Side Street Steppers
Self-described as “vintage and vaudeville,” The Side Street Steppers aim to please. The four-piece act plays everything from Western swing to folk, adding its own twist to classic tracks. 2013’s sophomore effort, The Sweetest Peaches Don’t Grow On Trees, features tunes by Bessie Smith, Hank Williams Sr. and Mae West. Caravan Gypsy Swing band leader Chris Ruppenthal pops in as a guest artist to bring his jazz-influenced guitar styling to the record.
Sounds like — Dixieland jazz; Vaudeville blues
Check out — “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues”
From down-home blues to glitzy rock ’n’ roll, these 25 musicians have a style all their own
By Tess Catlett
Rooted in pop-punk, Pillow Talk offers a fresh take on songs about heartache and the one that got away. Originally a side project between vocalist Josh Cannon and guitarist Calvin Lauber, the duo soon added guitarist Kevin Gibson, bassist Hunter Davidson and drummer Sam Leathers to the mix. Although debut EP Recreational Feelings is ambitious in its own right, March’s What We Should Have Said sets a new standard. Hazy soundscapes blur into plush melodies, proving that shoegazing alt-rock has a softer side.
Sounds like — Dream pop
Check out — “Make You Real”
Chinese ConnectionDub Embassy
With roots as close as Memphis and as far as New York, the members of Chinese Connection Dub Embassy have one goal in mind: unity. Determined to bring light and positivity to the world at large, the new-age group offers original tracks and fanciful takes on reggae standards. 2013’s Farmers Market Chronicles EP features covers of “Take On Me” and “Love TKO.” The group also released its first full-length, The Firm Foundation, that spring.
Sounds like — Reggae
Check out — “Get Ready”
Female-fronted rock band PENGEA is back at it with the spring release of Tales from the No-Tell Motel. After months of heavy promotion, the six-song EP is making the rounds in the Memphis music scene. It isn’t hard to see why. Vocalist Bobbie Parker is one wicked songstress, blending grit with glam as she purrs over twangin’ guitar riffs. Jimmy Rodgers slams on drums, with bassist John Davis and guitarists Kevin Greenburg and Robert Parker rounding out the line-up.
Sounds like — Hard rock
Check out — “Dreamland”
Bailey and Wyly Bigger
Wyly Bigger picked up the piano at age 4, and by the time he was 8 years old, he was already performing for diverse audiences. Now in his late teens, Wyly has swapped the keys for the blues. With two of Clarksdale’s Pinetop Perks Homecoming Festivals under his belt and a song on iTunes (“South Side of Southern”), Wyly has laid the groundwork for his younger sister, Bailey.
She took up the guitar at age 9 and has been writing her own music ever since. Still in her tweens, Bailey has had her song “Best Small Town” featured on the City of Marion, Arkansas’, website and has placed in a number of local talent completions.
Sounds like — Acoustic; Blues
Check out — “Somewhere”