Turf Club Gets A Taste Of Memphis Southern Avenue

Photo by David McClister

Southern Avenue band from Memphis, Tennessee made their debut performance in Saint Paul’s Turf Club on 6/30 as part of their Keep On-Summer Tour 2019 Phase 1. They are currently promoting their second album Keep On. Most of the audience members who anticipated this show are members of the MN Blues Society.

The crowd showed up early to support local opener, guitarists and singer Ken Valdez and his band: Adam Daniels on keyboard, Joe Diaz on drums, and Patrick Smith on bass. The band’s genre is a mix of Texas blues-rock (Valdez is originally from TX). They gave a heartfelt emotional performance. This was the first time they had played together since the loss of their bass player Tucker Sterling Jensen who battled lymphoma. The second to last song was a beautiful rocking rendition to honor Tucker with playing the song “Amazing Grace.”

Southern Avenue gave a high intensity energy performance which they are known for. They played songs from their first album, and new songs from their current second album Keep On as well as their own version of the song Rock Steady which the crowd went wild and did call and response.

During their last song “Don’t Give Up” audience members, new fans and old sang along and danced with Tierinii. It was impressive to see such devoted fans considering this was their first time playing in the Twin Cities.

I had the privilege before Southern Avenue started to meet with the drummer Tikyra Jackson (also known as TK), and keyboardist Jeremy Powell. They shared their touring experiences, as well as the creative process for their new record Keep On. Touring bass member Evan Sarver joined in later during the interview. Read the interview below. 


Full Interview below:

AB: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I am excited Southern Avenue is performing in the Twin Cities. The first time I saw you perform was at the Rum Boogie on Beale Street in Memphis, TN and I was blown away. It’s crazy the momentum your band is getting. 

TK: Thank you, yeah that must have been three or four years ago since we have played there. We are happy to be here.

AB: Could you talk about your home town in Memphis, and how they have supported you guys?

TK: Yes, Memphis has been super supportive, ever since the beginning. Our success stems from the love from our home fan base.

AB: Could you share what it’s like performing with your sister lead vocalists Tierinii, and now guitarists Ori who has been adopted in with their engagement?

TK: It’s super cool, and we are all very close. The whole band really is family.

AB: Could you please share the creative process for your latest album “Keep On”?

TK: Ori and Tierinii do a lot of the writing, but it really is a collaborative process.

AB: This is maybe a personal question, I am curious to know and perhaps our readers. Could you share what your and Tierinii’s style inspiration is? Tierinii’s got this Beyoncé/ Tina Turner vibe that she’s made her own. I see on social media that you both are always wearing great pieces.

TK: (Some laughter) I wear things that are really accent pieces.

AB: Do you ever accent or match to your drum kits? Or have a drum sponsors you’re interested in? 

TK: I want cuter drum kits. I love playing with gretsch drums and Ludwigs.

AB: (To Jeremy the keyboard player), Are you a Nord fan? Or what keyboard do you prefer?

JP: Hammond all the way! If it’s possible with festival backlines, I prefer the big Hammond organ with the Leslie Speakers.

AB: Speaking of festivals, I saw that you guys performed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Michigan’s Electric Forrest Festival. How was it? And how was your European Tour?

Touring bass member Caleb: I wish I brought some crazy outfits!

TK: Our recent Europe tour was actually our second time playing there and it seemed like a better experience since Jeremy was able to tour with us, and we knew what to expect. This time it was fun because we were able to explore new places. The fans in Europe are really appreciative and grateful for our music.

AB: I would like to thank you all for your time, and for sharing these words and your music. We are really excited that you are playing in Saint Paul, the last time and I think the closest I was able to see you was either in Wisconsin or at a Blues Festival in Ottawa, MN.

TK: Thank you, we know we don’t come here and the Mid-West often, so we really are playing for these people.