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A blues revival

Formed more than 20 years ago as a contemporary Christian trio, Mercy has since adopted a more secular style. The band's music now falls under the umbrella of blues, soul and rock. Under its current configuration, featuring lead vocalist Lynda Morrison, guitarist Dave Day, drummer Denny Carmassi, keyboardist Gary Nisbet and bassist John Lingafelter, Mercy has gained momentum, developing a local fan base and playing one to two shows a week.

"Our theology has grown to where we know it's OK to go out there and play good music, and it doesn't have to be in the Christian music industry," says Day.

The band will perform originals and covers at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6, at Roscoe's BBQ, 117 S. Main St., Phoenix.

Mercy has been confined to the Rogue Valley as it continues to grow its original repertoire and compiles its debut secular album, which Day hopes will further the band's reach.

"Until we get a CD, I think we're kinda stuck," says Day.

"We're not young spring chickens so the whole idea of going out on the road and getting rich and famous is not what we're looking for right now ... but if someone wants to make us rich and famous, we'll let them."

Day and Lingafelter collaborate on many of the originals, carefully working their instrumentation around Morrison's soulful voice.

"Lynda is one of the greatest singers I've ever worked with in my life," brags Day.

Morrison also works closely with Day and Lingafelter on the lyrics, which tend to focus on experiences within the group.

Songs vary in content from "Wish You were Here," a song about a one-sided relationship, to "Moan," a "smart-aleck" piece about being dumped.

Mercy also highlights covers by San Francisco Bay Area funk band Lydia Pense and Cold Blood and California R&B band Tower of Power, as well as old favorites such as Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton and Jonny Lang.

Day says the band plays a high-energy show and tries to avoid venues where they would be expected to provide quiet background music.

"We're not loud for loud's sake," he says. "We're loud because we're passionate and intense."

Cover to the show at Roscoe's is $3. Call 541-512-7046.

Lynda Morrison's soulful vocals come to the forefront of Mercy's music. - Photo by Anni Jones