Jeremy Lyons, the singer and mandolinist who led the Deltabilly Boys for most of a decade before Katrina forced him out of town, is returning to his old stomping ground this weekend. And he’s got some notable friends in tow: The last few years have found Lyons in Boston, where he’s teamed up with drummer Jerome Dupree and saxophonist Dave Colley, two-thirds of the beloved alternative band Morphine.
Fronted by the charismatic singer/bassist Mark Sandman, Morphine devised a smoky, nocturnal groove that they dubbed “low rock”– a term that certainly fit the mix of Colley’s baritone sax and Sandman’s two-string bass (as he tirelessly explained to interviewers, he didn’t need more strings because those two had all the notes on them). The band was signed to Dreamworks and built an international following, before tragedy struck: Sandman collapsed onstage from a fatal heart attack at a festival in Italy in 1999. Though the name Morphine was retired, the remaining members worked with various guests in the following years; Lyons proved a perfect fit since taking up Northeast residence. They play his songs plus Morphine favorites, and recently made a CD with Craig Klein (Bonerama) guesting. As Colley explains, the philosophy is about the same as Morphine’s: “We just play. See where the music takes us.”
Alternately known as the Elastic Waste Band or the more straightforward Jeremy Lyons & Members of Morphine, the band plays dba (618 Frenchmen) on Friday night, starting at 10pm. In addition, Lyons will play two different shows with local friends on Saturday evening, a 6pm show at Three Muses (536 Frenchmen), and an 11pm set at Buffa’s Bar (1001 Esplanade).