Memphis soul singer Devin Crutcher comes from a legendary musical family in Memphis, the family of Stax songwriter Bettye Crutcher, and is probably the most in-demand male singer in the city today. He can be heard at different venues most nights of any week in Memphis, but it is not so common for him to appear with the excellent 4 Soul Band, which my friend Otis Logan is the drummer for. So when I heard that Devin Crutcher would be performing with 4 Soul and some sort of fashion and hair extravaganza at the Ice Bar on a Sunday night, I made plans to be there. 4 Soul is one of the city’s best soul and funk bands, and Devin is one of the best singers, so his brief two sets of music were a treat indeed, separated by a brief fashion show.
Last week on Hangtime (which is a great way to keep up with events in your hometown, by the way) I read about an event called My Jam Session at the ICE Bar out on Hacks Cross Road. Subtitled “Drums and Drinks”, it featured a live drummer paired with a DJ, and for someone who loves hearing a funky drummer as much as I do, I had to attend, as I had not heard of anything like this in Memphis before. As it turns out, the drums and DJ trend is very cutting edge, at least in New York and Los Angeles, and the people that organized this event have been doing it in Nashville, and decided to bring it here to Memphis. Not surprisingly, the drummer they brought is from Nashville, a young man named Jeremy Williams who was very impressive indeed on the set. The rationale behind this is to heighten the excitement for the crowd by augmenting the traditional DJ-based club atmosphere as the live drummer adds rolls, fills and breakdowns to the continuous mix. In my opinion, it works fairly well, although the standing-room only crowd in Memphis wasn’t familiar with the concept. Whether the trend will catch on in Memphis remains to be seen (we have plenty of great drummers for it if it does), but Jeremy Williams is very much a drummer to keep an eye on.
My homeboy Otis Logan had invited me to come out to the Ice Bar in Southwind because his band was playing behind a Memphis rap artist called Oneday, but what I didn’t know was that the event was the inauguration of a big event called Triple Play Tuesdays, sponsored by Memphis-based PartiKings Inc. which will be held on the first Tuesday of each month. Actually quite a few Memphis rap and hip-hop artists came out to perform, including a female artist named Ms. Racks, a rapper named BenOfficial (although apparently not the one from Los Angeles), and another rapper named Lil Buddy. With it being a Tuesday night, I had not expected a large crowd, but the place was actually full to overflowing.