The Mercury's first-ever Chili Jamboree is coming October 6 to Mississippi Studios, filling your Sunday with beans, meat, spice, and great country music. Be sure to get your tickets now before it's too late, and check out all the event deets right here. In the meantime, let's get to know each of the fantastic bands playing this Sunday.
LUCERO—For 15 years, these Memphis boys have made a spine-tingling amalgam of Southern music: lonesome country, fist-pumping rock, Big Star pop, and hardscrabble Dixie punk. Their most recent album Women & Work displays overt gospel and soul influences, while keeping alive the tradition of alt-country's magnificent songwriting. While their lyrics betray literary references, their live shows are beer-spattered things of legend—Lucero knows that a functioning soul needs some wild catharsis alongside those more subdued moments of contemplation.
STURGILL SIMPSON—Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson was an indisputable highlight of this year's Pickathon festival, and his debut album High Top Mountain is one of the best things to come out of Nashville in decades. Echoing outlaws of the past—Waylon, Willie, Johnny, Lefty—but able to cast his own shadow, Simpson has quickly earned a reputation as one of the saviors of country music. There's nothing backward-gazing or reactionary about his music; rather, Simpson keeps a keen eye out for the truth and doesn't waste a single instant on the bullcrap. "Life ain't fair and the world is mean," he sings, but with music like Simpson's, it's obvious that things can't be all bad.
Learn about Daniel Romano, Shelby Earl, and Mission Spotlight after the jump!
DANIEL ROMANO—Proof that good country music pays no mind to international borders, Canadian jack-of-all-trades Daniel Romano makes some of the most authentic music around, when he's not designing posters for M. Ward, running his You've Changed Records label, or sitting in with bands like City and Colour and the Luyas. Romano opened for Caitlin Rose's recent Portland show, and the pair duetted on some songs that sent shivers through the room. Meanwhile, heartache has never sounded sweeter than on his terrific Come Cry with Me album. If ever a man was worthy of putting on Gram Parsons' Nudie suit, it is Romano.
SHELBY EARL—Okay, Seattle's Shelby Earl doesn't fit in the traditional mold of country music, but with a voice and a songwriting talent this huge, she can fit in just about anywhere. Her splendid new Swift Arrows album was recorded with Damien Jurado and took advantage of Seattle's Columbia City Theater's natural acoustics. It's a swooning, mercurial thing of beauty—Earl's voice and flair for heightened drama could make Bat for Lashes jealous.
MISSION SPOTLIGHT—Portland's own Mission Spotlight inaugurated the Mercury's very first Malt Ball, playing the 2012 festival's opening set, and we're very pleased to have them back for the first-ever Chili Jamboree. The local five-piece's Northwestern twang holds the alt-country flag high, and their careful, keening country sounds like pure Oregon: wide expanses of horizon, occasional darkening clouds, a self-sufficient DIY aesthetic, and a spirit of adventure.
This is going to be incredible. Get those tickets!
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, Sun Oct 6, 2 pm (second Lucero/Sturgill Simpson show at 10 pm), $20-30