Today we’d like to introduce you to Memphis Mojo. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Memphis Mojo is a guitar-driven rock band that specializes in covering rock legends like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and Pink Floyd, as well as classic Memphis music such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Muddy Waters. This is not your typical aging-Boomer Classic Rock band. A Memphis Mojo concert is like traveling back to 1969 when high-octane guitar-rock with soulful vocals was in its prime.
The band is the creation of Chandler Smithers, a 21-year-old young guitar prodigy, influenced by the likes of Joe Satriani. Chandler plays with several Memphis bands and is known locally as “The Flamingo King.” Chandler’s amazing creativity and blistering licks turn every Memphis Mojo cover into virtuoso jam fests. He is joined by his father, George Smithers, laying down a driving bass line.
Fellow University of Memphis students, Nate Matlock (vocals) and Graham Whitworth (drums) bring their own personalities and remarkable talents to Memphis Mojo. Nate channels the deep earthy tones of Johhny Cash, the smoothness of Elvis Presley, and the soulful wail of Robert Plant. He loves to take deep cuts like “The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair” (Zeppelin) and “Backdoor Man” (The Doors) and make them his own. As the youngest member of the group, 19-year-old Graham Whitworth combines charismatic charm with the dragon energy of a young Keith Moon.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Like most bands, Memphis Mojo has had to pay its dues. Just as the band was growing legs, Covid hit. There were no gigs to be found. Nate took some time out in Colorado. Chandler continued looking for places to play. It was during this time that Chandler met Graham at an impromptu Flamingo King performance on the front steps of Peabody Elementary School at the first Cooper Young Porchfest. The local music scene continued to suffer from Covid. Nate came back from Colorado.
The guys continued practicing and put on some free outdoor shows at the Cooper-Young Gazebo. Then there was a break. Ernestine & Hazel’s. The most fun dive bar in all of Memphis. It didn’t take long for the band’s contagious mojo to start taking hold. The Memphis music scene slowly began coming back to life. There was an opening at the Young Avenue Deli. Regular shows at Earnestine’s and The Vault. Then the historic Hernando’s Hideaway. Finally, things were rolling!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
George Smithers is a professional wedding photographer by trade, and as the oldest member of Memphis Mojo, is the backbone of the band. Chandler Smithers, Nate Matlock, and Graham Whitworth are all students at the University of Memphis. Chandler plays with a number of Memphis bands, including Cruzin Heavy (Mandi Thomas of “The Voice”) and Shara Layne and the Drive.
He has also built up an impressive portfolio of original instrumental songs such as The Flamingo King, which was recently featured on Radio-Memphis.com In addition to drumming, Graham Whitworth has already built a reputation through Indie Youth Memphis for writing and directing short films. His most recent film, “Little Wiseguys” was featured at the Indie Memphis Youth Film Fest.
What sets Memphis Mojo apart as a band is its addictive, high-octane, youthful energy and chemistry, which is simply unmatched, combined with driving virtuoso guitar and stunning vocals.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The plan for Memphis Mojo is to keep having a blast and entertaining crowds of fans. The group is also working on original music and eventually plans on getting into a recording studio. We will go wherever the music takes us.
- Website: memphismojorocks.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/officialmemphismojo/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memphismojoband