Jackson Americana band Young Valley is taking a cue from bands they admire to host an outdoor festival at Fondren Corner on June 10.
Young Valley’s Rock ‘n Roll Barbecue will feature a five-act-deep musical lineup, food catered by Rooster’s, drink from Southern Beverage and a silent auction, among other things.
“Instead of just starting a Go Fund Me [to raise money for our new record], we wanted to do what Lucero does in Memphis with their Family Block Party or what American Aquarium does with their block party,” says band member Dylan Lovett, one third of the core lineup that includes Dylan’s twin brother, Zach, and their best friend, Spencer Thomas.
The band is quick to point out they’ve had help – lots of it – over the years, and this event has brought out their biggest backers.
“Nathan and Tim (Glenn of Rooster’s) have helped us so much,” Dylan explains. “Nathan has taken on this quasi managerial role, so when we brought him the idea, he said, ‘Lets’ run with it. I’ll do food, Byron (Knight, Sneaky Beans) will do the stage.’” Zach adds, “If it wasn’t for them, this concert wouldn’t happen.”
Others lending a supportive hand include Southern Beverage, Cathead Vodka, Lucky Town Brewing, The Electric Dagger, The Pet Shop of Fondren, Briarwood Wine & Spirits, Deep South Pops, Fenians, Hal & Mal’s, The Apothecary and Martins.
“’Where do we go, where do our people go?’” Zach asks in determining who they approached for help. “’How can you get all of those people to one place so you feel like you don’t need to go anywhere else on that Saturday?’”
Young Valley has called on local artists, Zach says, to donate unfinished works. To date “Big Dan” Magee, Micaela Fisk and Matthew Puckett have stepped up, along with other craftsmen.
Dylan calls the outpouring “humbling” and “cool.”
“We only asked businesses that support us – and that we support,” he says. “It’s the beauty of where we live. No one said no. Whether it’s gift cards or tees or whatever – they were willing and excited.”
Beyond raising funds to release a new record (more on that in a moment), the cause is personal, especially for the Lovett brothers.
Dylan was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy last January, a condition, he says, he’s “probably had my whole life but didn’t know.”
“I’m not sure, timeline wise, of my long-term prognosis,” he explains. “Having the barbecue and show… I think it’s cool for other kids who have it way worse than I do to see, ‘That’s cool that dude can still do a thing and have a life, regardless of what’s going on.’”
Zach is glad the Muscular Dystrophy Association will see a portion of proceeds raised. “I’ve never had a cause to speak out for. Now I do. Now we all do. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. It truly affects someone I love and care about and could help him down the road.” Spencer adds, “We didn’t just pick a charity to throw on an event poster. It’s real for us. Every little bit counts for us – and them.”
Speaking of the new record, Young Valley’s sophomore effort, to be released late fall or into winter, has been tracked by Matt Patton (Drive By Truckers) and engineered by Bronson Tew at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Miss. The twelve song project features Dylan, Zach and Spencer, along with three new recording and touring members – Ethan Frink on bass and backing vocals; Kell Kellum playing pedal steel; and Phill Thompson on violin and keys.
Spencer says with the additional musicians, the band has “the orchestration to take their songs where we want them to go.” Zach calls it “a little more art.”
“We found a live sound [in the studio] but added in the sparkles of a produced recording,” Dylan adds.
Die-hard fans, if they come to a lot of Young Valley shows, will have heard these songs, many of them written during the last three to four years. Zach says the collection is “well-rehearsed, well-refined and raw,” a sound Kell says “falls off the bone.”
“The neat thing [about this event] is to not be asked to play a festival but to ask others to play your festival,” Dylan says.
Zach adds that organizing the concert is “kicking our own tails into shape, on the business side.”
“Because we don’t know a damn thing,” he laughs. “Just how to play music. Sometimes.”
“But we’re fortunate we have a good foundation here,” he says, “people that support us. People here care.”
Young Valley’s Rock ‘n Roll Barbecue, June 10 at Fondren Corner (2906 North State Street), beginning at 5 p.m. includes:
• Mark Roemer, Jamie Weems
• TB Ledford & Friends
• El Obo
• European Theater
• Young Valley
$15 pre-sale tickets until end of May (available here) includes a cafeteria-style buffet and one free beer, plus admission to the show. Tickets are $20 June 1 – day of show. A silent auction will also be held.
The concert piggybacks a weekend that begins with the 3rd annual Mississippi Craft Beer Festival on Friday, June 9, on the grounds of Duling School.