Included on the short list of covers performed by this Brooklyn-based trio are Elvis Costello’s “Mystery Dance” and Tom Waits’ “Better Off Without a Wife.” How cool is that?
The Mumbles play mostly original music, though, and it’s cool, R&B-inflected hipster jazz – in fact, some writer somewhere called it “Lounge music for the super-hip.”
There are three Mumbles, in heavy rotation: Keyboardist Keith Burnstein and drummer Ethan Shorter (ex-members of a 14-piece hip hop collective), with Meredith Claire on swinging and sultry lead vocals. As fabulous as the group sound is, Claire is the Mumbles’ secret weapon: She’s got that ultra-lounge diva thing in spades, with the bluesy lilt of Maria Muldaur in her salad says.
And what’s up with the moniker? “Mumbling is guttural,” says Burnstein. “It’s soft. You’ve got to listen closely. The Mumbles just fit—it has a scrappy sound to it and is a little bit raucous.” Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/brooklynmumbles. At 8 p.m. Aug. 8 and 9, Jazz’d Tapas Bar.
CHRIS PORTER AND THE BACK ROW BAPTISTS
One of the most alluring genre bills of the summer pairs Savannah’s Trainwrecks – they of the hopped-up Americana boogie-folk – “Johnny Cash on speed,” as the band members like to call their music – with Alabama’s Chris Porter and the Back Row Baptists. Porter actually sounds like Steve Earle on the fast track – the music sneers, bumps and smokes like a loose-limbed, Texas rail road train, propelled by Susan Nuckols’ wicked fiddle, and ukulele (!) played with abandon by Adam Guthrie. The best of the Birmingham-based Baptists brings the late, lamented alt-country Whiskeytown to mind. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/chrisporterandthebackrowbaptists. Friday, Aug. 7 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
From Oxford, Miss. comes a blistering boil of hill country blues, hillbilly twang and tough, acoustic-driven southern rock. Rocket 88 includes husband & wife duo Jamie and Rosamond Posey on guitars and vocals, Nathan Robbins on bass, Bradley Gordon on drums and Robert “Stubbs” Chaffe on keyboards and organ. Chaffe’s got a real Chuck Leavell feel, and Rosamond’s vocals conjure a smoky, Stevie Nicks vibe. Listen & learn: www.rocket88music.com. Friday, Aug. 7 at Fiddler’s, 131 W. River St.
Savannah’s newest electric blues foursome draws from the well of guitar greats, including Albert Collins, Freddie King, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Thursday’s gig at Bonerz is just the second show from Richard Steven (lead guitar and vocals), Barry Sikes (bass and vocals), Dino Oliver (drums and vocals) and J. Ellis (blues harpoon). This is raucous, Texas-style blues - messin’ with the kid indeed. At 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 at J.J. Bonerz, 11 W. Bay St.