Beloved Aussie blues institution CHECKERBOARD LOUNGE today release their new album SUN SESSIONS on Cheersquad Records & Tapes. SUN SESSIONS was recorded at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee; the very room in which maverick visionary Sam Phillips recorded not only Elvis Presley for the first time, but also the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and countless other blues, rock and country artists in the ’50s.
The band has also launched the video for the album’s second single, the irresistible original blues groover “You Got A Way On You”. The video was shot in and around Memphis, Tennessee when the the group was there in 2020, competing in the International Blues Challenge, and unexpectedly getting the opportunity to record in arguably the most significant recording studio in rock and blues history.
Also just announced – Checkboard Lounge will launch SUN SESSIONS Friday April 1 at the Thornbury Theatre, with special guest (and old mate) Sarah Carroll. Details and tix are available here
SUN SESSIONS is out now on limited edition marbled yellow/orange vinyl, black vinyl, CD (with bonus tracks) or as a digital download and available from
Checkerboard Lounge are: Carl Pannuzzo on drums and vocal (Kylie Auldist, Mia Dyson, Paul Grabowsky, Shane Howard, Patti Labelle, Fred Smith, Deb Morrow, Bob Sedergreen and more). Tim Neal on keys (Mavis Staples, Ricky Lee Jones, Joss Stone, Archie Roach, Paul Kelly, Ernest Ranglin, Randy Crawford, Fiona Boyes and more). Shannon Bourne on guitar (Chris Wilson, Vikka Bull, The Black Sorrows, Russell Morris, Tex Perkins, Broderick Smith and more, and new bassplayer Zoë Frater (Zoë Frater Quintet and more)
Ever since their famed seven-year residency at the Great Britain Hotel in Richmond kicked off 30 years ago, Checkerboard Lounge has been a Melbourne institution. A breeding ground for many young players in blues and beyond, the group took a giant leap in 2020, when, having won the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society’s 2019 Blues Challenge, they were invited to participate in the International Blues Challenge, in Memphis Tennessee. There they reached the semi-finals, but more importantly in the long run, they also received an invitation to record at the legendary Sun Studio.
Still located at 706 Union Avenue, Sun is the very room in which maverick visionary Sam Phillips recorded not only Elvis Presley for the first time, but also the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and countless other blues, rock and country artists in the ’50s.
‘SUN SESSIONS’ is the product of Checkerboard Lounge’s session in this great cradle of American Music, and it sees the band – singing drummer Carl Pannuzzo, guitar master Shannon Bourne, Hammond virtuoso Tim Neal and inimitable bassist Amos Sheehan – rising to the occasion. A 5-hour late night session saw the band lay down 12 incredible tracks: blues and soul originals, rare covers and a few golden choices the band had never played before, inspired by the room in which so much magic has been made.
From deep within the veins of Melbourne’s music scene, Checkerboard Lounge has become a cult-like underground institution. The brainchild of renowned singer and drummer Carl Pannuzzo, the band has evolved over thirty years; breathing fire, virtuosity and improvisation into classic soul and roots originals.
Mischievous and unyielding, Pannuzzo is joined on stage by master guitarist Shannon Bourne (longtime cohort to Melbourne roots royalty as sideman to the late master Chris Wilson and an acclaimed artist in his own right), Hammond virtuoso Tim Neal, and inimitable bassist Amos Sheehan. With world-class musicianship, unbridled passion and an almost telepathic ability to create, Checkerboard are a powerhouse to be reckoned with. The spirit of the blues is palpable throughout their performances, as is an infectious and raucous sense of play.
From standing ovations at Wangaratta Jazz Festival to crammed inner Melbourne pubs, no two shows are the same. Vibrant and unforgettable, Checkerboard are a tour-de-force demanding honesty, integrity and truthful musicianship; the very essence of a live music experience.
Ever since their famed seven-year residency at the Great Britain Hotel in the early 90s, many budding young musicians have cut their blues teeth with the uncompromising fire of this band’s energy. Checkerboard has inspired the development of some of Australia’s finest musicians and bands (including members of Powderfinger, Dirty Three, Clare Bowditch, Jet, Spoonful/Rocket Science, Kylie Auldist, to name but a few). Checkerboard’s point of difference has always been playing with a myriad of musicians and throwing them into the improvisational hot-seat.
Over the years, band members have included Australia’s best blues exponents, such as the late Rev. Mick O’Connor, Ian Collard, Jeff Lang, Broderick Smith, Steve Teacle, Richard Tankard, Andrew Ogburn, Garrett Costigan, Nigel MacLean and Dave Boyle (USA).Thirty years on, with the band’s strongest ever line up, Checkerboard continues to leave musicians and audiences enthralled by their single-minded creativity.
CHECKERBOARD LOUNGE’S SUN SESSIONS IS OUT NOW ON CHEERSQUAD RECORDS & TAPES. ORDER HERE.
THE BAND WILL LAUNCH THE ALBUM AT THE THORNBURY THEATRE, FRIDAY APRIL 1, WITH SPECIAL GUEST SARAH CARROLL. DETAILS & TIX HERE