Trigger Hippy is coming back to Rhythm & Brews on Friday. The band featuring Joan Osborne, along with singer/ songwriters Jackie Greene and Will Kimbrough, former Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, and bassist Nick Govrik first played in Chattanooga last summer. A number of videos from various stops on that brief tour, including several shot in Rhythm& Brews, are available on YouTube.
Former Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed, who was a part of the band last summer, left soon after playing on the recent sessions for a forthcoming album. Drummer Gorman, lamenting his departure in a note on the band’s website, notes that “juggling schedules and commitments with new projects is a bitch.” Indeed, and in light of that comment, you have to wonder about the continued viability of this little band already being tagged a “super group” on some websites. On his website, Will Kimbrough talks about playing with the group “for a week” this month, and “then I guess we’ll see what we do after that.”
For her part, Joan Osborne has just released a blinding new album of vintage R&B with her regular touring band, and she has dates set with them throughout the summer. Given their busy schedules it may well be that this show will be one of the few opportunities to see this funky little quintet for a while.
Describing the band in a recent interview, drummer Gorman called it a “rock ‘n’ roll band coming from an old R&B and soul background. Joan is such a student of that music and a lifelong singer of those things.” Watching the video clips of their performances from last summer it’s clear that the band offers each of these busy people an opportunity to relax and have a good time.
You can hear the current line-up on “Cave Hill Cemetery,” a song from the forthcoming album, available as a free download on their website. A steaming gumbo driven by Greene’s greasy organ and Kimbrough’s guitar hero licks, it features Osborne singing as if she’s having the time of her life fronting these old-school soul shakers. Listening to it certainly helps explain why these busy people would risk jangled nerves juggling their schedules to make room for a handful of dates, not to mention the sessions for the album.
Commenting on her role within the band in a recent interview with Connect Savannah, Osborne said, “For me, it was fun to be part of a band instead of being a solo artist and having to sort of be the prime mover behind everything. Everybody’s coming up with songs, and taking equal responsibility for it. You share the fun and you also share the stuff that’s not so much fun.”
Given that the band began as a side project for Gorman and Freed, both veterans of The Black Crowes, it’s perhaps not surprising that Trigger Hippy has more than a trace of that band’s Faces/Stones sensibility. The Stones came down to Muscle Shoals in the late ’60s searching for the sound they’d heard on the classic cuts made in Rick Hall’s tiny Fame studio. You can hear it on “Sticky Fingers,” and you can hear it again in Trigger Hippy. But then again, at this point the music has bounced back and forth across the Atlantic so many times that their take on it, as Osborne observed, has a very tangled genesis. “It’s got a real Southern tinge to it. It has that British blues/rock aspect, but it’s filtered through a very Southern sensibility.”
featuring Joan Osborne
$15 • 8 p.m. Friday, April 27
Rhythm & Brews
221 Market St. (423) 267-4644