Charlotte Music Cuts: Elevator Jay, Chócala, Elonzo Wesley, Lofidels, and The Juke Joint

 By Shirley Griffith

August 25, 2019

Summer is nearly over but Charlotte musicians have been hard at work releasing heartfelt albums and planting the seeds of new lineups and recurring parties to keep everyone in the Hornets Nest dancing, bopping, or thrashing well into the harvests of autumn. This Monthly Music Cut is a round up of upcoming local shows and album releases showcasing some of the notable sounds in the city. 

As an extension of the Monthly Music Cuts, we’ll highlight the local artist chosen for Tip Top Daily Market’s Music Tasting. The Music Tasting is a laidback event from 7-9 p.m. on the last Friday of each month. A curated playlist, based entirely from a local album release, plays throughout the funky bottle shop/record store, mixing mainstream influences with the regional sound, a musical avenue for the Gestalt Law of Proximity. The August Music Tasting, happening on August 30, will feature a playlist based off Southern hip-hop aficionado Elevator Jay’s newest release, For Y’all.

Elevator Jay

You can’t talk Queen City music without bringing up the city’s shining jewel, Elevator Jay, who uses his experiences of growing up in Charlotte to advocate for the city and its culture. Jay’s steady drawl consistently uplifts and shows off the beauty within the Queen City that he knows so well and reps so stylishly. Jay provides the rule book, the prerequisite for what life was like before our streets were overdeveloped and gentrified. He’s the voice of the city, one that stands with integrity: humble, hardworking, and grateful for his Carolina roots. After a quiet few years since 2017’s remarkable Ain’t Nothin Finer Jay released his fourth album, For Y’all, collection of tracks made with his supporters and the city’s loyalty in mind. Even the album artwork on For Y’all broadcasts Jay’s unconditional love for his city. The vibrantly collaged face of Jay is comprised of his favorite Queen City assets like the Beatties Ford Rd. street sign, a Waffle House breakfast spread, a mason jar and a lake sunset. 

Jay also hosts the monthly event PlayerMade at Snug Harbor where he and friends DJ Ahuf and Jaboi B Rab highlight Southern hip-hop, spinning everything from Outkast to local talent like Erick Lottary. PlayerMade, which is free until 11 p.m., is an unwavering success where the line wraps around the venue for the majority of the night. Catch Elevator Jay at the next PlayerMade on September 13 and listen to For Y’All on all streaming platforms. 


For a band as talented, fun, and community-focused as Chócala, you would be surprised that the Latin, jazz, and rock-influenced quartet has yet to release a debut album. Their three demos posted to Bandcamp have quickly garnered the three-year-old band a haul of positive attention. Recently, Chócala played at the US National White Water Center for their two-day family-friendly Charlotte music festival which sought to give promising local acts a bigger platform and included a panel aiming to educate local artists on the process and pitfalls of the music industry. Chócala were also recently invited to play the Governor’s Mansion for a special Music At The Mansion initiative which partners Come Hear NC, the NC Arts Council, and NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to honor exceptional Carolina talent. 

Chócala will unleash their debut album on September 1 with a release show at Neighborhood Theatre featuring support from BoomChld and DJ Shannti, the curator behind local dance parties like Dende and ORBiT. Chócala was born out of members Claudio and Liza Ortiz, and Davey Blackburn’s former band Patabamba in 2017. After adding in saxophonist Michael Anderson, the band has gained gradual fame, winning over crowds at their live performances with infectious Latin beats, the jubilant freedom of jazz, and full, dynamic vibe.

Elonzo Wesley

Indie Americana act Elonzo Wesley have a new album out on September 6, entitled Songs To No One. This album, unlike past ones, was written and recorded in a relatively short amount of time by frontman Jeremy Davis. Normally Davis, a seasoned musician, takes circumspect care and time to formulate his sincere, tender tracks but the stressors of life along with the idea of trying something new created a perfect opportunity to test their adaptability. The result sets this album apart from others in Davis’ discography with a distinct, focused lens, giving each track a sharper, more raw honesty. Songs To No One pecks with earnestness on “Human Bean” and bites with satire on “Regular Guy,” the two released singles. Elonzo Wesley has spent the majority of the summer on tour across the nation sharing their new bundle of tracks with as many people as possible. Catch them in your own backyard September 6 at Neighborhood Theatre with Brit Drozda


Recent Goodyear Arts resident Lenny Muckle creates and performs lo-fi DIY post-whathaveyou music that serves as his skewed interpretation of the world around him. Muckle used his time in the innovative incubator of Goodyear to release two projects. The first, “Demonstrationz” is the culmination of his unfinished work that he brought into the residency to complete. The more recent “Music For Refreshing Computer” is the result of his time in Goodyear as well as “losing my job, losing my artistic distance, and starting over” (via his Instagram). Muckles, who also plays in Patois Counselors, is especially brilliant in his chaotic comprehension of turning emotion into sound. His ability to pick apart one element, deconstruct a chord, a thought, a transient “what if” and maneuver it into something wholly separate from its origin is refreshing. That refined anarchistic abstraction is what Muckle records, offering it back into the matrix as a completely new perspective. 

The Juke Joint

Juke Joint is a newly minted monthly dance party that kicks off on Tuesday, August 27 at The Evening Muse. The events, curated by Eli (Eric Davis) and Raven Hornes of The Retrogrades CLT (a new musician collective), aim to support local artists by providing them an alternative space to perform, linking them with like-minded fellow artists. The Juke Joint is currently searching for a permanent home but the first installment features a lineup that shouldn’t be missed. Mara Robbin brings her smoky neo-soul to the mix that also includes previously covered SeeBirdGo, host Eli, Celeste Moonchild, and local producer AXNT who creates lo-fi, experimentally segmented grooves. Eli says he looks forward to supporting all varieties of music, from songwriters to bands to left-of-center acts. 

Listen to our mega Charlotte music playlist updated weekly for your listening pleasure.

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