Stout

Stout

BandRockJam

STOUT roots come from a variety of sources ranging from Memphis based Soul to New Orleans Style Funk to the Deep South Rock and Roll.

Biography

Few places (if any) in the world can claim a musical legacy as rich in artistry and diversity as Memphis. The hardscrabble city on the banks of the Mississippi is arguably the birthplace of blues, soul, gospel, and rock music. It is also the home of Stout.

Comprised of a five distinct and eclectic musicians and personalities which drummer Robert Kamm describes as “equal components of a functioning carnival,” Stout was formed in 2002 from the remnants of one band—Kamm, bassist Rory Gardner, keyboardist/vocalist “Junior” Schuster, and guitarist/vocalist Matt Oliver - and the addition of percussionist Tony Walsh.

Much like the city where they started, the five members of Stout are unpretentious and genuine. They spent their first summer together playing outside on Beale Street, working out early set lists by gauging the reaction of passersby. Rare is the Stout show, in whatever city, that doesn't end with post-gig drinks with friends and fans.

Stout's ability to connect with an audience, though, begins when they take the stage. Although serious about their musicianship (and talented players individually), Stout is a “functioning carnival.” Their straight-ahead rock and roll is infused with the testimonial fire of blues and soul, making their shows cathartic, sweat-soaked, and memorable gatherings.

In less than a year, Stout’s incessant touring has earned them an ever larger grassroots following in the Southeast, making believers out of disparate audiences, be it opening for alt-rock legends Violent Femmes or playing a biker bar in Mississippi - the crowd of two hundred keeping their backs to the band. “But they stayed,” says Kamm.

Now, they've released their debut CD On The Rocks, self-produced by the band with assistance from Willie Pevear, recorded in Memphis and mastered at the renowned Ardent Studios - a dozen tracks kick started by the loose, gospel-inflected “Down By The Riverside.” Driven by Schuster's relentless, rollicking keyboards, the song addresses the issue of racial tension—something the band has witnessed first-hand in their hometown. It's a difficult subject, but Stout tackles it simply and earnestly, offering no answers, merely a view, while never forgetting the groove.

On The Rocks is populated by odd characters the band has met along the way, like the titular “poet of Arkansas” at the end of the bar on “Jackspeare.” The song moves along briskly, building momentum to a frenzy of percussion, piano, and guitar during the bridge. They slow things down, temporarily, on the smoldering “The Crow And The Monkey,” Oliver’s dirty blues guitar and throaty, powerful vocal giving conviction to the rumination on vices, offered as an Aesopian fable.

Walsh's percolating percussion and some breezy harmonica (courtesy of Junior) gives a devil-may-care attitude to the manic blues/funk workout "Harmony In Dreams," with Stout's rhythm section of Kamm and Gardner – as always - providing the backbone. And the uplifting "The Family" is a soulful testament to the power of the ties - both blood and forged - that holds everything together.

With On The Rocks, Stout has announced themselves as a high-octane musical force with which to be reckoned. It's an opening toast with serious mojo to which the ghosts of Memphis would certainly drink.

Welcome to the carnival.

Lyrics

Down By The Riverside

Written By: C. Schuster

They got the stars and the bars on one side staring down at a gang of mad men
Tryin' to get the right people in through the wrong side so they don't have to cry for what could have been
Down by the riverside wearing a hooded coat of white, somebody's gonna learn to swin tonight

The Great grandsons of the slave time starin' down at a country man
Mississippi Moonshine and the sounds of a southern band
Too much history and too many folks ready to fight
Why's they have to make it all black and white?

I don't mean to rock the boat but I won't shed my coat just to show you my skin tone
If it's gettin' too thick outside why don't you find a ride to take you back to the nursing home?
You won't find yorself alone there
Many people'll be singing your song there
Singin "Keep me away from the firestarter"
I remember when life was so much harder
I know that they're wrong
But they've been here too long
and I've never seen that side of a fight

They got the stars and the bars on one side staring down at a gang of mad men
Tryin' to get the right people in through the wrong side so they don't have to cry for what could have been
Down by the riverside wearing a hooded coat of white, somebody's gonna learn how to get it right

Harmony in Dreams

Written By: Oliver, Schuster

Sound shines different colors in my head
stained glass window takes the light and makes change
that's how it's been forever
The wind cries out for Mary but can she hear
or does the message go straight into one ear and right out the other
Has she smothered harmony in dreams?

The harmony in dreams aint never what it seems the song that's in my hea dis begging to be fed
It's telling me what's next but I'm eternally vexed
This ever-flowing stream of harmony in dreams

A Song bird shares a part in the new mother earth
a grand symphony of life, death, and birth
that's how it's been forever
A sweet golden voice with a melody clear
I focus in on the tones and I shed one tear
Knowing only the mother can uncover harmony in dreams

The Crow and the Monkey

Written By: Oliver

I've got too many enemies and not enough friends
Mix in all my anxiety, the crow is calling again
My convictions they sentence me, an unoriginal sin
Unneeded stress on my arteries, Why must I always give in?

Just one more time, that'll be the end
Just one more time, that little devil's gonna be my friend
"CAW!", said the crow from the top of the tree and as he flew right down here's what he said to me

"Here's a monkey for you back, I've got a million different ways you can use it"
And the angel on my shoulder said "Becareful that you never abuse it, life is short and, boy, you don't want to lose it"

The crow he laughs at me constantly
he wants to see me lose
he's a beacon of impropriety
sings a song about a clever ruse
Just one more time
that'll be the end
just one more time
that little devil's gonna be my friend

"Caw!" I can hear you son of a bitch
'cause I know you've got something that can sure my itch

Discography

Radio Airplay:

107.5 Memphis - "The Crow and The Monkey", "Bucket o' Funk", "Down By The Riverside"

94.1 Memphis - "Down By The Riverside", "The Crow and The Monkey"

KDHX St Louis - In Studio Session

Set List

We have no typical set list because we like to change the show up depending on environment. We have played first sets to restaraunt crowds that have been contained and controlled, then come out once the dinner crowd has gone to bed and play a raukus set for the late nighters. Each set typically lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, but we have been known to play for three hours straight. We do throw in the occassional cover, most of which are tips of the hat to our influences (mostly classic rock type of stuff).

Original music:

Angelita (Oliver)
A Song You Know (Oliver)
Bayou Man (Schuster)
The Bow (Oliver)
*Bucket of Funk (Schuster, Evdoxiadis)
Cerebral Spin-cycle (Oliver)
*Crazy Eyes (Schuster)
*Crow and the Monkey (Oliver)
*Day to Remember (Oliver)
Dinero (Oliver)
Dime by Dime (Kamm, Schuster)
*Down by the Riverside (Schuster)
*The Family (Oliver)
Fill the Void (Kamm, Schuster)
*Harmony in Dreams (Oliver, Schuster)
Hearsay Holly (Oliver)
I Never Knew (Schuster)