Friday - Apr 21, 2023 7:30PM
Jay Burgess was raised in, on, and by the music of Muscle Shoals - He’s been a “young pup” to many of the Shoals music scene stalwarts for practically his entire adult life, going back to his days as a young guitar slinger and his early songwriting efforts (encouraged by Jason Isbell), all the way through to his creation of the Pollies, the band he’s used as a prism to reflect some of the weirder, prettier strains of Southern rock music. While the quality and professionalism of his native Shoals have always informed their music, the Pollies don’t simply ape the R&B-influenced rock for which their hometown scene is famous. Many peg their music to decidedly non-Southern influences like Wilco or Neil Young, but the true spirit of the Pollies’ music is reflective of a long tradition that bears no resemblance to Molly Hatchett or the like. The sounds of Southern bands who don’t fit within the genre “Southern rock,” foremost among them the legendary Big Star from up the highway in Memphis, echo throughout the Pollies slightly weird, sometimes noisy, always pretty rock songs. There is a lot more connecting Memphis and Muscle Shoals than the fabled Highway 72, and with “Transmissions,” the Pollies continue to show that rock music is Southern music and that Southern rock, whether flowing from Memphis, Athens, Chapel Hill or Muscle Shoals, is anything but a cliché of hairy 70s bands singing about whiskey with rebel flags on the kick drum.
The Pollies are a band - a true "band" in the Shoals tradition, whether rocking their own music or backing acclaimed artists. Their history of collaborations includes current tours backing Dylan LeBlanc and Nicole Atkins, records with Browan Lollar of St. Paul & the Broken Bones and the late Chris Porter, and backing gigs with John Paul White. Years of well-received touring behind LeBlanc have helped cement the present lineup and their lovely yet gritty sound, like a Southern Crazy Horse veering between delicate beauty and a not-quite-chaotic freight train roar. Jay's recent marriage spawned a batch of songs with a clear-eyed view of love and how we express it, the core of "Transmissions." This is a true “album” with one foot in the deep traditions of Shoals music and the other firmly planted in the strange cosmos of independent Southern rock - a collection of compelling, crazy, lovely, noisy songs about love and life. Turn it up, and come along for the ride!