Southern Avenue represents heart of Memphis during Bonnaroo performance

Photo and story by Tiffany Brady / MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

Southern Avenue represented the heart of Memphis when they performed on Bonnaroo’s Who Stage Friday.

The band attracted an overwhelming crowd to one of Bonnaroo’s smallest stages with the sheer power of music. The band’s genre seemed to be an all-in-one experience. Southern Avenue was bluesy, gospel-like, rock and roll and downright R&B, which seemed to give the crowd everything they wanted.

Many of the songs the group played were from their self-titled album “Southern Avenue,” including “Don’t Give Up”, “Slipped, Tripped, and Fell in Love”, and their single “Freedom.” The band also covered songs like “Rock Steady” by the Whispers and “Come Together” by the Beatles.

Southern Avenue guitarist and founder Ori Naftaly originally grew up in Israel, but came to the United States out of love for the blues. Once he met lead singer Tierinii Jackson in her hometown of Memphis, the band Southern Avenue was created. Lead singer Jackson said the band named themselves after the famous Memphis street Southern Avenue.

Other members of the diverse band also include Jeremy Powell, Tikyra Jackson and Gage Markey.

The set presented an ample amount of energy with guitar and keyboard solos, not to mention lead singer Tierinii Jackson’s effective dance moves. The crowd buzzed with gratitude for the amount of soul that came from Jackson’s voice and love for performing. Jackson grew up singing in church, which explains her flawless gospel-like tone that permeates a crowd. When you mix Jackson’s vocals, Naftaly’s blues guitar solos and the R&B sound of the percussive instruments, Southern Avenue feels like home wherever you go.

Writers for American Blues Scene were right when they said, “If Memphis is a genre, this is it.”

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