Two-time Blues Music Award winner and remarkable vocalist John Nemeth fronts the Love Light Orchestra, a group of the best Memphis has to offer. Bobby “Blue” Bland and his longtime arranger Joe Scott are the inspiration behind the formation of the band, which seeks to distill the sounds of the ’50s and ’60s rhythm & blues and blues. The Love Light Orchestra draws from the horn-driven Memphis blues sound of B.B. King, Little Milton, and “Junior” Parker.
John Nemeth says, “The Memphis sound of the ’50s put in the sophistication with the horns, but it never lost that gritty aspect of the blues. And the spirituality in the vocals was tremendous—the melodies have such great movements, and the lyrical rhythms are perfect.” The band brilliantly recasts Al Green’s iconic hit “Love and Happiness” as a shuffle, with parts inspired by Charles Mingus’ “Fables of Faubus.” Their self-titled debut album, out on Blue Barrel Records, was recorded live in a hometown bar, DKDC.
One number, recorded at the Levitt Shell in Memphis, captures the excitement. Trumpeter/arranger/ and co-founder Marc Franklin told Elmore: “’See Why I Love You’ is how we bring on Nemeth at our gigs and how we kick off the new record. Earl Lowe’s drum cadence at the top lets you know something’s about to go down, and Art Edmaiston’s sax solo is the cherry on top.”
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