Victor Wainwright and the Train, “Memphis Loud” (Ruf)
Here’s an hour-long set to help fill the void created by all of those canceled summer music festivals.
“Memphis Loud” was tracked live in the studio by Victor Wainwright and the Train, creating a vibe suitable for a crowd enjoying a sunny, lazy weekend afternoon, when time seems to slow down.
The Memphis-based Wainwright and his six-piece band are right for the job because they serve up something for everyone with their rootsy, funky, well-cooked jam-band mix of R&B, jazz and Americana. Influences run deep, and piano man Wainwright even honors Little Richard with his shouts of “Woo!”
“Everybody start a party,” Wainwright sings on the opener “Mississippi,” and that sums up the mood. But there’s plenty of variety to the arrangements. “Walk the Walk” is fueled by joyful syncopation, the witty “South End of a North Bound Mule” could be a country hit, and foggy Duke Ellington-style horns on the ballad “Sing” suggest a product of the theater.
Wainwright and the Train lose steam at the end with a dog song and a too-long gospel-style finale. But the rest of “Memphis Loud” deserves an audience, even if it can’t be at a festival.