Local Americana band Medford's Black Record Collection will spend the next month making an unofficial farewell tour of Knoxville, with several shows lined up around town leading up to their final performance together on Jan. 8 at Barley's Taproom. The band is breaking up, after five years together, when guitarist/songwriter Matt Foster moves to Austin, Texas, early next year.
"Matt and I are both going to miss it, probably more than we realize now," says Michael Davis, Foster's partner in the band since the beginning.
Davis and Foster founded the band in 2005 and remained the only constants during its run. The band released two albums—The Flattville Murder Album, one of the most original local roots-rock records of the last few years, in 2005, and Eccentricity NOS in 2008—and played high-profile shows at Bristol's Rhythm and Roots Reunion and the Knoxville Brewers' Jam.
Davis says he expects Foster, who is moving to Austin with his girlfriend, to play music there. "You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Dobro player in Austin," he says. For his part, Davis hasn't wasted any time getting his own solo project, the Wandering Plows, off the ground. The trio—Davis, bassist Brent Parker, and drummer Doug Guthrie—made their debut on Monday night at Listen Up Knoxville, the weekly open-mic night hosted by Hudson K's Christina Horn at Relix Variety Theatre on North Central Street. Davis played in what he calls an "interim" solo project with Parker and Horn in late 2009, but the new band has a stack of all-new material. "I was searching for what I wanted to do next," Davis says. "I've got some new songs and a more focused direction."
Medford's farewell barnstorm starts on Wednesday, Dec. 15, when the band plays at the Disc Exchange at 7 p.m., to be broadcast live on WFIV 105.3 FM's Homegrown program. On Friday, Jan. 7, they're scheduled to play a free WDVX Blue Plate Special show at the Square Room at noon, and they close the next night at Barley's.