Noise in the Basement

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Noise in the Basement Details

98 Rock Presents
Noise in the Basement

Hosted By
Matt Davis

Noise in the Basement
“Friday Night at Jeff’s Basement” was a loose affair in Jeff Smith’s basement/studio, a funky little place with a rare vibe that fed the participants. Friday night meant a congregation of musicians, old friends, mostly, who played until late in the night, unrestrained by playlists or schedules or clubowners who wanted to hear “some Buffett”. The personnel was a loose, shifting group, although there were mainstays, and they were not even required to play their “normal” instruments; shifting was permitted, even encouraged. Family and friends shuttled in and out, relaxing on one of the overstuffed leather couches at the other end of the room, enjoying the rare chance to hear the musicians play what they wanted, not what they were contractually funded to play.

Steven Lowe, Brent Sanders, and Steve Wyatt were a part of that relaxed aggregation, shifting in and out, finally becoming the fixture that formed the fulcrum for musical exploration. They had known each other for years, going back to childhood and adolescence. Steven and Steve had played together a couple of times in high school, Brent and Steve had played together early in their musical career, and Steven and Brent had been high school jazz bandmates and running buddies. There was a comfortable chemistry between them that always seemed to propel and push, grasp and explore.

In 2006, Jeff and local music aficionado and scene fixture Steve Gibbon decided to use Jeff’s studio to record an album by Chattanooga street musician Boots Roots, a bluesman of raw, powerful expression, both as a singer and a songwriter. He was also a quirky performer, accompanying himself on a high-hat fed kick drum and tambourine, and his two necked guitar. Boots plays out of his head (truly old-school), with jagged rhythms and a guitar tuned to express, not assimilate, an uncompromising artist of integrity and unique personal vision. Some of the aggregation, including Brent and Steve, were brought in to back Boots, an experiment that no one was sure would work; Boots, after all, was an artist of singular vision, and was unyielding in his own quest.