There is so much more to Memphis than its crime rate. There are so many things to be proud of for Memphians. Not the least of which is our music. Elvis Presley, the king of rock and roll may not have been born here, but he was crowned here.
So many points of pride about our music heritage. The slogan “Home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock and roll” is certainly on point. But we are also the home of Rockabilly and a leader in the Rhythm and Blues sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Let’s not forget that many of Nashville’s country stars got their start right here in the bluff city, people like Johnny Cash, Reggie Young, Robbie Turner, Dan Penn, etc.
So many times when we think of Memphis music, we look to the past, but there is also a future for Memphis music. One of the people leading our music into the future is Josh Haynes. Josh is an outstanding guitar player in a music haven where a mediocre guitar player would be a star in any other city.
I first became aware of Josh Haynes when I saw him playing with an eighties cover band called Grand Theft Audio, a great name for a cover band. Josh blew me away the first time I saw him. He was hitting some amazing notes and he was doing it as effortlessly as you and I would scratch an itch.
Josh told me in our conversation for Memphis Music Inner View that he really didn’t sing that much until a couple of years ago. He was encouraged to do so by his fellow Grand Theft Audio band member, bassist/singer Keith Blanchard. In that time, he has honed that talent and he has become more and more comfortable with it.
There are so many good bands in Memphis that do covers, original material and some that do both. One of the bands that do both is a group called the Lineup. The original line-up of the lineup included veteran session guitarist Jack Holder, session bassist David Smith (both of whom were on Jonny Lang’s “Lie to Me” album), keyboardist Kary Baddour and Grammy nominated drummer Pete Mendillo (Joe Lynn Turner, Survivor, Jimi Jamison, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Bobby Kimball, Black Oak Arkansas and Savoy Brown)
The second time I saw the Lineup, Kenny Long had replaced Kary Baddour and Jack Holder had suffered a stroke so I wasn’t sure who would be playing lead for them. Of course, it was Josh Haynes. The Lineup is a Classic Rock cover band that also does original material written by their front man, lead singer and guitarist David Kurtz. That was the first time I heard Josh sing, he did a cover of Survivor’s “High on You.” Now, I had seen Josh twice as I was totally impressed both times and for different reasons but I had no idea what lied ahead from him.
The other group I saw that featured the talented, charismatic guitarist was a Pink Floyd tribute band called PULSE. Not just a cover band, but the best Pink Floyd tribute band I have ever heard and for good reason, they have been together for fifteen years. Other than the two background singers, they are all original members.
Josh also plays all of the guitars on Tina Harris’ (Sweetbox and Snap! fame) new single “So Addicted“ and is available on iTunes from her upcoming album “Free to Love” being released on Memphis own Archer Records in January 2016.
I’m not sure what lies ahead in the future for Josh Haynes, but I’m sure he will achieve whatever he sets his mind to. He is just one of the talented musicians and singers that will lead the next generation of Memphis music. I’ll introduce you to others in the near future.