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Playing this summer: Jake Austin & the City Limits

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 10, 2011 - PROFILE: The boundaries regularly used to categorize musical styles such as rock, country, blues, soul and jazz break down with Jake Austin & The City Limits. Sure, the band uses traditional drums, bass and guitar as its foundation - supplied respectively by John Chambers, Dennis Sanders and Joe Giaimo.

But The City Limits breaks the mold by mixing in both the country feel of lap steel and slide guitar - played by Zach Ingle - and a funky three-piece horn section of Brandon Hughes on trombone, James Flowers on baritone sax and Mike Israel on trumpet. Vocalist Jake Austin fronts the band, and that instrumental diversity lets Austin and the group stretch out and soar through a range of music.

You can definitely hear the band's diversity on its debut CD, the aptly named "Country Soul." There's a strong link to the classic sound of Memphis soul and Stax Records on the recording. But there's also a real down-home country feel as well. Although City Limits have been together only about a year, the band has already played the Pageant and opened for everyone from Robert Randolph and Tab Benoit to Chuck Berry and Montgomery Gentry.

You can check out Jake Austin & the City Limits this Thursday, Aug. 11 in a free Parties on the Plaza concert kicking off at 5 p.m. The concert will also be a prelude to the band's Aug. 13 performance in Columbia, Mo., at the semifinals of the Missouri Lottery "King of the Roots" band competition at the Blue Note. The winner will pay at the Roots n Blues n BBQ fest in Columbia in September.

Here's some more info on the band - provided by vocalist Jake Austin...

HOME: St. Louis

AGE: The band has been together about a year-and-a-half.

INSTRUMENTS: Vocals, lead guitar, lap steel, bass guitar, drums, trombone, trumpet and saxophone.

HOBBIES: I like fishing, gardening, bike riding, beer and playing and writing music.

LAST CONCERT ATTENDED: Cotton Jones Basket Ride @ Old Rock House.

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: We released our first full length LP July 15.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: We long to make music that will make people forget about their bills, stress, drama and headaches in life and just relax. We want people to kick up their heals and dance the night away with us.

QUOTE: "Affluence separates people. Poverty knits 'em together. You got some sugar and I don't; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I'll give you some of mine." -- Ray Charles

For more info on Jake Austin & City Limits and the band's upcoming schedule, go to www.jakeaustinandthecitylimits.com.

Parties On the Plaza Concert Series

This free concert series takes place once a month at the Post Office Plaza, just north of the Old Post Office at 8th & Locust in downtown St. Louis. The band sets up just west of a water pool on the Plaza, and the ambience of sculpture and the downtown architecture all around makes for an interesting scene. The music runs from 5-8 p.m., and there's definitely a "happy hour" ambience as workers and downtown residents gather to enjoy the music. Food items and beverages are available at booths manned by Lumiere Place and River City Casinos - or you can bring your own refreshments or purchase takeout from nearby restaurants. Blankets won't do you much good. Bring a lawn chair. Or better yet, just wander around and enjoy.

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer who has long covered the St. Louis music scene. 

Terry Perkins is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. He has written for the St. Louis Beacon since 2009. Terry's other writing credits in St. Louis include: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis American, the Riverfront Times, and St. Louis magazine. Nationally, Terry writes for DownBeat magazine, OxfordAmerican.org and RollingStone.com, among others.

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