Memphis, TN's the Mother Station sprung to life in late 1990. From their early beginnings, it was always clear that the Station's voyage of self-discovery would include a heavy dose of 1960s blues and soul aesthetic that paid homage to their hometown roots. Led in tandem by vocal powerhouse Susan Marshall and the extraordinary Gwin Spencer on guitar and vocals, the band is rounded out by drummer Rick Shelton, bass player Michael Jaques, and keyboard player Paul Brown -- all of whom had been kicking around the Memphis music scene for years. Each had cut their teeth at one time or another in a revolving door of soul tribute bands and, at various times, as back up players for the Staples Singers and many others.
After being discovered by ex-Kerrang! scribe and EastWest A&R guy Derek Oliver at the South by Southwest Music (SXSW) Music Conference in Texas, the band signed to the Warner affiliate in 1992. The Mother Station tracked their debut album, Brand New Bag, on Beale Street in Memphis with veteran producer Joe Hardy (renowned for his sublime engineering and co-production skills on many of Steve Earle's albums and later day ZZ Top records). A solid debut, Brand New Bag features 11 original compositions and a cover of Humble Pie's "Fool for a Pretty Face" (although a version of the Faces' "Losing You" was also considered but never made the final cut). Also unreleased is a colossal version of Humble Pie's "99 lbs," performed as a duet with Mavis Staples. Even though the album's first single, "Put the Blame on Me," met with surprise and much enthusiasm from rock radio, the album failed to make any significant in-roads at retail.
After parting ways with EastWest, the band cut another self-financed album that remains unreleased to this day. Mother Station vocalist Susan Marshall would go on to join the Afghan Whigs as one of its backup singers -- recording and touring with the unit the world over. In fact, Greg Dulli was so smitten with Marshall's voice that he would give her nightly stage time on the band's ensuing 1965 trek on which she was given the opportunity to perform one of her original songs. Guitarist Gwin Spencer moved to Los Angeles and began a career working in various television backup bands. Spencer's first notable gig would be as the feature guitarist and bandleader on the short-lived Keenan Ivory Wayans Show. In addition to her TV efforts, Ms. Spencer is currently shopping a finished solo album. Drummer Rick Shelton went on to form Dust for Life. The band's self-titled debut album was released by Wind Up Entertainment in October of 2000. ~ John Franck, Rovi