Friday, Sept. 1, 2023
Farm Museum Stage
The Johnny Memphis Band from Florence, Massachusetts plays “single-stream” rock ‘n’ roll. Every song is a single, every song is stream of acoustic and electric instruments, every song is rock ‘n’ roll. This band puts it all in one bin, like radio in the ‘60s when you could hear country, soul and Jamaican music all on one station.
The band features irrepressible Johnny Memphis on lead vocals, bass and mandolin, fabulous Katherine First on fiddle, wonderful Paul Hartshorne on guitar and bass, amazing Laurie Rozenfeld on banjo and dazzling Jason “The Pale Whistler” Smith on drums.
In this band, electric meets acoustic- guitar, bass and drums weaving together with fiddle, banjo and mandolin. You get danceable rhythms and free-wheeling jams, unforgettable lyrics and tight harmony vocals.
For 21 years Johnny Memphis was a deejay on the eclectic WRSI radio station which is reflected in the variety of songs he has written. Influenced by NRBQ, The Pogues and Kid Creole & the Coconuts, the band’s debut album (2014) featured the Celtic “Murphy Bed,” the swingin’ “Out on the Town,” and the blues of “Wabi Sabi, Baby.” Ken Mauiri of the Daily Hampshire Gazette called the music “insanely catchy.”
The Rarities album (2017) was filled with more single stream beauties like the the confessional of “Never Been to Memphis” and the non-fiction polka “Somebody Stole My Kielbasa.” The newest collection Running Late (2023) has more Memphis gems like the cinematic, slow dance “Finish the Movie” and the boot-stomping bluegrass of “Popeye Riding Shotgun.”