June 6-14 • 21st Century Waterfront, Chattanooga, TN
June 12-15 • Manchester, TN
If you're studied up on your musical history, this recommendation is pretty much a no-brainer.
On the one hand, you've got The New Orleans Suspects, whom you might remember as the N'awlins-based super group that brought a bit of that city's distinctive funk to bear on the Scenic City last year as a headliner of the Riverfront Nights concert series.
Think of the Suspects as the Big Easy's version of The Traveling Wilburys or Velvet Revolver, an all-star ensemble whose members have ties to some of the biggest names in New Orleans music, including The Neville Brothers, Outformation, The Radiators and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Also, some cat named James Brown, who I hear was pretty good.
If you want a choice taste of just how deep these guys can get into the groove, check out the tight, sticky madness of "Swampthang" or "Ev'ry Wind in the River" off their 2012 self-titled album.
The Suspects would be a solid recommendation all on their own, but Riverbend has managed a pretty slick one-up on an already great band by folding in guitarist Paul Barrere and multi-instrumentalist Fred Tackett, both of whom are members of Los Angeles-based rock legends Little Feat. If you don't know who that is, I suggest you immediately stop reading and go find a copy of 1973's "Dixie Chicken."
Tackett and Barrere will start off the evening as an acoustic duo, playing songs from Little Feat's catalog, but the evening will wrap up with a Bonnaroo-like super jam that will bring in The Suspects to add their musical clout to the proceedings.
Good thing this one is on a stage with as much room as Bud Light because I suspect it's going to draw in music lovers like yellowjackets to a plate of pralines. As they say down in the Big Easy: "Laissez les bons temps rouler."
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.