Hall of Fame producers working on celebrity guests for ceremony
Tickets go on sale Saturday for the 2016 Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
This year’s class of inductees is led by Stax Records star William Bell, garage-rock legend Domingo “Sam the Sham” Samudio, iconic R&B house band the Hi Rhythm Section, and jazz saxophone great Charles Lloyd. Renowned opera star Marguerite Piazza — who died in 2012 her adopted hometown of Memphis — and bluesman John Lee Hooker, who was born in Tutwiler, Mississippi, launched his career in Memphis and died in 2001 — will be honored posthumously.
The ceremonies — taking place Nov. 3 at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts — will have a lot to live up to after last year’s star-studded gala, which included appearances by Hall of Famer Justin Timberlake, rock legend Keith Richards and “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. Even “Webster” star Emmanuel Lewis made a surprise appearance during Sam Moore’s epic finale.
“We are trying our best to get Emmanuel back,” jokes John Doyle, head of the Hall of Fame and the man charged with putting the ceremony together. “Because we know that’s what will put us over the top again this year.”
Although the lineup of performers and guests typically isn’t finalized until a few days before the actual show, Doyle has already confirmed some talent for the event.
“We do know that William Bell is attending and willing to perform. John Lee Hooker Jr. is coming and will perform in honor of his father. Also, Sam Samudio is expected to appear,” says Doyle. “Unfortunately, Charles Lloyd has a concert in Milan, Italy, and won’t be able to attend.”
The Hi Rhythm section will once again serve as the house band — along with event’s musical director, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell — as well as performing their own featured set.
Over the next month, Doyle will be working diligently to bring in more celebrity names to serve as presenters and performers, likely until the last moment. “It’s always that way,” he says. “Last year, William Bell will be among the inductees and performers at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame ceremonies.
Fallon and Keith Richards, those were people we hadn’t confirmed until almost the very last minute. That’s the nature of
these things. But because we have such a great class, we’ve reached out to a lot of great people, and we’re excited about who all is going to be there on Nov. 3.” This year’s six-member Hall class will join 54 previous inductees — including B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and Timberlake — bringing the total number of members to 60 for the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum-affiliated Hall .
Tickets to the 2016 Memphis Music Hall of Fame ceremonies are $50 and $100 (this ticket price also includes a free silkscreened poster). They go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000.
Since the redevelopment of Overton Square kicked into high gear a few years ago, blues has been a major component of the area’s public entertainment.
This weekend, the genre will be given an even greater focus as the Memphis Blues Society presents the first Bona Fide Blues Festival. The fest, which features 28 different acts, will take place today and Saturday in and around Overton Square. The event will be dedicated to the recently departed Ruby Wilson, the “Queen of Beale Street.”
The lineup of performers includes a number of familiar Memphis, MidSouth and Mississippi names. Those scheduled to appear include Watermelon Slim, John Németh, Sons of Mudboy, and Southern Avenue, as well as Hill Country stars Cedric Burnside, Kenny Brown, Leo “Bud” Welch, and Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band.
Shows at Overton Square’s outdoor stage will be free and open to the public. There is a cover charge for each of the concerts at individual venues. However, the festival is offering all-access wristbands for $25 in advance, $50 at the gate. VIP passes are also available for $100.
To purchase tickets and for the full schedule, go to bonafidebluesfest.com.
Live music returned the Harbor Town Amphitheatre last weekend. The fifth edition of the River Series concert program kicked off with performances by Memphis blues-rocker Steve Selvidge and North Carolina folk guitarist Daniel Bachman.
Two more shows have been confirmed for the fall concert program, which is booked by Goner Records and Shoulder Tap Records, and takes place at the amphitheater located across from Miss Cordelia’s on the campus of the Maria Montessori School, at 740 Harbor Bend Road.
On Oct. 23, nine-member local collective The African Jazz Ensemble will perform as part of a show sponsored by the Indie Memphis Film Festival. On Nov. 5, Texas garagepsych artist John Wesley Colemen will appear.
Doors for the concerts open at 3 p.m. with music starting at 4. A donation of $5 or more is suggested for each concert. Miss Cordelia’s sells food, and Wiseacre Brewing Co. provides beer. Proceeds benefit the Maria Montessori School.
MEMPHIS MUSIC BEAT
Watermelon Slim will one of nearly 30 different acts performing at the Bona Fide Blues Festival this weekend in overton Square.