Within the past few months, I have started a record label and doubled down on my show-booking and promotion. You hopefully read a piece by my editor Briana Robinson several issues back that mentions a series of shows and parties I conceived called “Blender.” The goal of this series is to combine artists from Jackson’s rock and hip-hop scenes to advance the ideal that we are all in this together and that we can actually all do it together in the appropriate setting. The inaugural edition was held this past June at Martin’s and featured Furrows, 5th Child, That Scoundrel and James Crow.
Based off this core idea, Cody Cox (of Liver Mousse and Furrows) and I began a partnership in which I came into the fold of his label, Elegant Trainwreck, while also adding my own label, Homework Town, to the family. No matter what we do, our goal is to push two things: the city we love (maybe to a fault), Jackson, and the beauty that can arise when a couple folks have the gumption to aid in the creation of projects that become greater than the sum of a few assembled parts. Our first release is a split 7-inch record on which Liver Mousse and 5th Child are featured on each other’s songs.
We were already excited about what we were doing, but later in the summer things took an interesting turn. Some of you might know that my uncle is Tim Lee. For those of you not quite familiar, Tim was in a jangly indie-rock band in the early ’80s called the Windbreakers, a band that many believe started the original rock ‘n’ roll scene in Jackson.
Tim quit playing music for several years until getting back into it a few years ago with his new band, Tim Lee 3, which played a show with Liver Mousse on the patio of Sneaky Beans this summer. Tim and the rest of the band (which also includes my Aunt Susan) were so excited about the show and so excited about the things that Cody and I were doing that he set up a Blender show for us in Knoxville, Tenn., on Nov. 17. The bill included Tim Lee 3, 5th Child, Liver Mousse, James Crow and Knoxville-based live hip-hop band, The Theorizt.
As the Knoxville show progressed, the feeling became more and more surreal. You can probably understand that Tim was someone I grew up idolizing as a kid. I mean, how many of us are lucky enough to have an uncle who tours in a rock band? To stand there as Black Atticus of The Theorizt and 5th Child freestyled over Tim Lee 3 playing Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” was almost too much to comprehend. Tim has never been much of a hip-hop dude but, for a while on Saturday night, he was as he dove right in to the Blender concept.
That moment at the beginning of the show set the tone for the rest of the night. 5th Child, Liver Mousse and James Crow made a whole bunch of new fans with their sets, and we all made a whole bunch of new friends, especially the guys in The Theorizt which was one of the most original bands I have heard live in a while.
Seeing all the cross-pollination of artists and styles and seeing Uncle Tim look at me with the same look of wonder and happiness I gave him as a kid brought up what Hunter S. Thompson said in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”: “There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. … We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.” That is especially poignant to me. Knoxville reconfirmed that no matter what, the things we are doing are right and good, and it felt good to be able to show that off to some new folks in a new city.