 new songs. Recorded live in the studio, it features MALCOLM in his original "1 MAN BAND" format, playing guitar and foot drums simultaneously in a raw, rock steady full sound that keeps the Juke Joint rocking All Night. Four performances were captured on high definition videos.