There's a town named Springfield in damn near every state, but the one in Missouri makes the most ruckus. This is proven by the Big Noise From Springfield Tour, which refers to four local acts -- the Morrells, the Domino Kings, the Bel Airs, and Brian Capps -- that have hit the road together. In fact, all four bands simultaneously released new discs back on July 12, all on HighTone Records and all produced by Springfield's resident studio guru Lou Whitney (who's worked with everyone from Wilco to Jonathan Richman).
The bill's most recognizable band is Whitney's combo, the Morrells, and even they are known primarily by cognoscenti of Americana. Their 1982 debut, Shake and Push, remains a beloved cult gem. Over the years, Whitney and his longtime collaborator D. Clinton Thompson have become something like the Midwest's answer to the NRBQ -- through both the Morrells and the like-minded Skeletons. Their latest effort, Think About It, boasts a repertoire larger than a Wurlitzer, with a wild mix of early rock, R&B, country, '60s pop, and other eccentricities.
The Domino Kings follow a similar roots-rock path, although with fewer offbeat twists. Their terrific Some Kind of Sign displays a generous mix of rock and twang, conjuring up images of Dave Edmunds fronting the Mavericks.
The Bel Airs have been around for almost as long as the Morrells. Fronted by the Pruitt brothers, Dick and David, this trio traffics in a tradition-driven blues sound on its new one, Got Love.
Brian Capps was a founding Domino King before striking out on his own. His accomplished debut, Walk Through Walls, introduces a honky-tonker who sounds like he was bred in Bakersfield, rather than the Ozarks.
Together, Springfield's finest guarantee a night of fabulous, no-frills bar music. The noise may be big, but we bet your bar tab will be even bigger.