I rang in the New Year 2010 at the Station Inn with the music of 18 South, and we’re planning on being back there for more of the same this New Year’s Eve, so I'm bookending my year with what is undoubtedly my favorite new/unsigned/indie Nashville band. I even had a good dose of 18 South-dom in between. They played Music City Roots to their usual boisterous ovations, and I caught a terrific if too-hot set at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in September. If I may plagiarize myself to save time, here's how I described them on the MCR blog last year:
A super-group that could only have formed in Music City. Start with Jon Randall Stewart and Jessi Alexander – both exorbitantly talented artists who had turns on major labels. Both proved too unique and sophisticated for the radio route, so they both had some ups and downs, but they are as respected as anyone in town, and to make matters happier, they found each other, and now they’re married with an adorable daughter. And because you have to have a brilliant guitarist, they added Guthrie Trapp, an acoustic and electric threat whose been traveling Jerry Douglas and recording with everyone in sight. Pianist Jimmi Wallace gives the group its funky New Orleans underpinning. And fleshing out the rhythm section are bassist Mike Bub, formerly of the great Del McCoury Band and Larry Atamanuik, the drummer who’s backed Emmylou Harris and other roots greatness.
The band's only shortcoming is that they've not yet released a full album, though they swear that's going to happen in 2011. In the meantime, grab their fine EP and do yourself a real favor and see them live. If their spirit and skill doesn't get under your skin, not much will.