The next generation of blues was alive and well at Rockstar Music Hall on Friday night (Dec. 7) as Memphis blues band Southern Avenue headlined a set of its own unique blend of gospel-tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired lyrics for a perfect night of modern blues. The band was brought to town by the Canada South Blues Society, which continues its mission of bringing some of the best international blues bands to the area.
It honestly doesn’t get much better than Southern Avenue. The band leaves little to complain about. Vocalist Tierinii Jackson sounds a but like a young and ambitious Aretha Franklin and the music has a little of that vintage Stevie Wonder vibe, mixed with an old-school blues vibe.
The band opened with their country-blues jam 80 Miles From Memphis and the variety in the show from then on in was simply amazing – from rockers like What Did I Do to the soulful Wild Flower. A couple of my favourites were missing – the incredible Motown-influenced Slipped Tripped And Fell In Love and the absolutely incredible Don’t Give Up, but otherwise it was a grand night.
Southern Avenue also performed in Chatham at the Kent-Belgian-Dutch-Canadian Club the following night.
The Canada South Blues Society has already lined up a few concerts for 2019 – Larry McCray (Jan. 26), Grammy nominated Victor Wainwright (March 29) and three-time Blues Awards nominee, saxophonist, vocalist, and songwriter Vanessa Collier (Apr. 27).