Thursday, April 19, 2007


Citywide Celebration Delivers 50 Years of Musical Excitement
Over One Spectacular Week

Underscoring its role as a contemporary and historical center of American music, Memphis, Tennessee will host “Seven Days of Soul” June 16- 22, as part of the city’s year-long “50 Years of Soul” celebration.

The milestone commemorates the golden anniversaries of the founding of Stax Records, which pioneered the spare and punchy style of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs and countless other legends; and Royal Studios, which produced the achingly sweet intensity of Al Green and Ann Peebles, among others.

“Memphis is thrilled to present ‘Seven Days of Soul,’” said Kevin Kane, President of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re proud of our city’s ongoing legacy as a breeding ground for these timeless sounds and plan to pack all the excitement soul music has delivered over the past 50 years into one blockbuster week.”

The gala week will engage with an abundance of iridescent sights, sounds and attractions as well as special events inspired by the world’s most universally beloved style of music.

Beale Street, the number one tourist attraction in the state of Tennessee with its wealth of restaurants, bars, hotels and shops, will function as the centerpiece for “Seven Days of Soul.” John Elkington, President and CEO of Performa Entertainment, which oversees the strip, said: “Everyone on the street will take part. This will be one amazing bash. The world has embraced our home-grown soul, and many of the artists who created it have become national treasures. ‘Seven Days of Soul’ will be a time to toast their incredible achievements and party in their honor.”

The nearby Gibson Guitar Factory will also host a soul performance series all week long, showcasing top R&B acts in its intimate lounge setting daily during “Seven Days of Soul.”

To complete the week, Concord Records will host a star-studded concert at Memphis’ Orpheum Theatre on June 22, beginning at 8 pm. The concert, benefiting the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy, will feature contemporary and legendary Stax artists, including Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Mabel John, the Temprees, Rance Allen and The Reddings, a group consisting of Otis Redding’s sons Dexter and Otis II. Tickets for the event go on sale April 30 from Ticketmaster (, priced at $25, $50, $100, and $1,000.

Memphis is known worldwide as the birthplace of popular music, attracting millions of international fans to the city’s many musical shrines. Attractions that capture this incredible legacy include the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory, Sun Studios and Elvis Presley’s Graceland.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lantana Projects' New Exhibit

The relationship between Memphis music and the city's role in the struggle for civil rights has been well documented by many music historians, which is why we'd like to invite you to check out the new exhibit from Lantana Projects' Artist-in-Residence program:

Lantana Projects, the FedEx Institute of Technology and the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts Friday will present artist Barbara Bickart's Memphis project Friday, April 20, from 7-9 p.m. at 531 S. Main. (The entrance is on G.E. Patterson.) There is no charge to attend.

“When” is a video installation performance piece that explores our relationship to the past and the future, highlighting images of visitors to the National Civil Rights Museum. “When” investigates our relationship to this specific cultural, historical site and its legacy.
Bickart is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is project-based. Her projects take the form of video installation, video performance, and experimental documentary work. They have been presented globally in locations including London, Argentina, Israel, Croatia, Australia, and New York.

The Artist-in-Residence program, designed by Lantana Projects the FedEx Institute and the College of Communication and Fine Arts, brings international artists in technology and new media to Memphis to explore the unique innovation that occurs from linking renowned artists with research scientists working at the frontier of technology.

More information is available online at or

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Beale Street Music Festival Update

In addition to the very exciting news that the first Friday of the Beale Street Music Festival will include headliners Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission is planning a free-to-the-public "after party" to take place in WC Handy Park on Beale Street.

For more information on the Beale Street Festival and other Memphis In May Events, like the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, visit

And if you want to make new friends with the Memphis music scene, visit

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Memphis Soul Tour

Music fans visiting Memphis can often become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of attractions and interests. One of the best ways to get a broad feel for the city and have fun doing it is to take one of the many unique music tours the city offers.

Here's a short list of some of the best Memphis music tours:

Memphis’ premier tour operators offer a wide array of daily, themed tours including Shopping, Music, After Dark, Graceland, Memphis History, Civil Rights and more. Custom tours available.

Take a journey through time and experience the struggles, triumphs and cultural impact of African Americans in Memphis. While on this tour, you’ll crouch in a basement that was a stop on the Underground Railroad, learn the history behind the Union occupation of Memphis and experience the power of religion in historic churches. Whether music, history or culture is your thing, with 30 inspiring sites, Heritage Tours has something for everyone.

Dive below the surface of Memphis music and experience the sights, sounds and stories of rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, soul, R&B, gospel and jazz. Or customize your pilgrimage by selecting specific sites, styles and musicians to suit your taste. PS...Tour guide Sherman Wilmott is one of three credited curators for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Not your usual tour. Not your usual guide. Explore the legends and myths of southern culture and music from the inside (and outside) of wayward soul Tad Pierson’s 1955 Cadillac. Themed tours include the Juke Joint Full of Blues, the Gospel Church, the Delta Day Trip and the soul-soothing Road Therapy tour.

Memphis is truly the cultural crossroads of the nation, and nowhere can you better experience the city and its rich musical heritage than from a seat on the Backbeat Bus. You'll ride in vintage style, see the sights of historic Bluff City and learn the story of the "Memphis Sound" - while hearing the music performed live! From Beale Street's vibrant blues to the rockin' rythyms of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash . . . From the stirring gospel heritage of the churches to the captivating grooves of Soulsville USA . . . you'll hear it all LIVE in a completely one-of-a-kind show on wheels. There's as much happening inside the Backbeat bus as outside - so get ready to shake, rattle and roll!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Beale Street Music Festival

May is the busiest and arguably the best time of year to visit Memphis. One of the reasons for this is the Beale Street Music Festival. 3 Big Days and Over 60 bands take over Tom Lee Park, the riverfront green space at the bottom of Beale Street. Here's a sneak peak at this year's lineup:

Friday, May 4th
The Allman Brothers Band, Three 6 Mafia, Koko Taylor, Gov't Mule, Social Distortion, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hubert Sumlin & Willie Big Eyes Smith, The Derek Trucks Band, North Mississippi Allstars

Saturday, May 5th
Bobby "Blue" Bland, The Bar-Kays, Wolfmother, The Ohio Players, Taj Mahal, Old Crow Medicine Show, Eddie Floyd

Sunday, May 6th
Counting Crows, John Legend, Barenaked Ladies, DAUGHTRY, Edwin McCain, Ann Peebles, Papa Roach, Billy Lee Riley

For more information on the Beale Street Festival and other Memphis In May Events, like the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, visit

Stax Museum Exhibit

Now on display at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music:

“SOUL SANCTUARY: Images of the African-American Worship Experience”
February 4 - April 29, 2007

This breathtaking photo exhibit will be on display February 4 – April 29, 2007 and features 50 black-and-white photographs that capture the essence and rhythms of the black Christian church taken by award-winning photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson. Selected from 15,000 photographs Johnson shot over a ten-year period in 25 states (including several churches in Memphis), this collection of images captures the spirit of the black church through arresting images of congregants’ facial expressions and body language, their uniforms and dress, and the dignity of their worship.

Jason Miccolo Johnson grew up in Memphis and graduated from George Washington Carver high school in 1974 before attending Memphis State University and later obtaining a degree in journalism from Howard University. He was influenced by two icons of photography; Civil rights lensman Ernest Withers and Life Magazine photographer Gordon Parks. Parks wrote the foreword to the companion book which he calls “a magnificent collection” of images. The exhibition will include at least ten Memphis churches and highlight the musical talents in many sanctuaries. A former photo editor at USA Today’s Sports Weekly, and production assistant at ABC News’s Good Morning America, his photos have been published in more than 15 books and 50 magazines, including Songs of my People, Glamour, Essence, Ebony, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Jet, and Black Enterprise. His work has appeared in two major Smithsonian Institution exhibitions: “Reflections in Black” and “Speak to My Heart.” He has taken exclusive photographs of some of the world’s most recognizable people including Princess Dianna, Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey.

Johnson is perhaps best known for his “visual call and response” shooting style, with poignant images that focus on the subject’s eyes and hands. Nowhere is this more evident than in the photographs of Baptisms, weddings, funerals, annual day celebrations, ecstatic soloists and choir directors, prophetic preachers, angelic liturgical dancers, and peaceful moments of prayer and praise contained in SOUL SANCTUARY: Images of the African-American Worship Experience.