After an off month, Scruffy City Ramble returns to the Square Room tonight at 7:00. A strange scheduling conflict prevented the show from its March performance, but it returns with an excellent line-up featuring Southern Culture on the Skids. Joining them will be Gangstagrass, Andrew Duhon, Chuck Mead and His GrassyKnoll Boys along with Matt Morelock and Ferd Moyse. It promises to offer the range of styles to which regular patrons have become accustomed.
Of course, Scott Miller and Benny Smith will be along to keep things moving and, hopefully, Scott will work in a song or two. As entertaining as the music, to me, is the opportunity to watch Jack Neely interview the various musicians. The interview portion often provides the highest comic relief of the night and Jack is always well-versed and ready for anything.
The artists pictured here are from the February show. Henry Wagons from Australia served up some seriously disturbed Gothic music. The emotional climax came when he sang a song which ended with the protagonist being hung. He laced the microphone cord around hs neck and enacted the event while making a low guttural sound intended to reflect that of the last sound of the hung. He then allowed audience members to render their best death moan.
Nashville artist Sturgill Simpson provided a great classic country sound. It’s a bit of a mystery to me that in an area that defined classic country, it’s pretty hard to find if you go looking. Russian-born, Knoxville adopted Lydia Salnikova played a passionate set of her driving ballads and Johnson City natives This Mountain offered up modern folk music. As always, the range of musical genres shined. Of course, Scott Miller offered a couple of his own songs and then led the entire group in the finale.
The entire affair is filmed, recorded, well-lighted and a dazzing display of sonic delight. You will be very pleased you attended and you will be amazed when two hours have passed. It’s one of the best musical events going and it only costs ten dollars. What could go wrong?
Apparently scheduling. The show will return for May and June at the Square Room, but will take a hiatus for July and August (as it did last summer). When it returns, the show will be in a new venue: The Standard on Jackson Avenue. It’s just around the corner from the 100 Block of Gay Street in the opposite direction from the Old City. I hope to see you tonight and I hope to see you at the new venue come September.