Le­vitt Shell marks 10th an­niver­sary with free shows and fundrais­ing con­certs

The Commercial Appeal - - Mlife - Bob Mehr Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

A host of no­table artists will per­form con­certs this year to mark the 10th an­niver­sary of the Le­vitt Shell at Over­ton Park.

The sum­mer edi­tion of the twice yearly “Orion Free Mu­sic Con­cert Se­ries” will kick off on May 31 and run through July 15 (the fall sea­son, which is still be­ing fi­nal­ized, will in­clude shows be­tween Septem­ber 6 and Oc­to­ber 21).

Among the stand­out per­form­ers ap­pear­ing are ris­ing roots-rock and Amer­i­cana acts in­clud­ing JD McPher­son,

Nikki Lane and the McCrary Sis­ters, along with veteran per­form­ers Ray Wylie Hub­bard, The Igua­nas and The Blind Boys of Alabama.

High­light­ing Mid-South acts, the Re­gional One Mem­phis Mu­sic Se­ries adds an­other se­lec­tion of shows from lo­cal no­ta­bles in­clud­ing Har­lan T. Bobo, Paul Thorn, the Stax Mu­sic Academy, Rev. Sekou, and Mike Far­ris.

The Shell was re­stored and re­named in 2008 as part of an ef­fort by the Mor­timer Le­vitt Foun­da­tion, which launched the free con­cert se­ries. “Ten years is a big mile­stone for us,” says Anne Pitts,the Shell’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “In that 10 years, we’ve pre­sented over 500 free con­certs to Mem­phis and over a mil­lion peo­ple have at­tended those events. We will be cel­e­brat­ing the 10th an­niver­sary and the great ser­vice we pro­vide through­out this an­niver­sary year.”

As part of its fundrais­ing ef­forts, the venue will also host three tick­eted “Stars at the Shell” con­certs. That se­ries kicks off on May 10 with rock­ers Lukas Nel­son & Prom­ise of the Real. The shows con­tinue July 13 with a blues dou­ble bill fea­tur­ing Grammy-win­ner Robert Cray and spe­cial guest Cedric Burn­side, and wraps up with a per­for­mance by Lake Street Dive on Septem­ber 29.

Tickets for the “Stars at the Shell” shows are $20 to $30 and avail­able at levittshell.org.

GETTTY IMAGES FOR AMER­I­CANA MU­SIC

Roots rocker JD McPher­son plays the Le­vitt Shell's free con­cert se­ries on July 12

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