Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Weeks

Contemporary Southern rock

Express Staff Writer

The Weeks are touring with Kings of Leon this summer. Courtesy photo

    Mississippi-bred Southern rock band The Weeks may have the sounds of Kings of Leon, but they pursue the celebrity stylings of another famous statesman, All-Star football and baseball’s Bo Jackson.
    “Bo Jackson is a legend,” explained The Weeks’ Sam Williams, when asked the significance of their first album’s name “Dear Bo Jackson,” to be released April 30.
    “We’ve always believed that genre-wise, we’re pretty multi-faceted and we’ll never pigeon hole ourselves to one style of music when we love to play so many,” he elaborated. “Bo Jackson seemed to accomplish whatever he wanted with no regard for press or publicity, and always in the most humble way. That’s all we want to do.”
    The Weeks are coming to town Friday, April 12, to build some traction to sustain them on their first-ever tour with Kings of Leon this summer.
    “That tour goes down this June and July,” Williams said. “We’re expecting to learn a lot. We’ll be doing a small club tour at the same time, so I’m ready to learn how to adjust between 200-capacity clubs and 20,000-seat arenas.”
    The band has great buzz around its home base of Jackson, Miss. It has been in the works for a decade starting when the tweeners bribed their way into 21-and-up shows featuring Champagne Heights and King Elementary.    
    “There was a great rock ’n’ roll scene when we were
between 11 and 13 years old in Jackson,” Williams said. “We’d pay the door guys 20 bucks to let us into $5 shows three times a week. Once all those bands either broke up or moved away, we felt an obligation to pick up where they left off.”
    The Weeks were launched, composed of Williams (guitars), Damien Bone (bass), Cain Barnes (drums), Cyle Barnes (vocals) and Alex Admiral Collier (keyboards). Their music combines classic flavors of soul, R&B, funk and heavy boogie into a unique take on contemporary Southern rock.
    Williams said the band members were familiar to each other from seeing each other at shows.
    “We just picked a date and stared writing together immediately,” he said. “This is all of our first real band. I started playing with The Weeks when I was 14, and seven years later, they’re still the only dudes I’ve played music seriously with.”
    Three rhythm guitarists came and went in those years, “but once we found Admiral on the keyboards about two years ago, we knew that was the direction we wanted to go,” Williams said. “He’s our ebony wizard of the ivories.”
    Williams said their home state influences their life choices and their music.
    “It’s not necessarily a tangible influence, but we feel that the pace and lifestyle that we’re used to there has a big impact on our music. It’s not the Southern rock or the blues from the area that influence us, but the people and their innate sense of rhythm and groove.”
    He said coming west with their act is “definitely uncharted.”
    “We actually had a good friend in our hometown that was from Boise—Johnny Bertram. Great dude, great musician. Once a lot of bands make it out West they focus on L.A., Portland, Seattle, and then are on the way back home. We had another Idaho friend invite us to play his 40th birthday party back in 2011 and we stayed in Sun Valley with him a few days. Really excited to get back there and play a few shows.”
    Asked how they distinguish themselves musically when the airwaves are so jam-packed and the avenues so vast, Williams said, “We still keep it simple and release records like we always have. Every now and again we’ll release a free digital single or have some online promotion. We’ve been doing this for seven years, so doing it organically has always been a big part of that process—write good music, release good music, play good music on tour for half the year.”
    Their stage show is described as a Mississippi ruckus.
    “We’re not a stationary band on stage—there’s a lot of crowd interaction and dancing. That’s what live music is good for, right?”

Playing at Whiskey’s
Who: El Stash and The Weeks
When: Friday, April 12, 9 p.m.
Cost: $5.
Who: Diego’s Umbrella
When: Saturday, April 13, 9 p.m.
Cost: $5.


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