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Melvia “Chick” Rodgers-Williams brings her big voice to the 15th annual Chi-town Blues Festival

Melvia “Chick” Rodgers-Williams is a dynamic, versatile blues and soul vocalist with a pretty sparse recorded legacy (mostly under her maiden name, Melvia “Chick” Rodgers). She’s deft and audacious enough to take on warhorses such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Aretha Franklin’s “Dr. Feelgood,” retaining the power and feel of the originals while making […]

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Julien Baker expands her vulnerable sound on Little Oblivions

Julien Baker’s 2015 debut album, Sprained Ankle, and its 2017 follow-up, Turn Out the Lights, centered the singer-songwriter’s sometimes fragile but always sincere voice as she journeyed through addiction and came to terms with her sexuality and spirituality. Her songs were bold in their lyrical honesty and unadorned presentation: Sprained Ankle featured just Baker and […]

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Memphis duo Optic Sink play minimalist postpunk to fuel isolation dance parties

Natalie Hoffmann is best known as a vocalist and guitarist with Memphis noise-punk band Nots, but in Optic Sink, her new project with percussionist Ben Bauermeister, she trades quirky, garagey rock for stripped-back, electronics-heavy postpunk exploration. In recent years Hoffmann has been dealing with a creative block triggered by losing two loved ones, but she […]

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The Reigning Sound blend vintage soul and folk-rock textures into infectious garage rock

Memphis musicians enjoy a well-deserved reputation for having more going on beneath the surface than they initially let on. Alex Chilton, Tav Falco, and Jim Dickinson are known for putting a trashy stamp on roots music in their songwriting, but they also incorporate outside influences at unpredictable times. Such is also the case with the […]