#MusicMonday: Southern Avenue Brings R&B to Texas

This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on October 28, 2019.

Southern Avenue fuses gospel R&B with gritty rock undertones to create a musical style all its own.

Guitarist Ori Naftaly had a deep-rooted passion for American soul, blues and funk music despite growing up in his native country of Israel. Naftaly had built a reputation for himself at home, but felt constrained and the need to embrace a more expansive musical vision.

“We love playing live,” says Southern Avenue’s Ori Naftaly, “It’s that connection with our fans that makes the time away from home worth it. Fans become our family out on the road and we love experiencing music together with them each and every night.” Photo courtesy David McClister

When he met Memphis singer Tierinii Jackson (who later became his wife) and her drummer sister Tikyra Jackson, Naftaly’s dream of bringing his music to audiences across the globe began to take shape.

Named for a street in Memphis, Southern Avenue’s lineup was complete with the addition of keyboardist Jeremy Powell and bass player Evan Sarver. The group was quickly embraced by American and European audiences and made it to the finals in the International Blues Challenge.

Southern Avenue’s Tierinii Jackson,got her start singing in church before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. Photo courtesy David McClister

In 2017, the band’s diverse roots and deep commitment to their individual styles could be heard in their self-titled debut album, which reached number six on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums Chart. The success of the album created demand for the band in both the U.S. and throughout the world where they were performing in high-profile festivals.

Now, Southern Avenue has performed over 300 shows and toured with artists including Buddy Guy, JJ Grey & Mofro, Los Lobos, North Mississippi Allstars, and Karl Denson.

Their sophomore album, “Keep On,” was released in May 2019 which begins to fully express the band’s creative musical vision while embracing their new musical challenges.

Southern Avenue is a boundary-breaking Memphis combo which has sparked a musical revolution and embodies an effortlessly soul, blues and R&B fusion. Southern Avenue, (l-r) Tikyra Jackson, Evan Sarver, Tierinii Jackson, Jeremy Powell, and Ori Naftaly. Photo courtesy David McClister

Southern Avenue carries the Southern soul legacy into the 21st century while showcasing the powerful chemistry and electrifying live shows they’ve honed through each members’ musical experiences.

Southern Avenue is on tour now and will perform November 6 in Houston, November 7 at Austin’s 3TEN ACL Live and November 8 in Dallas.

Cover: Southern Avenue, (left to right) Ori Naftaly, Tierinii Jackson, Tikyra Jackson, Jeremy Powell, and Evan Sarver, courtesy David McClister

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