The Southern Soul Assembly is coming to Nashville on Mar. 20. Photo submitted
Stories always sound better in a song and when it comes to the narrative of the South, the story is a time-honored tradition that has always played a significant role in its culture.
Whether it is good conversation, preaching, or the lyrics of a song, there is no better region where it ranks higher in magnitude as the South. And when it comes to stories and songs, the four artists who make up the Southern Soul Assembly tour excel at their craft at a rate superior than many.
Starting on March 18, JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard will join forces for an artist-in-the round tour that will bring them to Nashville, Tenn. on March 20 at War Memorial Auditorium.
The idea for the tour came into fruition due to the fact that most of all the artists knew each other and were always crossing paths while on the road.
“There is a common theme underlying what we each do—it’s the South, the landscape and the culture of our surroundings. That theme is present in each of our song collections. But we all have different perspectives,” Grey said in a recent news release.
While all parties involved come from different backgrounds, all have ties to southern heritage and are torchbearers for its music. And while they each have a body of work that can speak for itself, one must agree that when they share the stage, the end product will be something of grand proportions and will have all spirits uplifted.
Luther Dickinson has always been known to bring the music and tradition of his Mississippi roots to the masses. Whether it is with his group North Mississippi Allstars, South Memphis String Band or his solo work, Dickinson is the bridge between blues artists of the past such as R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Otha Turner. All the while, he connects the dots in a sound that pays homage to the days of old but with his own twist.
On the same note, Florida’s JJ Grey has carved his own niche over the years touring and cranking out albums like Lochloosa and Orange Blossoms that are full of Southern drawl and soul. The New York Times has described Grey’s sound as “impassioned singing, riff-based Southern rock, cold-blooded swamp funk and sly Memphis soul."
Going further down south you will find Louisiana’s Marc Broussard and the N’awlins based Anders Osborne. Broussard, a soul man at heart found much success with the stomping hit, “Home” an and his S.O.S Saver Our Soul album where he tackled classics such as Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.”
On the other hand, Osborne has fashioned works like Ash Wednesday Blues and Coming Down that are a direct spotlight on New Orleans culture and paint a picture of his storytelling and the Crescent City. While those albums aren’t in the too distant past, these days you may find him in circles performing with artists like Phil Lesh and Warren Haynes among others.
While this is a first for this group of musicians, there isn’t a precedent as what to expect but there is a beauty in the looseness and improvisation that could ensue during the shows.
Grey says “It’s a bit of a mystery as to exactly what will unfold on the road and on the stage. That’s the excitement of it. I’m looking forward to the whole interaction, the whole front porch feel, drinking a beer and hanging out and playing music.”
After their Nashville date, the tour will extend through the Southeast into cities such as Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala. and Meridian, Miss.
For more information on dates, visit southernsoulassembly.com and the tour can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/SouthernSoulAssembly.