BMAS bring best of the blues to town
Next week, the best and brightest in the blues world will congregate in Memphis for several days of events surrounding the 37th annual Blues Music Awards, which will take place at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on Thursday, May 5.
Veteran Alabama musician James Harman is the year’s top nominee, up for five awards — including best song and best album. Also nominated in multiple categories are piano man Anthony Geraci and singer Sugaray Rayford, who will vie for four trophies each. Shemekia Copeland, Doug Macleod, The Cash Box Kings, and Wee Willie Walker are all up for three awards.
Local and regional acts once again had a strong showing, with Memphis transplant Victor Wainwright getting the nod in three categories, including the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player award. Local harmonica favorite Brandon Santini is up for two awards, including Contemporary Blues Artist.
North Mississippian Cedric Burnside received a trio of nominations for his work on the “Descendants of Hill Country” album. Mccomb, Mississippi, native Mr. Sipp is up for Best New Artist album for his debut “The Mississippi Blues Child,” alongside fellow nominee, guitarist Eddie Cotton of Clinton, Mississippi.
Another Memphian, and last year’s leading nominee, John Németh will be competing against Copeland, Rayford, Wainwright and Rick Estrin for the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. A new Shelby County Historical Marker celebrating the early career of Johnny Cash will be unveiled on Sunday in Cooper-young.
The awards will be bookended by several other events, including the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Wednesday. The Memphis Jug Band — the famed Bluff City group that ran from the 1920s through the 1950s, led by the legendary Will Shade — leads the inductees. Chicago blues musicians Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, British blues pioneer John Mayall and Malaco label co-founders Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson round out the 2016 class.
On Friday, the Blues Hall will have a grand opening for “Screamin’ the Blues,” an exhibit of the photographs by Francoise Digel.
All three days will be marked by a variety of showcases and concerts. For a full schedule or to purchase tickets, go to blues.org.
This Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Johnny Cash’s first Sun Records single, “I Walk the Line.” To mark the occasion and the former Galloway United Methodist Church, where Cash and his band the Tennessee Two played their first show in late 1954, the shelby County historical Commission will be unveiling a new marker on the site.
The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at the Galloway house (1015 S. Cooper, at Walker). Cash family members roy, Jackie and kellye Cash will be in attendance. Also, as part of the event, Legacy Memphis will be presenting longtime Cash drummer W.s. “Fluke” holland a lifetime achievement award.
There will also be live music from Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround, Jesse and Noah Bellamy, and rusty rainey. A $5 donation is suggested. The money will go to the ongoing campaign to fund a Cash statue in Cooper-young.
Local groups including Rhodes College’s Mike Curb Institute for Music, Cooper Walker Place, the Visible Music College, Legacy Memphis, the CooperYoung Community Association, and filmmaker/pop culture preservationist Mike Mccarthy, have been working on efforts to erect a statute of Cash, done by noted sculptor Bill Beckwith. So far, their effort is a third of the way to its $75,000 goal.
For more information, go to ioby.org/ project/johnnycash2016.
The Gibson Foundation — the philanthropic arm of guitar maker Gibson Brands — is inaugurating a public arts program in conjunction with the city of Memphis.
According to company, the Memphis Guitartown project will feature “twenty 10-foot-tall, artistically customized Gibson Lucille guitar sculptures that will be strategically placed throughout the city, partnered with Memphis musicians and celebrities, sponsored by local companies.”
The Lucille guitar was the signature instrument of blues legend B.B. King — its name was inspired by a 1949 bar brawl between two men fighting over a woman named Lucille that caused a major nightclub fire. King, who was performing that night, re-entered the burning building to retrieve his Gibson guitar.
The “Memphis Guitartown” sculptures will go up this year, and then sometime later in 2017, they’ll each be auctioned off, with proceeds going to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Memphis Charitable Foundation. Gibson Guitartown projects launched in 2004 in Nashville and continued with projects in Austin, Texas, West Hollywood; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Waukesha, Wisconsin, and London, England. The efforts have raised over three million dollars for various charities.
Memphis artists Lamar sorrento and Brandon Marshall have been commissioned to do the first two sculptures. But Gibson has announced an open call for all “visual artists interested in adorning the 10-foot sculptures or one of the Memphis-made unfinished Lucille guitars.” They’re can apply via callforentry.org by submitting their designs. Entries are due by June 5. Artists will be jury-selected and announced in mid-june.
Sorrento and Marshall’s sculptures will be unveiled in mid-september in honor of King’s birthday.
shakin’ some ACTION
This weekend, Toronto rock and roll duo catl returns to Memphis — where they recorded their most recent album “This Shakin’ House.” Cut at Ardent studios with engineer Adam Hill, the album captures the group’s vibrant energy and sound, something that Bluff City audiences have become familiar with over the course of several shows, including gigs at the Lamplighter (which inspired the new track “Lamplight the Way”).
The band — which has held its own opening for the likes of the Alabama Shakes, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and The Reigning Sound — will be playing Cooper-young’s Bar DKDC (964 S. Cooper) on Saturday at 9 p.m. Goner records DJS Cole and hoppe will spin before their set. Cover is $5. hadley’s Pub: Almost Famous, 9 p.m. Friday; Full Circle, 9 p.m. Saturday; The Nuttin’ Fancy Band, 5:30 p.m. Sunday; “Bike Night” with No Hit Wonders, 8 p.m. Wednesday; Swingin’ Leroy Acoustic, 8 p.m. Thursday. 2779 Whitten. 901-266-5006. hadleyspub.com Blues City Café: Blind Mississippi Morris at 5 p.m. and Brandon Cunning at 9:30 p.m. Friday; Earl “The Pearl” Banks at 12:30 p.m., Blind Mississippi Morris at 5 p.m. and Brandon Cunning, 9:30 p.m. Saturday; Blind Mississippi Morris at 12:30 p.m. and The Memphis 3 at 5 p.m. Sunday. 138 Beale. 901526-3637. bluescitycafe.com kings Palace Café: David Bowen, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-saturday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sundays, WednesdayThursday. 162 Beale. 901-5211851. kings Palace Café’s Patio: Sonny Mack and the Mack 2 Band, 2-6 p.m. and Sean “Bad” Apple, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday-saturday; Cowboy Neil, 2-6 p.m. and Sean “Bad” Apple, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Sundays; Sonny Mack & The Mack 2 Band, 2-6 p.m. and Cowboy Neil, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Mondays; Sonny Mack & The Mack 2 Band, 2-6 p.m. and Sensation Band, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays; Sonny Mack & The Mack 2 Band, 2-6 p.m. and Sean “Bad” Apple, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays; Sonny Mack & The Mack 2 Band, 2-6 p.m. and Cowboy Neil, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Thursdays. 162 Beale. 901-521-1851. kings Palace Café’s Tap room: Red Letter Day, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday and 8 p.m.midnight Saturday; Delta Project, 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday; Don Valentine, 8 p.m.-midnight Tuesdays and Thursdays; Vince Johnson & The Plantation All Stars, 8 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays. 168 Beale. 901-576-2220. New Daisy Theatre: The Schwag — The Grateful Dead Experience; doors open 10 p.m. Friday ($10). B. o. B with Scotty ATL, London Jae at 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($15-$18), doors open 6:30 p.m. Dirty South at 10 p.m. Saturday ($15-$25); Jake Shimabukuro at 8 p.m. Tuesday ($25-$30), doors open 7 p.m. 330 Beale. 901-525-8981. Hotline: 901525-8979. newdaisy.com rum Boogie Café: Pam & Terry, 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Freeworld, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday; Gracie Curran, 4:308:30 p.m. and Freeworld, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday; Gracie Curran, 3:30-7:30 p.m. and Mississippi Big Foot, 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday; JP Soars & The Red Hots, 8 p.m.-midnight MondayTuesday; Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls, 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Southern Avenue, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Wednesday; Vince Johnson & The Boogie Blues Band, 8 p.m.-midnight Thursday. 182 Beale. 901-5280150. rum Boogie Café’s Blues hall: Plantation All Stars, 3-7 p.m. and Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls, 8 p.m.-midnight Friday; Memphis Mambo Combo, 3-7 p.m. and Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls, 8 p.m.-midnight-saturday; Plantation All Stars, 3-7 p.m. and Low Society Blues Review, 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday; Brian Hawkins Blues Party, 8 p.m.-midnight Monday; Mcdaniel Band, 8 p.m.-midnight TuesdaysWednesdays; Memphis Bluesmasters, 8 p.m.midnight Thursdays. 182 Beale. 901-528-0150. Abundant Grace Ministries: The Almost Famous Gospel Singing Revival, 7 p.m. Friday with the “Almost Famous” Crains with Geeslin Brothers. 6 p.m. potluck. 9239 E. Holmes Road. 901-299-8831. huey’s: The Dantones, 8-11:30 p.m. Sunday. 2130 W. Poplar. 901-854-4455. huey’s: J.P. Soars & The Red Hots, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Sunday. 1771 Germantown Parkway. 901-754-3885. Neshoba unitarian universalist Church: Coffeehouse appearance featuring Greg Faiers and Jimmy Crosthwait, 7 p.m. Wednesday at 7350 RaleighLagrange Road, Cordova. Donations accepted at the door. CDS available for purchase. 901-266-2626. neshobachurch.org The Peabody: “Rooftop Party” season continues with Frankie Hollie and the Noise, 6-10 p.m. Thursday ($10). 149 Union. 901-529-4000. MLGW Administration Building (by elvis statue): Plus-1 Jam: MLGW Celebrates Memphis Music: Tropix at 6 p.m. and Muddy River Blues Band at 8 p.m. Friday; Kyle Russell at 2 p.m., Memphis Letter Carriers at 4 p.m. and Muddy River Blues Band at 8 p.m. Saturday. Donations appreciated. Benjamin L. hooks Central Library courtyard: “5 Fridays of Jazz” concert series, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at 3030 Poplar. Bill Hurd Quintet, Friday. 901-415-2846. huey’s: Six String Lovers, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Sunday. 4872 Poplar. 901-682-7729. Jim’s Place restaurant & Bar: Hudson & Saleeby, 8:3011:30 p.m. Wednesdays. 518 Perkins Ext. 901-766-2030. Mortimer’s: Van Duren solo, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursdays at 590 N. Perkins Road. All ages. No cover. 901-761-9321. Neil’s Music room: At 5727 Quince Road. 901682-2300. facebook.com/ Neilsmusicroom Fridays: Country music featuring Eddie Smith, Buddy Church, Tommy Burroughs, Terry Bailey. 8 p.m. No cover. Saturday: Rick Camp & The Suburban Trunk Monkeys, 9 p.m. Tuesdays: Gene Nunez, Debbie Jamison and Michael Rainey, 6-10 p.m. No cover. Wednesdays: Elmo & The Shades “Big Soul Dance Party” at 8 p.m. No cover. Thursdays: Jack Rowell’s Celebrity Jam at 8 p.m. No cover charge. salsa: “Cinco De Mayo”
MEMPHIS MUSIC BEAT
John Németh will be one of several Memphians competing for honors at the annual Blues Music Awards on May 5.