Oteil brings Jimmy Herring to Memphis

Oteil & the Peacemakers with Jimmy Herring
the Gibson Lounge
Memphis, Tennessee
January 11, 2007

Oteil Burbridge and Jimmy Herring have a long history of making music.  They’ve shared the stage as members of the Aquarium Rescue Unit.  They were Frogwings together, and shared the stage as Allman Brothers during summer 2000.  Many great jams have come as a result of those two guys playing together.

Therefore, it was no surprise that great things would occur when it was announced Herring would be tagging along with Oteil’s band, the Peacemakers, on a brief tour of Tennessee and Alabama.

The band opened the show with just the regular Peacemakers on stage, playing a great "Monk Funk."  Then, Oteil announced his "good friend Jimmy Herring," claimed that they "ain’t playing around tonight," and he meant it.  The show took off with a scorching "You Got Me Floating," with Herring taking the first solo, immediately announcing his presence.

Tower of Power’s "What Is Hip?" was phenomenal, with drummer Chris Fryar doing a great job of manning the vocals.  Regular Peacemakers singer Paul Henson was not in attendance, but Oteil picked up the slack taking vocals for the bulk of the songs.  For all the praise his bass playing gets, his vocals more than hold their own.

Peacemakers original "No More Doubt" followed, and like all of the songs, benefited from Herring’s stamp.  Peacemakers guitarist Mark Kimbrell is an outstanding guitarist in his own right – his jazzy style complements Oteil’s funky bass on a nightly basis.  However, having Herring there to push him made Kimbrell elevate his game to another level, and this song may have been the best of the night, as all players on stage contributed to a great jam that crossed the ten-minute mark.

Herring left the stage eventually, taking a quick break as the Peacemakers played their version of Jimi Hendrix’s "Power To Love," a staple of their live set that includes teases of AC/DC’s "Back In Black."  However, the strawberry blonde-haired guitarist soon re-emerged for a few Country/Western tunes, Hank Williams’ "Kawliga" and George Jones’ "the Door," which made for an interesting change of pace.  The band ripped through Sugarloaf’s "Green Eyed Lady" before inviting Memphis staple Hope Clayburn (saxophone) and pedal steel player Roosevelt Collier (from the opener, the Lee Boys) up on stage to sit in and close out the show.

All in all, this was a great, great show.  There were no rehearsals prior to taking the stage, yet Jimmy fit in like he had been playing with this outfit for years.  While his time touring with the Peacemakers was great, if the rest of the country is lucky, it’ll happen again, and soon.