With the Johnny Memphis Band you never know what is coming next- Celtic mambo, rockabilly, New Orleans funk, 60’s pop, ‘20s swing, Memphis soul, Irish reels, zydeco, indie rock, a country waltz, jump blues, Western Mass polka or French Café music. What you do know is that there will be a dance groove and the band will be having at least as good a time as the audience. This is music for dancing and singing, hand-claps and swinging.
The Johnny Memphis Band formed in 2014 in the wake of releasing an album of Johnny Memphis originals, which the Daily Hampshire Gazette reviewer called “insanely catchy.” Memphis is best known as a deejay and music director on WRSI, 939 The River radio where for 21 years he spun an eclectic mix of music and championed the Pioneer Valley scene on the “Homegrown” radio show (also simulcast on cable TV.) Memphis has been in various Pioneer Valley bands as a sideman, most notably playing mandolin in the jigabilly juggernaut known as the Big Bad Bollocks and bass with the disco garage band Check, Please! His debut album features big scoops of local flavor on original songs like the roadhouse rockabilly “Truck Eating Bridge” about the notorious Northampton landmark and “Tiny Tim’s Waltz” about the demise of the ukulele- wielding ‘60s icon at the Montague Grange.
To play a wide range of music styles you need talented, versatile players and the Johnny Memphis Band has them. Based out of Florence, MA the group includes great players like fiddler Katherine First (Kitchen Party), drummer Jason Smith (Fancy Trash,) bassist Paul Hartshorne (Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra) and guitarist David Pinkerton (Gomero.)