If you go
› What: Nightfall concert series featuring Los Colognes.
› When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 15; Operation Song opens at 6:45 p.m. (early start time).
› Where: Miller Plaza, 850 Market St.
› Admission: Free.
› Phone: 423-265-0771.
› Series website: nightfallchattanooga.com.
› Artist website: loscolognes.com.
Operation Song is a therapy program for military veterans that uses songwriting as a means of working through issues such as post-traumatic stress. Friday’s performance will include several songs played by professional musicians but written by participants in the program, including the family members of the five servicemen who died in the July 16, 2015, terrorist attack in Chattanooga. For more information, visit operationsong.com.
Los Colognes' music somehow sounds like it's got tendrils creeping through a dozen genres but has deep roots in none of them.
The Nashville-based ensemble embodies tinges of Allman Brothers Southern blues rock, hints of Muscle Shoals sheen and a bit of Dixieland swing. It's got Mark Knopfler's romp and embraces The Grateful Dead's jammy, psychedelic sensibility.
"It all goes into the vacuum," says guitarist/vocalist Jay Rutherford, who co-founded the band 15 years ago in Chicago with drummer and longtime collaborator Aaron "Mort" Mortenson.
Mortenson and Rutherford relocated the band to Nashville from Chicago in 2010, fleeing the Midwest and its overly competitive scene for Music City, which Rutherford describes as a relatively unknown entity on the Chicago scene at the time.
"Nashville just randomly happened," he says. "It wasn't on the national radar. No one in Chicago was talking about Nashville. We just knew a bunch of great records were made in Nashville.
"When we got here, we immediately discovered a really cool, small community that was affordable. There were a lot of people committed to doing this themselves and really committed to the craft. That was great."
On Friday, July 15, Los Colognes will bring its genre-spanning, eminently danceable music to the stage at Miller Plaza as this week's Nightfall concert series headliner.
Since arriving in Nashville, Los Colognes has released a pair of albums, 2013's "Working Together" and 2015's "Dos." The band is currently finishing up a third album, which Rutherford says should be released by the end of this year or early next year.
"We've just taken the sound and influences and honed it in a little bit more and opened it up to a more cosmic space," he says. "It's pretty trippy, man."
Despite drawing conscious inspiration from artists like J.J. Cale and Grateful Dead recordings of the 1980s, sprawling jams aren't evident on Los Colognes' recordings, where the band intentionally keeps things "kind of concise." Onstage, however, the constraints loosen significantly in the interest of digging into a groove and capturing the verve of the moment, Rutherford says.
"Ultimately, I think we want there to be an authentic emanation of energy," he says. "We're feeling it in the moment, which leaps off the page, and the audience feels it. [And] there's a damn good groove under everything, so if nothing else, the audience can move their hips.
"That hippie ideal of everyone coming together and experiencing this transference of energy and it becoming something bigger, that's the goal of any artist, especially a musician."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.