McKinley James’ return to soul
Webster native McKinley James knows what you want. He knows what you need. It’s because he’ll give it back if you’re willing to listen to him.
James, now based in Nashville, is an advanced talent guitarist who started playing professionally around the age of 13. It was an enthusiastic stab at Chicago electric blues, rockabilly and soul.
But he had to make a choice. The soul won. Fans can chew on his latest album, “Still Standing By.”
Fans protested some. However, James’ decision won out.
“Overall, I think they loved it because on our live show we keep some of the rock ‘n’ roll and some heavier blues stuff,” James says. “But I’ve definitely heard a few fans missing there.”
He promises to return to heavy on his new live release, “McKinley James Live”.
“The next one will be a full (album),” James said. “And there will be more rock ‘n’ roll and blues in there. There will be more of what we have in live broadcasts.
“Even if we put a soulful air in the set, I try as best as I can to go all the way,” he adds. “With soul music being sung, you can’t go wrong. It’s just not believable. But when you go in there and the audience sees it, it’s more authentic.
The man owes his pedigree to his pop, who currently plays drums in the band. But that dynamic has shifted from focusing on his age and his father’s contribution to his career to an 18-year-old guitar master who has made a comeback to soul.
James started out on the Hammond B-3, not the guitar.
“At the time, I was a big fan of Booker T and MGs. And I had this VHS – maybe it was a DVD – of them doing a Stax reunion in Norway in 1968 or 1967. And it was Booker T and the MGs backing Otis Redding, Arthur Conway, artists Stax like that,” he says. “That was the first time I noticed guitarist Steve Cropper.”
Then the pace, the siren call of one guitarist in particular, left James in its wake.
“Then I heard Link Wray for the first time. I was still playing B3, but I was like, ‘No, I like organ, but guitar is more where I’m at.’ »
These days, he usually returns to West Side Chicago players for new classic ideas and for an extra jolt. Cats like Magic Sam and Otis Rush. And contemporary players like the late Hollywood Fats (James Harmon Band) and Dave Gonzalez (Paladins). Sometimes it will deviate into raspy harp quotes.
“Like William Clark or a little guitar lick of Little Walter,” James says, “Just because his phrasing is so good.”
The McKinley James Band plays Saturday, April 30 at Abilene Bar and Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way; Doors 7 p.m., show 8:30 p.m. $15. abilenebarandlounge.com
Joe Buck yourself
There are many musicians who resist an evil jerk of the devil, claiming that they walk in his forked footprints. But as true villains, no one is more downright malicious with his music than Kentucky native Joe Buck Yourself, aka Jim Finklea, who warns us that the devil is in his way. You better listen.
Buck is known for his work with Gringo, as bassist for Hank Williams III in his Damn Band, with Hank III’s punk outfit Assjack, and as lead guitar for the revivalist thrills of the Tent of Damnation, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, who ultimately kicked Finklea out of the band. for being simply, frankly, too wild.
Two Rochester openers on the lineup are psychobilly-mongers Grease Creepers and Wyatt Coin.
Joe Buck Yourself with Grease Creepers and Wyatt Coin, Saturday, April 30, at the Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave., 9 p.m. $12.
The Italian New Candys hit me in the head like all those atmospheric bands that include an “and” in their name.
Bands like Love and Rockets, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Jesus and Mary Chain – post-psychedelic pop, mid-tempo gyration indoctrination.
Like Rochester’s Ginger Faye Bakers, their music has been featured on Showtime’s sleazy hit series, “Shameless.”
Now they’re bringing the Italian circus filled with its reverb and rock ‘n’ roll wash to a place that knows no shame: The Bug Jar.
New Candys with Sisters of Your Sunshine and the Stone Lows on Monday, May 9; doors 8 p.m., music, 9 p.m.
Here is a complete list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On
Frank De Blase is the author of the music for Rochester Beacon. The Beacon welcomes feedback from readers who adhere to our comments policy including the use of their real full name.