Making a Scene Presents an Interview with John Nemeth of the Love Light Orchestra
Though born from the desire to rekindle enthusiasm for the grand, orchestral sound of mid-20th century blues, Love Light Orchestra is much more than a nostalgia act. Formed in 2016 as a nod to the sound and visual flair prevalent early in careers of beloved Memphis stalwarts B.B. King and Bobby Bland, the Love Light Orchestra is as much a manifestation of the current moment as it is a throwback to a bygone era of nightclubs packed to the brim with partygoers eager to take in an evening of down-home musicality with a touch of class.
Completion of Leave the Light On, the group’s studio debut, reflects three-years of sheer determination to coordinate schedules of a group consisting of Memphis’ most in-demand artists, in addition to navigating the unforeseen impact of a global health crisis on the entire music industry. Though the maturity and dexterity of the orchestra members shone loud and clear on the group’s first release, the sophomore effort refines and elevates the group’s presentation, employing a clarity and quality complementary to the veteran musicianship within Love Light’s ranks. Tossing the songbook aside in favor of mostly original tunes, Love Light proves their staying power and reinforces an outlook pointed toward the future while honoring the context of their collective musical past.
The orchestra’s eponymous release captured the high energy and rollicking fanfare of a one-night musical affair in Midtown Memphis club Bar DKDC. Featuring works from a songbook of covers steeped in Bluff City tradition, the album culminates in Nemeth’s chilling evocation of Al Green’s ubiquitous romance anthem, “Love & Happiness.”