A few months back, Music Editor Chris Gray's Noise column bemoaned the fact that the 'roll' has pretty much disappeared from rock and roll. Enter John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives.
Keith has an interesting history and rock and roll pedigree. His roommate in Knoxville, Tennessee, back in the day was another pretty fair songwriter and rocker, Scott Miller. In fact, their band the Viceroys had a short fuse and high energy that made them the club kings of Knoxville.
Keith eventually left to go solo, and Miller soldiered on with the V-Roys, the first band Steve Earle and Jack Emerson signed when they formed their E-Squared label. Meanwhile, Keith went to Nashville and formed a rocking outfit called Stateside.
Stateside's 2001 release, Twice as Gone, was a pedal-to-the-metal rocking affair that got its fair share of good press. But just as Keith was gearing up for hard touring, along came Ryan Adams to hire his band away; those guys are now known as the Cardinals. Keith eventually quit the business and moved to Memphis.
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But at the insistence of friends back in Knoxville, Keith was eventually coaxed back into action last year. A few dates with pickup bands around Knoxville whetted his appetite to dive back into rock and roll, so he formed the One Four Fives and began to play Memphis regularly.
By early 2008, he'd recorded an album which he finally released - albeit just locally in Memphis - on vinyl last week. He's also signed with Big Legal Mess (Fat Possum) for a national release of the album sometime this spring (check out the "Pure Cane Sugar" preview above).
Lonesome Onry & Mean got a copy of it last week and the good news is that Chris Gray can rest easy, because at least one band has put the 'roll' back in rock and roll. - William Michael Smith