With a killer new album which feels like both a return to form and a confident step forward, Backlash, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are gearing up to play their first Nashville headliner in four years this Sunday, Sept. 10 at Mercy Lounge. An electrifying, genre-bending, and unrivaled live force, Lewis and the band feel criminally underrated for just how much great music they’ve crafted and extensive touring they’ve undertaken over the last decade, and if you’ve yet to experience them live, this promises to be one of the fall’s coolest shows. Real deal bluesman Lightnin Malcolm opens things up, and tickets are still available right here. Read on for more about this fantastic lineup!
BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS
Though Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears made a Music City appearance at 2015’s Ink N Iron Fest, odds are you weren’t there. It’s been four years since the Austin group’s last proper headlining Music City stop, the same year they released their last LP, Electric Slave, so, now, with a new album in tow, Backlash, we’re incredibly excited for the band’s long-overdue return. Raised on hip hop, soul, and rock, Lewis began to explore the blues after taking up the guitar in his late teens, ultimately forging a sound that navigates everything from punk to r&b to classic soul. Joe formed the band around a decade ago, and, after immediate buzz surrounding their early efforts, released major label debut Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is in 2009, produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno, cementing what was meant to be a temporary moniker of “& The Honeybears” (they briefly shed it a few years ago, only to reclaim it on their latest LP), and landing them widespread critical acclaim. In the years since, the band have churned out several more well-received efforts, managing to experiment and push genre boundaries with each new record, and have toured the world with high-profile acts, become a fixture on the festival circuit, and have appeared on countless late night shows. An exhilarating live force, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears have, with Backlash, returned to their sonic roots, albeit with more evolved and adventurous songwriting than ever, and in a perfect-sized spot like Mercy Lounge, you’d be crazy to miss a chance to see them in action.
A product of the real-deal, old school blues scene, the incomparable Lightnin Malcolm grew up in Missouri and now resides in Mississippi, learning and collaborating with legends like T Model Ford, R.L. Burnside, and Jessie Mae Hemphill along the way. Lightnin currently plays in the North Mississippi Allstars, but has forged a respectable solo career as well, cutting his teeth in juke joints and blues halls, all while developing an impressive one man band style (ocassional expanded to a power duo) and a blues sound that pulls from influences of soul, rock, reggae, hip hop, and country. His talents have led him to share the stage with stars like Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffett, Buddy Guy, and Gary Clark Jr., and with his legit blues pedigree and impressive string of solo releases in recent years, he’s a perfect compliment to Black Joe Lewis. Be sure to show up early!
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and Lightnin Malcolm will perform Sunday, Sept. 10 at Mercy Lounge. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $15-17.