The series opens this Saturday with Papa Grows Funk from New Orleans. While the tunes may not be as familiar, the music is an infectiously danceable mash-up of Sly Stone’s slinky groove and Funkadelic’s rock ‘n’ roll. Led by “Papa” John Gros’ regal Jimmy Smith-style riffing on his Hammond B3, the band includes saxophonist Jason Mingledorff, guitarist June Yamaguchi, and a deep-in-the-pocket rhythm section featuring bassist Marc Pero and drummer “Jellybean.”
The following Saturday (Aug. 12) the featured band, from Colorado, is Grant Farm. The band showcases Tyler Grant, voted National Flatpicking Champion in 2009 and 2011, playing a Telecaster, and Andy Thorn playing a banjo that looks like a guitar—which, by the way, he plays like one. Straddling the fence separating garage-band rockers and front-porch pickers, the band draws equally from Neil Young and The Grateful Dead.
Three very different shows, three excellent reasons to spend a lazy evening listening to music under the stars while watching the lights and enjoying the cool breeze off the water.
Richard Winham is the host and producer of WUTC-FM’s afternoon music program and has observed the Chattanooga music scene for more than 25 years.