Jam To These Beats | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jam To These Beats

ZZ Top

Fourteen albums, 14 Billboard Hot 100 singles and 24 top radio hits over nearly 40 years together. That's right, ZZ Top started growing their beards when Neil Armstrong was on his way to the moon. Astounding as that is, it's even harder to believe that ZZ Top has been touring for decades, even weathering bassist Dusty Hill's bout with Hepatitis C with only a few cancelled tour dates.

All along the way, ZZ Top has been cranking out hits, most notably during their heyday in the late '70s through the mid-'80s. There's no doubt you're familiar with their best-known hitsדCheap Sunglasses," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Gimme All Your LovinҔ and "Legsԗand perhaps also all their attendant double entendres.

Since then, ZZ Top has kept on making their particular brand of Texas-infused rock, with a new album in the works. In addition to the music, they've regularly lent their bearded gravitas to TV shows like "King of the Hill" and the latest season of "American Idol." For Jubilee!JAM, though, expect a throwback to their 1990 hit "My Head's in Mississippi." They'll bring their signature sartorial presence to the Golden Moon Casino Stage at 10:30 p.m. Friday. — Michael Patronik

The Ohio Players
by Bryan Doyle

Everyone knows the Ohio Players; most just haven't realized it yet. Led by Leroy "Sugar" Bonner on guitar and vocals, the bass-driven funk artists draw comparisons to psychedelic soul acts Rick James and Sly & The Family Stone.

In the late 1960s, the Players wallowed in obscurity and numerous lineup changes, though the popularity of their bottom-heavy, horn-driven sound was already on the rise.

In 1974, the band signed with Mercury Records, and the Dayton, Ohio, natives would go on to set the world ablaze with their hit, "Fire," and do it again one year later with "Love Rollercoaster," another track that would live on well after the psychedelic soul and disco movements declined.

"Love Rollercoaster" was reintroduced into American pop culture when funk-influenced alternative rockers The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered the song for the 1996 film, "Beavis and Butthead Do America." Catch the love rollercoaster at the VisitJackson.com Stage at 11 p.m.

Old Crow Medicine Show
by Candace Parker

Old Crow Medicine Show is a vivacious five-piece old-time—yet modernized—acoustic outfit from Nashville, Tenn. And regardless of most popularly being categorized as a country band, they amalgamate an eclectic blend of styles to create a sound and identity all their own. They incorporate everything from alt-country and bluegrass to Americana, blues and Appalachian fiddle tunes, while remaining true to some of the earliest traditions in American music.

Frontman Willie Watson (vocals/banjo/guitar), Ketch Secor (vocals/fiddle/harmonica/banjo), Kevin Hayes (guitjo), Chris Fuqua (banjo/guitar), and Morgan Jahnig (bass) have literally made something out of nothing. They've taken their traveling music circus all the way from busting the streets of America to gracing the stages of Nashville's Ryman auditorium and shows like Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Their hit single, "I Hear Them All," was even nominated for two Country Music Television Awards. Catch them Saturday, June 14, at 7:25 p.m. at Jubilee!JAM.

Blind Melon
by Michael Patronik

Blind Melon has seen a lot since their inception in 1991. Their 1992 eponymous debut album reached quadruple platinum status in the States, sold 8 million copies worldwide and spawned a mega-hit in their most famous single, "No Rainԗyou know, the video with the Bee Girl, the rock-solid Halloween standby of choice for millions of women.

But that was all before lead singer Shannon Hoon died from a drug overdose in 1995 at age 28. The band likewise ceased activity after finishing the last of Hoon's work on their 1996 album Nico.

Blind Melon, though, was reborn when band member Christopher Thorn serendipitously met Texas singer Travis Warren in 2006. The much younger Warren, though he sings in the same high register as the late Hoon, brings new voice to the band and to their April 2008 album, "For My Friends."

No strangers to Mississippi (guitarist Roger Stevens, bassist Brad Smith and drummer Glen Graham are all native sons), Blind Melon will bring their old favorites and new songs back with them to the Golden Moon Casino stage starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Citizen Cope
by Michael Patronik

You might not yet be familiar with the name Citizen Cope—the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and DJ Clarence Greenwood—but make no mistake, he's an artist on an upward trajectory. If you've turned on a radio in the past couple years, you've probably heard his hits "Brother Lee" and "Back Together."

The Memphis native, now based out of Brooklyn, plays a modern blend of folk, hip-hop, rock, R&B and blues based in deep, pleasing beats. His songs have found their way into a growing number of movies, TV shows and commercials.

Cope recently split with his former label, RCA, and is beginning work on a new album to follow up his 2006 release "Every Waking Moment." If that wasn't enough, he is continuing his grueling touring schedule by which he brings his genre-bending music to his fans. He'll be bringing it to Jackson on the VisitJackson.com stage at 8:55 p.m. Saturday.

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