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Finally Friday Returns With Rob Aldridge and Lord Nelson

This week's Finally Friday features Lord Nelson (L) and Rob Aldridge & The Proponents, live from home.

Finally Friday returns to WMOT for the new year at the end of this week. And while our guest artists will be playing online from home and remote locations for the near future, we are making plans to launch monthly live gatherings in mid February. The plan is to broadcast from the exciting new music room The Wash at Eastside Bowl in Madison. If you haven’t been by to take in the amazing mid-century mod design and its many ways to have fun, get over there.

This Friday at noon though, we hope you’ll be locked on to WMOT.org for live sets from a couple of southern bands who rock but who aren’t exactly southern rock. Both have new albums dropping that day.

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Rob Aldridge & The Proponents

I’m a proponent of proponents, because it’s at least as important to be for something right as against something wrong. And it’s with that positive outlook that we welcome Rob Aldridge and his band, which claims the musically rich Muscle Shoals and Huntsville, AL as home. They debuted on record in 2018 with dry bashing guitars and 70s rock and roll energy that was intended to give listeners a seat at their propulsive live shows. The new project Mind Over Manners brings to bear airier textures and touches of psychedelia in between bolts from their harder, simpler origins. The title track scolds white reactionaries over their demonizing of Black Lives Matter with quiet power. And I love “Little Lou,” with its acrobatic vocals that evoke old soul music without imitating it. I’m reminded of a streamlined version of Nathaniel Rateliff.

One story behind this album that can’t be ignored is that Aldridge lost his close friend and musical companion when bass player Stone Anderson died after a drug overdose about the time the record was being mixed. “I haven’t had a lot of time to stop,” Aldridgetold Sound & Soul recently. “I definitely feel motivated trying to honor him by making this record what we hoped it would be. He was really excited about it. But I wonder if I’ve still got some processing to do.”

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Lord Nelson 

Recorded in a converted barn, Lord Nelson’s new Transmission is loose and pugnacious, a bracing display of gutsy, country-tinged rock and roll. It’s the sound the band has cultivated since forming around Charlottesville, VA just about ten years ago. I’m completely new to these guys so to flesh out the back story I leaned on a feature from 2019 where lead singer Kai Crowe-Getty offered a qualified self-assessment.

“When people ask us what we do, the easiest thing to say is southern rock,” he said. “But that conjures certain things to most people. Even though we are from the south, and we draw from that, we put our own take on things and put it through the grinder and see what comes out. We all grew up playing parties and all sorts of random hangouts in the country. Playing around a lot sort of crystallized and brought us together as a group.”

The group got a bit more crystalized with the new release in that brothers Henry and Calloway Jones contribute songs for the first time. Completing the group are Andrew Hollifield and Niko Cvetanovich on bass, Johnny Stubblefield on drums, and Dave Pinto on pedal steel and harmonica.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's editorial director and host of The String, a weekly interview show airing Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. He also co-hosts The Old Fashioned on Saturdays at 9 am and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Threads and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org