Those Pretty Wrongs (feat. Big Star’s Jody Stephens), “Lucky Guy” (2015): One Track Mind

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Time and the fates have torn Big Star to its foundations, leaving only original drummer Jody Stephens — the group’s sole surviving member after the 2010 deaths of Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel. (Chris Bell was killed in a 1978 car accident.) But the spirit of Big Star remains, and not just in the old records.

In fact, Big Star led Jody Stephens to his new band, Those Pretty Wrongs, in ways both large and small. Stephens first collaborated with partner Luther Russell of the Freewheelers after being asked to perform Big Star songs in conjunction with the 2013 documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. Finding a spark, Russell and Stephens began writing songs together.

Even more interesting for long-time fans of Big Star is this: Those Pretty Wrongs, named after a Shakespearean sonnet, both recorded at the band’s old haunt (Memphis’ Ardent Studios) and used Chris Bell’s old guitars. That gives Those Pretty Wrongs’ new single, the quietly ruminative “Lucky Guy,” a direct line back to alterno-big bang triumphs like 1972’s #1 Record. Stephens sat at the same kit he used on 1974’s Radio City and 1978’s Third/Sister Lovers, too.

The results — “Lucky Guy,” backed with “Fool Of Myself,” is due June 2, 2015 via Burger Records — don’t have the power of Big Star’s old power-pop gems, but they get the “pop” part just right. It’s a song that would have fit in perfectly on an easy-going, early-1970s playlist dominated by the likes of Seals and Crofts, James Taylor and America.

In this way, Those Pretty Wrongs serves to close the book on Jody Stephens’ famous first chapter, even providing a sweetly reminiscent ending that tragedy stole from the star-crossed, deeply underrated Big Star. There is, in the end, a long-hoped-for sense of closure. So, we’re the lucky ones.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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