Luther Dickinson Celebrates the Release of “Ballads and Blues” at Shangri-La Records

01 Beale Street Caravan002 Luther Dickinson003 Luther Dickinson004 Sharde Thomas005 Luther Dickinson006 Luther Dickinson007 Luther Dickinson008 Luther Dickinson010 Luther Dickinson Album Release Party011 Luther Dickinson Album Release Party012 Luther Dickinson013 Luther Dickinson014 Luther Dickinson015 Luther Dickinson017 Luther Dickinson019 Luther & Sharde020 Luther & Sharde021 Luther & Sharde022 Luther & Sharde1002 Sharde Thomas023 Luther Dickinson Fans024 Luther Dickinson Fans025 Luther & Sharde026 Luther Dickinson027 Sharde Thomas & Sherena Boyce028 Shangri-La Records029 Shangri-La Records1001 Luther Dickinson1003 Luther Dickinson1004 Luther Dickinson1008 Sherena Boyce & Luther Dickinson1006 Sharde Thomas & Sherena Boyce
When I heard that Luther Dickinson would be having a performance and album release party at Shangri-La Records on February 13, I naively had assumed it would be indoors, completely forgetting that there is no place indoors in the record shop where such a show could be held. As such, the event was held outside, and with it being February, the weather was extremely chilly indeed. But a decent crowd braved the elements to hear Luther perform songs from his new album “Blues and Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook, duly aided and abetted by the lovely Sharde Thomas on drums, while the good folks at Beale Street Caravan recorded the day’s proceedings. All in all, a chilly day for a worthwhile reason.



Craig Brewer Does Halloween Big at Earnestine and Hazel’s

1992 Craig Brewer Heaven & Hell PartyJPG1995 Jack Oblivian1997 Jack Oblivian1999 Frayser Boy & Craig Brewer2001 Craig Brewer & Tune C
Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer celebrated the Halloween holiday with an all-star Heaven and Hell bash at the legendary Earnestine and Hazel’s downtown. Music for the night included The Sheiks, Jack Oblivian and Memphis’ rap godfather Al Kapone. By the end of the night, so many people had entered the building that it was nearly impossible to move! It was an epic evening indeed.

Celebrating the Life of B. B. King in Indianola

002 B. B. King Homecoming003 B. B. King Homecoming004 B. B King Homecoming005 Blues All-Stars006 Blues All-Stars007 Blues All-StarsJPG008 Blues All-Stars010 B. B. King Homecoming011 B. B. King Homecoming012 B. B. King Homecoming013 B. B. King Homecoming014 B. B. King Homecoming015 Blues All-Stars016 Blues All-Stars017 Blues All-Stars018 Cody Dickinson & Sherena Boyce019 B. B. King Homecoming020 Food Trucks021 Food Trucks022 Eden Brent023 Eden Brent024 Eden Brent025 Eden Brent026 B. B. King Homecoming029 Eden Brent030 Eden Brent031 B. B. King Homecoming032 B. B. King Homecoming033 Eden Brent034 B. B. King Homecoming035 Eden Brent036 Eden Brent037 B. B. King Homecoming038 Marquise Knox039 Marquise Knox041 Marquise Knox042 Marquise Knox043 Marquise Knox044 Marquise Knox045 Marquise Knox046 Marquise Knox047 Marquise Knox048 Marquise Knox049 Marquise Knox050 Marquise Knox051 Marquise Knox052 Marquise Knox054 Marquise Knox055 Marquise Knox056 Marquise Knox057 Marquise Knox058 Marquise Knox059 Marquise Knox061 Marquise Knox062 Marquise Knox065 Lil Ray066 Lil Ray067 Lil Ray068 Lil Ray069 Lil Ray070 Lil Ray071 Sherena Boyce & Marquise Knox072 Lil Ray073 Lil Ray074 B. B. King Homecoming078 The Blue Biscuit079 The Blue Biscuit082 Sherena Boyce085 North Mississippi All-Stars086 Lightning Malcolm087 North Mississippi All-Stars088 North Mississippi All-Stars089 Lightning Malcolm090 North Mississippi All-Stars091 North Mississippi All-Stars093 North Mississippi All-Stars094 North Mississippi All-Stars095 North Mississippi All-Stars096 North Mississippi All-Stars097 North Mississippi All-Stars098 North Mississippi All-Stars099 North Mississippi All-Stars100 North Mississippi All-Stars102 B. B. King Homecoming103 Cody Dickinson104 Cody Dickinson105 Cody Dickinson106 Cody Dickinson107 North Mississippi All-Stars108 North Mississippi All-Stars109 North Mississippi All-Stars110 North Mississippi All-Stars
Each year in B. B. King’s hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, deep in the historic Delta region, the great bluesman returned in late May for an event called the Homecoming, where he performed for the people of his original hometown, and on the occasion of the 2014 Homecoming, he stated that that year’s event would be his last. The old man’s health was fading, and the travel was hard on him. But none of us could have imagined that he would not live to see the next one. This year’s Homecoming, coming a week or so after B. B. King’s death, was a sad occasion, and yet an opportunity for many great blues musicians to come together and honor King’s life and legacy on the grounds of the museum that bears his name. Just as the occasion was both joyful and sorrowful, the day was alternated by periods of heat and sunshine and downpours of rain, but in between the showers came a diverse array of performers, including Greenville blues diva Eden Brent, youthful St. Louis blues star Marquise Knox, Lil Ray, son of the Louisiana blues star Raful Neal, and the North Mississippi All-Stars, with Cody and Luther Dickinson, featuring Sharde Thomas on the keyboards and fife, and Lightning Malcolm on the guitar. The crowd ebbed and flowed due to the weather, but at its strongest seemed to be about 200 or so, equipped with lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, and even sparklers. The North Mississippi All-Stars had barely finished their outdoor set, when the rains came a final time, more decisively, and some of the crowd headed around to the Club Ebony for the indoor evening performance. There really couldn’t have been a better way to honor B. B. King.













Keep up with Eden Brent:
http://www.edenbrent.com
https://www.facebook.com/edenbrent
http://yellowdogrecords.com/eden/
https://edenbrent.bandcamp.com

Keep up with Marquise Knox:
http://marquiseknoxblues.com
https://www.facebook.com/marquise.knox
https://myspace.com/marquiseknox

Keep up with the North Mississippi All-Stars:
http://www.nmallstars.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/nmallstarsmusic
https://www.facebook.com/nmallstars

https://myspace.com/nmallstars
http://www.nmorecords.com

Honoring the Legacy of Ardent’s John Fry and John Hampton at the Levitt Shell

001 John Fry Beale Street Note Presentation002 Jody Stephens003 Jody Stephens004 Music Fans005 Music Fans006 Music Fans007 Levitt Shell008 Tora Tora009 Tora Tora010 Tora Tora011 Tora Tora012 Tora Tora013 Tora Tora014 Tora Tora015 Tora Tora016 Levitt Shell017 Levitt Shell018 Tora Tora019 Tora Tora020 Levitt Shell021 Music Fans022 Music Fans023 Tora Tora024 Gin Blossoms025 Gin Blossoms026 Gin Blossoms027 Gin Blossoms028 Gin Blossoms029 Gin Blossoms030 Gin Blossoms031 Gin Blossoms032 Gin Blossoms033 Gin Blossoms034 Gin Blossoms035 Gin Blossoms036 Gin Blossoms037 Gin Blossoms038 Gin Blossoms039 Gin Blossoms040 Gin Blossoms041 Gin Blossoms042 Gin Blossoms043 Gin Blossoms044 Gin Blossoms045 Gin Blossoms046 Gin Blossoms047 Gin Blossoms048 Gin Blossoms049 Big Star050 Big Star051 Big Star052 Big Star053 Big Star054 Big Star055 Big Star056 Big Star057 Big Star058 Big Star059 Big Star060 Big Star061 Big Star062 Big Star063 Big Star064 Big Star065 Big Star066 Big Star067 Big Star068 Big Star069 Big Star070 Big Star071 Big Star072 Big Star073 Big Star074 Big Star075 Big Star076 Big Star

Although the Levitt Shell season doesn’t start until May, there is usually an earlier special music event or two during the warm weather in April, and this year, the occasion was a tribute to the late John Fry and John Hampton of Ardent Studios, two Memphis music figures who dies within a week of each other. As Ardent has been the most important studio in Memphis since the late 1960’s, their impact on the city and the local music industry was considerable, and so three popular Memphis bands associated with Ardent came out to perform.
First up was the hard rock band Tora Tora, which I had never been much of a fan of, but I found to my surprise that some of their songs had a recognizable Memphis influence. Behind them came the Gin Blossoms, who were produced by John Hampton and had recorded at Ardent. What I didn’t know, however, was that the band was originally from Arizona and chose to record at Ardent because of their admiration for Big Star.
The final band of the evening was the current incarnation of Big Star, featuring founding member Jody Stephens on drums, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, and Steve Selvidge on guitar. They played a number of familiar and not so familiar Big Star songs, as well as a reading of Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos”. A few of the songs featured vocals from the singers of the Gin Blossoms and Tora Tora. The evening ended with the performers standing together and taking a bow in front of the several hundred people who attended. John Fry was also posthumously awarded a note on Beale Street.













Keep up with Tora Tora:
https://www.facebook.com/ToraToraBand

Keep up with the Gin Blossoms:
http://www.ginblossoms.net
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gin-Blossoms/10194655949

https://myspace.com/ginblossoms
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gin-blossoms/id94763

Keep up with Big Star:
https://www.facebook.com/BigStar
http://www.bigstarstory.com
http://bigstarthird.com

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/big-star/id2351764

Keep up with Ardent Studios & Records:
http://www.ardentstudios.com
https://www.facebook.com/ardentstudios

http://ardentrecords.com/


http://ardentpresents.com
https://instagram.com/ardentstudios/

Record Store Day in Memphis

001 Goner Records Record Store Day002 Goner Records003 Record Store Day, Goner Records004 Goner Records005 Goner Records006 The BlackBerries007 The BlackBerries009 The BlackBerries010 The BlackBerries011 Shangri-La Records012 Shangri-La Records013 Shangri-La Records014 Beale Street015 Beale Street016 Beale Street017 Memphis Music019 Beale Street020 Memphis Music021 Artistik Approach022 Artistik Approach023 Beale Street024 Beale Street025 Beale Street026 Beale Street027 Beale Street028 Beale Street029 Beale Street
Record Store Day is a worldwide holiday held in April to call attention to an endangered species, the neighborhood record store. Record companies release all kinds of cool limited-edition vinyl LP’s and singles, and local stores often sponsor live performances on the day, and with vinyl sales picking up all the time, the future of independent stores doesn’t seem quite as bleak as it did a few years ago. In Memphis, three stores were official Record Store Day participants, and the first one I visited was Goner Records in the hip Cooper-Young neighborhood. Goner is a record label as well as a store, and not surprisingly they made a big deal of the day, with live bands such as the Blackberries out under the gazebo at Cooper and Young, and a store literally full of customers.
Things seemed more subdued at Shangri-La Records on Madison Avenue, although they had opened an hour earlier than Goner. They had decided to have their live music the next day on Sunday, when they were having Son of Mudboy play for an album release party for the reissue of Jim Dickinson’s legendary Beale Street Saturday Night compilation, but there were still a number of crate diggers enjoying their Saturday afternoon by browsing.
The third and final store participating in Record Store Day was Memphis Music, the blues-oriented record store on Beale Street, where the Memphis Music Commission had decided to sponsor live performances. Unfortunately, things were quite hectic on Beale, with a Corvette competition, and the annual Africa In April festival at Church Park, but small crowds gathered to enjoy Memphis singer-songwriter Michael Joyner and the a cappella vocal group Artistik Approach. It needs to also be pointed out that Memphis Music has greatly increased its vinyl selection over the last year or so, and is not just a store for tourists, but is worth a visit from local music lovers as well. It’s selection of import CD”s, particularly those with a Memphis connection, is also worth browsing.

Goner Records
2152 Young Av
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 722-0095
https://www.goner-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goner-Records/73295355242


http://goner-records.tumblr.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/GonerRecords

Shangri-La Records
1916 Madison Av
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 274-1916
http://shangri.com
https://www.facebook.com/ShangriLaRecords
http://www.shangrilaprojects.com

Memphis Music
149 Beale St
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 526-5047
http://memphismusicstore.com

A Soulful Independence with Deering and Down at River Arts Fest @deeringanddown

060 The Arcade061 River Arts Fest062 Deering & Down063 Deering & Down064 Deering & Down065 Deering & Down066 Deering & Down067 Deering & Down068 Deering & Down069 Deering & Down070 Deering & Down071 Deering & Down
Memphis indie duo Deering and Down wear their Memphis influences on their sleeve. Yet the 13-year-old duo of Lahna Deering and the Rev. Neil Down started not in the Bluff City, but in the unlikely town of Skagway, Alaska, when Deering’s mother introduced her to Rev. Down, who was known in the community as a musician and band-leader. The quick friendship led to an album, a cross-country tour that included a stop in Memphis, and eventually an album recorded at Yellow Brick Studios in Memphis in 2007. Shortly, thereafter, Deering and Down relocated to Memphis, cutting yet another album, 2009’s Out There Somewhere at the legendary Royal Studios, working with Willie and Boo Mitchell, Teenie Hodges and other Memphis musical legends. Memphis music was always part of Down’s musical vision, and Deering and Down pull off the seemingly impossible, reconciling alternative/indie music with soul in a way that doesn’t seem forced or contrived. Given the rise of other soul-inflected indie bands over the last couple of years, it could be truthfully argued that Deering and Down were ahead of their time.

Keep up with Deering and Down:
http://deeringanddown.com
https://www.facebook.com/deeringanddown


https://myspace.com/deeringanddown

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/deering-and-down/id5957672
http://deeringanddown.bandcamp.com