by Adam Gold
on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 1:34 PM
In a town full of sidemen, sax man and de facto Rolling Stone Bobby Keys is one of the most legendary to live in Nashville. Stepping into center stage (no, not the venue), Keys is, as of late, leading his own band of fellow local unsung music pros — playing Monday showcases at Mercy Lounge off and on for the last month. Read my Critic's Pick, culled from this week's dead-tree, previewing tonight's installment. Well, starting at 6:30 p.m., the show isn't tonight so much as it is this evening, but it makes Mercy Lounge a pretty damn unbeatable destination for enjoying a post-work, pre-sundown aperitif on this gray Monday. Plus, it's free. Once you finish reading, or skimming (or skipping) my pick, trek on after the jump to watch the infamous Cocksucker Blues clip of Keys and chum Keith Richards tossing a television set from a high-rise hotel balcony.
Journeyman saxophonist (tenor) Bobby Keys should really need no introduction among rock ’n’ roll fans. But, in case he does, here goes: Best known as the longtime stage and session sax man for the Rolling Stones, Bobby Keys has left musical hickeys — from Let It Bleed on — all over the English hitmakers’ vast discography. And that only makes for a chapter in Keys’ voluminous storybook of credits — which include contributions to classic rock staples the likes of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping and Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson, to name a few. So, yeah, he is the sound of classic rock ’n’ roll sax. Additionally, the lore of Keys’ outlandish antics as Keith Richards’ debauched longtime partner in party crimes is the stuff of legend — most recently recounted in Richards’ autobiography Life. At 67, the native Texan turned Tennessean has, with the help of guitarist, long-hair, Foghat fetishist and Mercy Lounge co-owner Chark Kinsolving, put together the new Bobby Keys Band — a Justice League of fellow sidemen and Nashville notables including Dan Baird (The Georgia Satellites), organist Mike Webb (John Fogerty, LeAnn Rimes), Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and Dean Tomasek (Bare Jr.). Together they render a 24-carat rock ’n’ roll revue of rave-ups, deep soul weepers and highlights from Keys’ contributory ouvre. You’d be a fool to miss tonight’s free twilight showcase.