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Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

New Music Releases: Albums to Check Out from Memphis Artists

By meerna Jul11,2024
New Music Releases: Albums to Check Out from Memphis Artists

The summer of 2024 is shaping up to be a busy time for Memphis music and artists.

The past few weeks have seen and will continue to see the release of a slew of new LPs, EPs and singles from a diverse range of local artists, from chart-topping hip-hop hits to punk rock veterans, soul queens and American songwriters.

Below you will find some new local releases that have generated a lot of interest, as well as information about the concerts accompanying the premiere.

Valerie June

West Tennessee native and former Memphis resident Valerie June recently released two new singles with strong ties to the Bluff City. In 2022, June collaborated with Stax Records queen Carla Thomas on the Grammy-nominated “Call Me A Fool.” Now, June and Thomas have teamed up with Stax Music Academy students to cover the song by Staples Singers patriarch Pops Staples. “Friendship” — which originally appeared on Staples’ posthumous 2015 collection Don’t Lose This (produced by his daughter, Mavis Staples, and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) — was released in honor of Mavis’ 85th birthday.

Produced by June and recorded at Stax Music Academy, the song follows last month’s release of “High Note,” another June collaboration with Stax Music Academy students. As June notes, “Without Mavis and Carla, the students wouldn’t have Stax Music Academy or the rich legacy they’ve paved for the community to thrive by educating the next generation of musicians. To have a dear friend like Carla sing it in honor of another queen—Mavis—is a gift that brings it full circle.”

Both “Friendship” and “High Note” are available to stream now.

Mark Edgar Stuart

A longtime veteran of the Memphis music scene, primarily as a bassist and band member (Pawtuckets and The Secret Service, among others), Mark Edgar Stuart broke out as a solo artist more than a decade ago with the release of his acclaimed debut album, Blues for Lou, in 2013. A deft storyteller, Stuart has continued to win over fans and critics with several subsequent albums of cleverly spun tales.

His latest track, “Never Far Behind,” was produced by Texas-born guitarist Will Sexton, who now lives in Memphis. Sexton’s wife, American artist Amy LaVere, duets with Stuart on “We Better Call It A Day,” while the project features a cast of the Bluff City’s finest musicians and vocalists (Susan Marshall, Kelley Mickwee). Across the 10 tracks, Stuart shows off his wit and style, writing clever numbers like “Sleight of Hand,” “I’m Not That Kid Anymore” and “The Ballad of Jerry Phillips,” a tribute to the Sun Records offspring.

Stuart will celebrate the release of “Never Far Behind” with a concert on July 28th at Hernando’s Hideaway.

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Aaron James

Aaron James, a member of the Memphis art/music/design collective Unapologetic, is a singer-songwriter who first gained attention with his 2022 debut album, “Nobody Really Makes Love Anymore.” The Pennsylvania native, who came to the Bluff City to attend the University of Memphis and eventually joined the Unapologetic crew, has just released a new EP, “The Last Day of the Cold.” The four-piece outfit further refines the delicate beauty of James’ fingerstyle guitar/folk-pop sound.

James will perform at the Overton Park Shell as part of the Orion Free Concert Series on September 27th.

Teenagers

Formed in the mid-’90s, Memphis punk band The Subteens shone brightly on the local music scene for a decade, releasing a pair of records, including the 1999 classic “Burn Your Cardigan,” before disbanding. After reuniting for a handful of shows in 2022, the group — Mark Akin, John Bonds, and Jay Hines — released their first new album in nearly 20 years. Now, the band is back with a 25th anniversary reissue of “Burn Your Cardigan,” available for the first time on vinyl in a deluxe package that includes rare photos and liner notes from rock critic Chris Davis.

Money Yo

Multi-platinum Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo returns this summer with his highly anticipated fifth studio album. Released in June, Moneybagg’s “Speak Now” follows his 2021 LP “A Gangsta’s Pain,” which became a breakout hit, hitting No. 1 on the pop album charts. The new 17-track effort is a sprawling endeavor that includes collaborations with country star Morgan Wallen (“Whiskey Whiskey), R&B singer Chris Brown (“Drunk Off You”), rappers Lil Durk (“Gangsta Relate”), Kevo Muney (“Go Gho$t”) and more. The album has already spawned one Top 40 hit, “Tryna Make Sure,” and new single “Taboo Miami” is climbing the charts, while the album itself debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the rap charts.

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Chris Milam

Memphis singer-songwriter Chris Milam’s third album, Orchid South , offers a different vibe than his previous efforts, 2017’s Kids These Days and 2020’s Meanwhile . A smart and talented melodist who has offered folk/pop and Americana sounds in the past, the new album finds Milam mostly live, free-flowing, and hitting a sweet spot with a set of classic Memphis power-pop tracks. Working once again at Memphis’ High/Low Recording with producer Toby Vest, Milam organically evolved his sound, and it feels like his strongest work to date.

Milam will play the “Orchid South” release concert on August 10 at the Railgarten.

By meerna

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