Ernie Isley

8 p.m. Friday, August 7, and 7 p.m. Saturday, August 8. Argosy Casino, One Piasa Street, Alton, Illinois.

Aug 5, 2009 at 4:00 am

Ernie Isley may be the youngest of the Isley Brothers, but he changed the group's trajectory with his inventive playing and tender songwriting. His first session with his brothers was as bassist for "It's Your Thing," and his snaking, psychedelic guitar lines on "That Lady" moved the Isleys' sound from straight R&B to a broad palette that encompassed soul, rock, funk and disco. As a songwriter, Ernie penned the group's biggest hits of the '70s — "Voyage to Atlantis," "Fight the Power," "Footsteps in the Dark" — and helped make the family band the reigning kings of the slow jam. These days Ernie, a St. Louisan for the past decade, is the last man standing of the Isley Brothers (older brother/lead singer Ron is serving a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion), but the guitarist has stepped up to the mic and now carries on the Isley Brothers' 50-year legacy with the help of the Jam Band.