Southern Avenue to Soulsville
From the East side of Memphis all the way to Stax Recording Studios, Southern Avenue has always been the road most traveled to bring musicians from all walks of life into the aura of that Stax magic. Throughout the sixties and seventies Stax was Soul music and the soul was formed from the rich diversity of culture that found it’s way from throughout the south to Memphis and down Southern Avenue. Therefore it is so fitting that first Memphis band to sign to Stax in fifty year is so diverse, so cultured, so magical and so Southern Avenue.
The Debut Album
Released on Feburary 24th, their 10 song CD is already riding high on the Blues charts behind the strength of songs like Don’t Give Up, the Gospel inspired Peace Will Come, Rumble and the blistering cover of Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Your Love. It’s hard to believe that this band is only about a year old. Southern Avenue came together when Ori Naftaly, who grew up in Israel but with a passion for American Blues and Funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led him to move to Memphis permanently. Also in Memphis was Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson. A soulful and charismatic singer and a subtle but powerful drummer. Adding into magic is jazz inspired bassist Daniel McKee and newest member keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an alumnus of Stax’s legendary music academy.
Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band’s formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label.
“I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility,” says Tierinii. “I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it’s up to us to live up to that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home.”
Tierinii views Southern Avenue as “a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We’d all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us.