Performances and times may change slightly. Enjoy Y’all.
2 Mule Plow
Mule Plow’s song list is somewhat unique in itself. A lot of their music has developed through years of playing shows in the clubs of Memphis. Of course they can play most traditional bluegrass tunes like everyone else, but they’ve spiced up their show with a collection of “bluegrassed” songs by artists such as The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Elvis, the Grateful Dead, Lyle Lovett, The Box Tops and The Beatles.
Alphonzo Bailey, better known by his stage name, Al Kapone, is an American rapper from Memphis, TN. Al Kapone is known principally for his underground success in the Memphis hip hop scene in the 1990s, and latter role in a number of more contemporary songs. After a decade of cultivating underground cult status in Memphis, Al Kapone began to achieve some mainstream success starting with his role on the soundtrack to the film, Hustle & Flow . The soundtrack included one solo track, titled “Get Crunk, Get Buck”. He also wrote and produced “Whoop That Trick” and wrote “Hustle & Flow (It Ain’t Over)”, both tracks performed by Djay. His song “The Deepest Hood” was featured in the 2007 film, Stomp the Yard .
Kapone collaborated with several musicians including E-40, Mike Jones, Too Short, Pimp C, Pastor Troy and D-Shot. He co-wrote E-40′s “U and Dat” and Lil’ Jon’s “Snap Yo Fingers” and appeared on fellow Memphis hip hoppers Three 6 Mafia’s album, Last 2 Walk , and 8Ball & MJG’s, Ridin High . He has toured with DJ Charlie White and guitarist Matt Uselton as well as with six piece band of Memphis musicians called Tha Untouchablez.
All Night Long Blues Band
Sean “Bad” Apple has studied at the feet of historical blues-men for the better part of two decades. In 1993 he learned and spent time with the then-88 year old Bentonia Blues native, Jack Owens, among others. Sean has made a living playing rural juke joints, festivals and yard parties through the South. He has taken the education of the blues taught to him by the men and women who created this music. Through culture and tradition, cotton fields and levee camps, Sean Apple and the All Night Long Blues Band (a three-piece band consisting of drums, guitar and harmonica) plan to reach back and draw from the inspiration of Blues Past and deliver high energy, driving performances of the Blues Future.
One of the house bands at Ground Zero Blues Club and Red’s Lounge for 5 years, and a main stage act at the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, Bukka White Blues Festival, Hambone Festival, Juke Joint Festival, Howlin’ Wolf Festival, Oxford Blues Festival, and The King Biscuit Blues Festival.
Amara Belly Dance
Annoited Cowan Singers
Born and raised in Pittsburgh Pa, Barbara has had the blues since the day she was born. Since forming her own band in 1989, Barbara has been progressing right up blues alley. With the release of her Debut CD ‘Out of the Blue,’ Barbara has reached a wider audience of blues lovers worldwide. Now residing in Memphis Tennessee and performing nightly on historical Beale Street for over ten years, Barbara’s understanding and cultivation of the Blues is deeper and richer than ever.
Bean found its beginning late one night at a rooftop party in downtown Memphis, TN. Rodney, Jeremy, Chris, and Richard were brought together during an impromptu jam/sing-along that made an entire rooftop shake from people dancing and singing along. After that night, the four began playing together all over town and chose to name the project – Bean! Their music takes elegant vocal harmonies with infectious folk/pop hooks and blends them with brilliant guitar melodies. The rhythm section rounds out the sound with simple funky bass lines and hard hitting drums. All of these elements absolutely shine on their debut self-titled album – which has its roots in folk, rock, pop, and even a small touch of So-Cal surf rock.
Where Bean truly comes alive is in their live performances in which they take influences from such acts as the Avett Brothers, Queens of the Stone Age and favorite local Memphis band, Star and Micey. They strive to spread a positive vibration and share their strong love of music, which genuinely shows in every performance.
The Bell Singers were formed 36 years ago by Mrs. Dora Bell, who wanted to do something to keep her children in the church and off the streets. The Bell Singers are a group of dedicated Christian people striving hard to promote gospel throughout the nation. The singers, Dora Bell (Founder), Stella Bell-Alexander, Patricia Bell-Artison, Willie Artison, Linda Bell-Ellis, Rev. Danny Bell and Beverly Bell have been singing for the Lord since 1973.
Like many before him, Gibson left Mississippi for Memphis. “Beale Street was my university of blues,” recalls Gibson, referring to the lessons learned as a Beale Street performer. “For a young musician, all you have to do is look and listen and you can learn so much.” Gibson’s talent and commitment have not gone unrecognized. He received an endorsement from Hohner, his harmonica of choice since 1999. He has made guest appearances on national recording artists’ CDs including Deborah Coleman’s Soft Place To Fall (Blind Pig 2000) and Michael Burks’ I Smell Smoke (Alligator 2003). Around the same time, Gibson received a BA in music from the University of Memphis.
Gibson’s career has been a constant progression and immersion into many genres of music, with blues being the foundation and primary inspiration for his artistic endeavors.
Bluff City Backsliders
Jug Band/ Southern Americana
The Bluff City Backsliders features several veteran Memphis musicians, who share a hankering for great old sounds from the pre- World War II era. Their hearty repertoire of early jazz, jug band, old-time country, and proto-bluegrass tunes is the foundation for a wholly Southern musical sound, reaching from Memphis to Appalachia and all the way down to New Orleans, often all at once. Performing with a back-porch soul and the ferocity of the best punk bands, the band adds a new-fangled sensibility and some youthful energy to a deep heritage.
Brittany Russell is the powerhouse performer from Memphis, TN, who delivers a high-energy show every time she steps on stage. Brittany is a gifted and award-winning songwriter with a catalogue of original material and has recorded at a host of studios in the Mid-South and has been seen on local stages as well as LA. Singing on stage since she was 8, Brittany is an experienced performer, playing to large crowds ranging from clubs to festivals, private parties to statewide events. She and her band play a wide range of songs from Gwen Stefani to Led Zeppelin, from Aerosmith to Avril Lavigne, The Beatles, and more.
For those of you who have yet to see this amazing performer or hear her remarkable voice, here is your opportunity to enjoy what crowds in Memphis have been seeing for quite some time. You will find yourself agreeing with everyone in the city of the blues that this is indeed the “Little Lady with the Great Big Voice”.
Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group
Cazateatro is the first Bilingual Theatre Group in Memphis founded in August of 2006 by Gio Lopez. We will present: Un Cuento con Sabor Latino (A Fairy Tell with Latin Flavor), the classic tell of The Three Little Pigs with a funny Latin flavor telling in Spanish and English.
Cedric Burnside, the grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside and son of drummer great Calvin Jackson, is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world. Growing up at his grandfather’s side, he began touring at age 13, playing drums for “Big Daddy” on stages around the globe. Cedric was born in 1978 and raised around Holly Springs, MS. He has been playing music all his life, developing a relentless, highly rhythmically charged style with strong hip-hop and funk influences.
Chinese Jasmine Flower Dancers
Chinese Martial Arts
Professional vocalist/singer Chang Shu will be performing traditional Chinese songs and a troupe will give a dance and martial arts demonstration.
Chris Johnson and Zack Mack
Copper Possum has been grinding on for over a decade. The band has an extensive catalogue of original music rooted in Rock and Blues. With several studio recordings under their belt, including the 2010 album Coordinates, the power trio currently tours all around the Southeast US at bars, college parties, and festivals. Their performances are engaging, full of energy, and have been known to ignite full-on dance parties. Copper Possum looks forward to recording a new EP in December 2012, and looks forward to increased touring for many years to come.
Dan Montgomery with Robert and Candace Mache
In 2003 Dan released his first solo album entitled Man From Out of State. An acoustic based travelogue that looks back at ten years, Three Thousand Miles and Almost as many sleepless nights. Reviews were excellent especially in Europe and Dan hit the road often with accordionist Gus Cordovox and bassist Neal Arot (the core players on the record). Dan followed the album up with the highly ambitious concept album Rosetta, please(a love story). Rosetta was the story of a guy Dan met many years ago in a N.J. bar who was an ex con and his girlfriend (Rosetta) a prostitute. The album was a bigger hit and even made several year end Best Of lists(including The Philadelphia Inquirer and North Carolinas Independent). Now Dan gets ready to release his latest and greatest work yet; You’ll Never Be A Bird. A twelve song piece of what Dan calls Omni folk. A sprawling record that runs the gamut from lilting ballads to outright heavy rockers, Bird features the amazing musicianship of Robert Mache(Steve Wynn, Continental Drifters, The Mumps) on guitar and mandolin among others.
Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl
Traditional Aztec Dance
Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl is a company of true artists. They are inspired by genuine respect for tradition and the transcendence of art – especially, but not only – through dance. Historic accuracy is matched by dynamic theatricality and intense energy. Their costumes alone create a spectacle, but there is much deeper power beneath the surface. When watching (and hearing) this troupe perform, one feels the ancient magnetism and release that drums and dance arouse in the human spirit – hundreds of years ago and still today.
Darrell Petties and SIP
The contemporary gospel sounds of Darrell Petties & SIP (Strength in Praise) rival any other kind of music for sheer, raw dynamics. True believer or casual listener, this group will definitely rock your world. 20-something Darrell Petties and has been singing ever since he can remember. He founded his group following a youth crusade in 1999 and ‘has been rolling’ ever since. Darrell Petties and SIP is currently 45 people strong. They have performed across the country and provided back up for Kurt Franklin and Shirley Caesar. Along the way, they have won numerous awards included the three they picked up at the 2003 Memphis Gospel Bridge Awards.
David Onley and Sergio Webb
David Olney and Sergio Webb create a live performance that is beyond description and at the same time tremendously memorable. Two men on stage, one looking like a 1950s private eye and the other like he just stepped off a spaghetti western movie set. One, a master story teller and the other, an ace guitar picker. Their highly theatrical performances have taken them to stages across America and around the world. “My idea of a good time is getting in front of an audience and giving them more than they expected.
With her classy act and a repertoire that includes jazz classics & big band swing that will take you back in time, popular blues, along with a few original songs, Deborah has a style of her own that shows great versatility. She gives an exciting and entertaining performance of covers including songs by legendary artists such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Rosemary Clooney and Etta James with an original touch. And if you are in the mood for some country, you may even hear some Patsy Cline or Willie Nelson.
A native of Memphis, TN, Deborah Swiney is a former backup vocalist for the legendary Rev. Al Green and had the opportunity to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Today Show and more while touring. She performs with some of Memphis’ best musicians and can provide duo to big band performances. Deborah is currently in the studio working on her debut jazz CD, set for release in early 2013.
Deering & Down
Deering & Down is an independent duo living in Memphis and playing music worldwide. Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, the band has lived and played music in Alaska, Los Angeles, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada and Memphis. Called “the best one-two punch in the city” by Memphis’ Commercial Appeal, the duo describes their style as defiantly unorthodox with a smoky Memphis flavor cast in a glow of shimmering Northern lights. DEFIANTLY UNORTHODOX.
As fate would have it, Canadian born chanteuse Lahna Deering found her way up North to Alaska, where she met and befriended rock and roll journeyman Rev. Neil Down. The merging of Deering’s strong belt-it-out voice, and Down’s “left of center” guitar playing was just the beginning of their creative kinship. The last few years have found Deering and Down immersed in the muddy browns and blues of Memphis and the Mighty Mississippi River.
Christian String Band
Delta Blue is an All Male, All Acoustic, Christian String Band, formed in 1999 to honor our LORD JESUS CHRIST by providing our music. Delta Blue has made 12 appearances on the popular early morning Memphis TV Variety Show Live @9 on CHANNEL 3. Delta Blue has also appeared live on Charlie Kyle’s TV Show in New Albany, MS, on the popular, long-running early morning Kay Bain TV Show in Tupelo, MS and live on the Christian TV Network out of Booneville, MS.
Unlike so many other blues vocalists who just re-interpret material given to them by songwriters, Denise LaSalle is a seriously talented songwriter. Although her soul blues style has strong urban contemporary overtones at times, it’s best to think of LaSalle as a modern-day Bessie Smith — because that’s really what she is. She writes funny songs full of sassy attitude and it’s an attitude she carries with her on stage. Off-stage, LaSalle accommodates all autograph seekers and gladly obliges journalists and radio disc jockeys.
The Jackson, TN-based LaSalle was raised in Belzoni, MS, (also home to Joe Willie “PineTop” Perkins some years earlier), but she got started singing in local churches around Leflore County. She was born July 16, 1939, as Denise Craig. Growing up, she listened to the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts and then in Belzoni, lived across the street from a juke joint. LaSalle’s early influences, from the jukeboxes around Belzoni and over the radio, included Ruth Brown, Dinah Washington, and LaVern Baker. LaSalle moved north to Chicago when she was in her early twenties and would attend shows at the Regal Theatre, always returning home to write songs. She got to know blues musicians and began giving her songs to them until one day a Chess Records executive stopped by at Mixer’s Lounge, where LaSalle was working as a bar maid. He listened to one of her songs and took it down to Chess. The company later signed her as a vocalist, but never recorded her. Two years later, LaSalle recorded and produced her own record with the help of Billy “The Kid” Emerson, the Chess executive who’d originally shown an interest in her. After the record made some waves on local radio, Chess stepped in, purchased the master and took it to Europe. Meanwhile, LaSalle continued writing songs and sitting in with blues musicians around the Chicago clubs.
LaSalle’s first big hit came about in 1971 when her “Trapped By a Thing Called Love” on the Westbound label broke on the radio in Chicago and then Detroit. She then signed with ABC Records in 1975, cutting three albums in three years until the label was sold to MCA. After MCA dropped her because of their “difficulty in promoting black acts” at that time, she continued performing as much as she could in Chicago and Memphis. In 1980, a Malaco executive called to ask her to write a song for Z.Z. Hill. A positive relationship with the company quickly developed, which resulted in LaSalle recording 11 discs for the label, including Lady in the Street (1983), Right Place, Right Time (1984), Love Talkin’(1985), Hittin’ Where It Hurts (1989), Still Trapped (1990), Still Bad (1994), and Smokin’ in Bed (1997). While her Malaco sides are probably her most important recordings, (other than the original of her early ’70s hit “Trapped..”) she still releases excellent gospel crossover material, including This Real Woman (2000) and There’s No Separation (2001) on Ordena Records ~ Richard Skelly & Al Campbell, All Music Guide
In the fall of 2005, bartender Brad Bozwell offered the band a place to practice with free Pabst on tap at the Buccaneer in Midtown, Memphis TN. Late in the night of that first rehearsal fellow musician Brian Sharpe had commandeered one of the guitars and was working himself into a frenzy. What had started as a run through a few old Hank tunes had now turned into an all out stream of consciousness rant, evoking scenes of taking the night life too far. Sharpe was shouting at the top of his lungs, ‘I threw it all away on that DAMNED DEVIL TRAIN!!!’ And so the name was taken (or given) there on the spot to one of Memphis’s most exciting folk/bluegrass jam bands.
Earl The Pearl & Brad Webb
Elmo and The Shades
Featuring some of Memphis’ best-known and most talented musicians, Elmo & the Shades will turn any event into a rollicking, classic, rhythm-and-blues PARTY! Lead singer Elmo Lee Thomas, the big man with the big voice, will take you on a musical tour of the best blues, R&B, and funk favorites of the last 40 years. Elmo’s renowned bandmates include bassist Freddie Mooney, drummer Lawrence Harper, horn greats Mickey Gregory and Tommy Lee Williams (both were in the house bands at Stax and Hi Records and appeared on numerous hits.
Fronted by dynamic lead singer, Nathaniel Kent, Exodus has been a show stopper at several Memphis Music & Heritage Festivals. Blending reggae, jazz, R&B and various Caribbean influences, Exodus, is a great band to life your spirits as you shake your booty.
Favor started in 2001 after tragedy struck their sanctuary. This tragedy was the center point of a lot of gospel artist careers in Memphis. Every year Favor sponsors a gospel explosion to hopefully raise money to rebuild a sanctuary that will still help other artists as well as to help youth fulfill their dreams in the ministry of music. Princess Hammond (director/songwriter/vocalist) has written a compilation of songs that not only entertain youth and young adults, but it is also the teaching of the gospel in song.
Though the line-up has changed over time, FreeWorld celebrates over 15 years of jazz-inspired jamming. The band’s founding members – bass player Richard Cushing, saxophonist Herman Green, and drummer David Skypeck – continue to lead an evolving cast of guitarists, keyboardists and horn players as they expand on their mix of Latin-influenced, psychedelic jazz and improvisational rock. Featuring guests Marvell, Vaneese, Carla Thomas, and James Govan
Gary Topper Groupﾠ
Mr. Gary Topper is a woodwind player, composer, arranger and educator whose career began in Memphis playing jazz and producing commercial music. He recorded with Al Green, Jimmy Buffet, Keith Richards, Toots Hibbert and the Memphis Horns.Gary relocated to New York City in 1989 where he performed with jazz greats such as Jerome Richardson, Bob Cranshaw, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Wayne Andre, Chip Jackson, Bill Mays, Lew Soloff, David Matthews and Candido. Other live performance credits include Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Michel Legrand, Michael Bolton, Nancy Wilson, Lena Horne as well as several Broadway shows. He played in the big bands of Mike Longo, Ed Palermo, Bill Mobley, Lew Anderson and performed on recordings for Patti LaBelle, Gary Lemel, and Tony Bennett.Gary conducted three concerts at Carnegie Hall for the Kiskeya Orchestra and has composed, arranged and performed on feature film soundtracks, national commercials, and audio programs for art museums.
Ghost Town Blues Band
Beale Street’s latest success story is GTBB. Their debut release Dust the Dust (Inside Sounds) has received an impressive amount of airplay throughout the US and Europe. The recording won the European Independent Music Label Award for “Top Sound” in blues and hosted the # 1 spot on iTunes in Austria as well as boasting the Memphis Blues Society IBC runner-up in 2011. Ghost Town Blues Band is a modern blues band with an intimate knowledge of both blues-rock and improvisational jams. At the same time, the band’s raw energy and intensity is reminiscent of some of the best blues that rock n’ roll has ever offered. The band can turn on a dime from North Mississippi Hill Country grooves to classic electric urban blues and funk. This gritty Memphis-based trio has been touring the US since their inception in 2009, gaining a strong following within the blues and jam band circuit.
With a shoot-from-the-hip Memphis attitude, and a STAX-busting explosion of modern blues vision, GTBB represents a welcome changing of the guard.” – Mark Uricheck, Living Blues Magazine
urrently, a “Pick to Click” on Sirius/XM B.B. King’s Bluesville.
Hip Hop Dancers, Memphis Black Arts Alliance
The Memphis Black Arts Alliance is headquartered at the FireHouse Community Arts Center, where youﾒll find performances, classes, art galleries, special camps, places to hold your special event, exhibits, a community of learning, a community of the arts and a community which celebrates and nurtures the cultural contributions of blacks, helping all to feel good about who they are regardless of ages, incomes, abilities, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. The Youth Hip Hop Dancers study at the FireHouse Community Arts Academy with academically and professionally experienced dancers.
Hope Clayburn and Soul Scrimmage
Funk, jazz, and rock saxophonist/vocalist Hope Clayburn is on a mission to move the people. She’s always up to the challenge of making every audience member feel included in her energetic shows and leave with a little more sweat. Hope’s funky saxophone and flute chops mixed with her soulful rock vocals have allowed her to perform with an eclectic mix of artists, including James Brown, The Allman Brothers Band, The Temptations, and The North Mississippi Allstars, to name a few.
You can now find Hope in Memphis, TN recording and performing with her ensemble Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage. Their music combines funky James Brown and Funkadelic-like grooves with Memphis Soul, world beat, rock and jazz to create an energetic and unique Memphis sound. The band has just released a 6 song EP called Love Is On The Way that features all original music inspired from the jams or ‘scrimmages’ the band would play at a weekly gig at the Full Moon Club in Memphis. The band plans to release a live CD/DVD in Spring 2013.
I look at music as the great equalizer. Everyone can feel the groove when it’s real and from the heart.”
Ify was born in Lagos, Nigeria and was raised in Brooklyn, NY, and Memphis, TN. She is a powerhouse that speaks her mind in the Hip Rock tracks she writes. Her voice embodies the rasp of Rock & Roll and the sultriness of unconventional hip hop. Her catchy lyrics make bystanders move and nay-sayers chant, “Yes!” Ify is influenced by artists such as Fela Kuti, Kelis, Michael Jackson, Blondie, Tina Turner, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Korn, Pink, and M.I.A. Her life experiences and struggles are conveyed through her music. On many occasions as a youngun’, she would buy herself tickets to concerts and attended them alone. This gave her the courage to allow her inner artist to emerge.
Ify says, “Some think being different could be considered a job, but when you are born with the knowledge that you are unlike many you encounter, It dawns on you that this is a way of life. It is nothing like a job. It’s only survival. I’ve survived this long the way I am, but I want to be the voice for others who are scared like I used to be before I embraced my quirks. In doing so, I want to use my love for music and performing to let the world hear my voice before it is my time to go. I’ve seen a lot and I know people will be able to relate to my stories when they are ready to listen. On the other hand, they don’t have to be ready, because I am! ” Ify is currently recording her album, Candy Canes & Crutches.
Isaac Bramblett plays Rock with Southern, Folk, and Country tendencies. Born in New Orleans in 1978, Bramblett grew up around Louisiana legends and French Quarter characters that include the late Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Coco Robicheaux, and Tuba Fatts, swapping stories and taking notes. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2006, Bramblett recorded several songs that gained a lot of local and internet attention. (“His voice is a deep and muddy as the Mighty Mississippi!” – Jason Slatton.)
Bramblett’s lifelong association and appreciation of music finally came full circle in 2012 when he was asked to perform at the ‘Melting Point’ with John Keane and The Randall Bramblett Band. Since then he has been busy having fun reconnecting with his musical side, playing out with musicians such as Caroline Aiken, Ike Stubblefield (Motown), Davis Causey (RBB), June Yamagishi (Papa Grows Funk), Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), and Yonrico Scott (Royal Southern Brotherhood) among others. Currently, Bramblett is lead singer for the Athens, Ga. band “DEBRIS”, founded by drummer Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz (Widespread Panic).
Jericho Road Show
Jericho Road Show is an all-acoustic international group of seasoned musicians spanning 16 time zones, covering over a century of American Roots Music. Led by vocalists Steve Gardner (Pocahontas, MS), one of the leading acoustic bluesmen in the Tokyo music scene for over a decade; Bill Steber (Grinder’s Switch, TN), leader of the Jake Leg Stompers retro jug band collective known for Chicken-fried, Pre-war, Hokum-billy Jug music) and Washboard Chaz, legendary bandleader of New Orleans featured in the award-winning “Playing for Change” project.
JM Van Eaton
According to no less an authority than Jerry Lee Lewis, J.M. Van Eaton is “…THE creative rock ‘n roll drummer….!” As the man who provided the bluesy backbeat and energetic fills for countless sessions at Sun Records, his drumming is no less than the very heartbeat of rock ‘n roll music itself.
With Billy Lee Riley, Roland Janes, and Martin Willis, a/k/a “The Little Green Men”, he cut some of the best rock ‘n roll records most of America never heard. However, when rediscovered during the late 70s, such gems as “Red Hot” and “Flying Saucers Rock ‘n Roll,” became vivid anthems for the first blushes of the rockabilly revival.
In addition, perpetual reissues of Sun’s hits and hundreds of previously unreleased sessions with big stars and auditioning wannabes alike were made listenable for the ages, thanks to Van Eaton’s work.
Van Eaton’s contribution to this music we all love is often downplayed by the mainstream music press, but, as in the case of Scotty Moore and Bill Black’s stimulus to Elvis Presley’s studio sound, one has to wonder how far Jerry Lee Lewis would’ve gotten without the drummer’s uncanny ability to read his musical mind and lay down a compatible beat. (Especially with the one-take method the Killer preferred.)
Despite playing hundreds of sessions, traveling uncounted miles on the road, and ceaseless changes in the music business, Van Eaton never became a casualty of rock ‘n roll. Though he now makes his living as an investment banker, he has kept his skills and mind sharp, learned to write songs and produce records. It should be heartening to struggling rockers to note that the man who played on such classic mega-hits as “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, “Great Balls Of Fire”, “Breathless”, and “Lonely Weekends” still has the hunger to make great music.
His first solo LP, The Beat Goes On, features nine of Van Eaton’s own songs, as well as (for all intents and purposes) his debut as a vocalist.
Johnny Yancey and the Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra
Always a lover of big bands and jazz orchestras, Johnny was inspired to form his own orchestra (The Sancturary Jazz Orchestra) in 2002 when he performed his first tribute to the great Duke Ellington. Today, his namesake, Johnny Yancey Big Band, successfully draws the best and the brightest of Memphis’ local musicians and music educators of diverse ages, races, and cultures
Joyce Cobb has done it all: signed a deal at Stax Records; cut a Top 40 hit, ‘Dig The Gold,’ for the Cream label; opened shows for The Temptations, Muddy Waters, and Al Jarreau; toured Europe; performed with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; and starred in local productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and the Center For Southern Folklore’s Beale Street Saturday Night (which she co-created). She’s also host of her own radio show featuring her favorite vocalists on Memphis’ listener-supported station WEVL-FM. Joyce continues to perform a wide variety of blues, jazz and rock around the town, and brunch with Joyce and her band at Bosco’s in Overton Square every Sunday has been a delightful Memphis musical tradition for years.
With her compassionate tone and sometimes-quirky approach, Kate Campbell has made a musical niche for herself telling stories exploring the complex topics of race, religion, history and human relationships. It started with her award-winning debut record, 1995′s Songs from the Levee, and continues with her latest offering, Save the Day. The new project also includes shades of Kate’s entire musical history — running the gamut from R&B and pop rhythms to gospel, country and folk sounds.
The Kattawar Brothers – Jerry on piano and Mike on drums – are known as the Delta’s Dynamic Boogie-Woogie Duo. Based in the Mid-South, their high energy shows blend rockabilly with blues, country, and classic rock and roll. While growing up in Greenville, MS, the Kattawars cut their teeth on the blues beaming their way late at night from WLAC in Nashville. That’s where they first became interested in the music of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and other Mississippi blues musicians, eventually learning to play these tunes themselves.
Blues for Children and Grown Ups
Kenneth Jackson is a dynamic entertainer, vocal stylist, trumpeter, guitarist, and composer. He is a master teaching Artist with 26 years experience with “Arts in schools.” He has performed with B.B. King, Ray Charles, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Taylor, and many others. He has been featured at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap and the Smithsonian Institute. His curriculum-based children’s songs Basically Blues are being used in classrooms across the nation and abroad. This interactive performance is packed full of high energy tunes for kids, families, and blues fans of all ages. Come witness the magic of the “Blues Man.”
King Ellis has been singing and touring nearly all of his life. He credits his family and his parents for taking him to church and to their rehearsals for their gospel quartet groups. He feels that they had a master influence on his life and career. King spent most of his childhood performing and singing in schools, choirs, talent contest and functions. in the 90′s he signed his first recording deal with a Houston ,Texas label with Eightball & MJG called The Suave House. He was the R & B talent for the label where he was a writer and did all the singing and sold millions of cd’s. He left there and joined Kool and the Gang and toured the world as their new lead singer, and recorded dvd’s and cd’s and sold millions as well. He has worked and shared some of the same stages with some of the best the industry has to offer, from opening shows or on tour traveling the world. From there came Soul Village Music Group. Located right around the corner from the legendary Stax Records, he built a studio, started an independent label, and let the magic begin.
Last Chance Jug Band
Helmed by ethnomusicologist David Evans, The Last Chance Jug Band reprises the jug band sound of the Memphis and New Orleans areas during the ’20s and ’30s. Formed in 1989, the band released its debut album, ‘Shake That Thing,’ in 1997, giving a modern twist to traditional material. Last Chance Jug Band consists of Evans (vocals, guitar, kazoo), Jobie Kilzer (harmonica and jug), Dick Raichelson (piano), Tom Janzen (drums) and Richard Graham (one-string bass, washboard, jug, percussion).
Jazz/ Hip-Hop Violin
Lila (LEE-LAH), the essence of love, good, creativity, strength, and imagination. Lila is a seasoned, professional multi-instrumentalist whose dedication to her craft is shown through her musical expression, compositions, and enthusiastic performances. Her primary instrument is the violin and her mastery of the instrument’s intricacies gives her the innate ability to touch the heart, soul, and spirit of her listeners.
While at Georgetown University, Lila was selected out of a nationwide audition to participate in the New York String Seminar Orchestra, where she had the opportunity to be mentored by Maestro Emeritus Alexander Schneider and Maestro Isaac Stern. Through consortium, she went on to become a founding member of The Howard University String Quartet, and a student at The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. After participating in classical performances at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, Lila felt a strong desire to explore different musical genres including jazz, blues, rock, reggae, soul, Afro-Cuban, Latin, and hip-hop.
Lila Jazz Kids
For years, Lisa Lambert and band mate Scott Nunley have kept alive the spirit of real, down-home traditional country music. Both diverse instrumentalists and veteran performers, Lisa and Scott recently began collaborating with The Pine Ridge Boys, a revived bluegrass sensation of the Memphis 40s and 50s. A lively farmstead union of gospel and secular bluegrass, Lisa Lambert and The Pine Ridge Boys are set to wow both fans and initiates of old-time ‘hillbilly’ music.
Reflecting the increasing diversity of modern day Memphis, lead singer/guitarist Domingo Montes and Los Cantadores has become a major music force in the emerging Latin community. For many Memphians, Los Cantadores provided their initial taste of mariachi, salsa, and Latin music in general. Mariachi music, as we know it today, results from the confluence of several different influences: European styled concert ensembles on haciendas composed of violins, harp, guitars, jawharps and other instruments, simpler coastal folk ensembles whose African influence gives mariachi some of its key rhythmic elements, and the harp and violin ensembles of the tierra caliente.
Discovered at the ripe age of four in her native Colombia, Marcelaﾒs singing career began in traditional style with a Spanish Musica de Tuna group in Bogota. Awards and accolades in various singing competitions followed until Dreams Machine recruited Marcela in 1995. Inspired and influenced by jazz vocal styles she absorbed while on tour in Asia, Marcela turned over a new leaf in her career, joining Jazz Latin and developing her craft amid Singapore’s musical plurality. Her exploration eventually led her to Memphis, TN, where she met American blues and soul firsthand, drawing from its emotion, and blending it into her ever evolving style.
Drum Line and Dance
Founded by Andrea ‘Ms. Sunshine’ Paschal in 2003, The Millennium Maddness Fancy Trick Drill and Drum Show Team performs energetic synchronized drill team routines. Their mission is to assist urban youth of the Hickory Hill Community Center by promoting team-building skills in a positive atmosphere. Millennium Maddness was featured at the 2006 Drill-a-Rama in Memphis and the 2006 Sweet Soul Music Festival in Porretta, Italy. In August of ’05, they placed 6th out of 25 teams competing in the New Orleans hosted Elks Lodge International Drill A Rama Competition. Since its inception Millennium Maddness has received over75 awards for their outstanding excellence.
Moments of Joy
In 1986, Mary Tipler had a vision to organize a group and name it ‘The Moments of Joy.’ Beginning with three original members Mary Tipler, Addie L. Buford, and Patrina Robinson, the group was later blessed enough to be joined by Lottie Buford-Watson and Cheryl Woodears. The collective of young gospel singers then began to travel and perform over parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Illinois. Minister Eugene Fletcher has admiringly given them a second name – ‘Those Ladies of Gospel.’ They have been fortunate enough to have retained their members through these years and just celebrated their twentieth year anniversary.
Ms Nikki with Jessie Frank & the Blues Bandits
Ms. Nickki was born and raised in a small country town called Holly Springs, Mississippi. Raised in the Bible belt, her first time singing was in church. But as she grew up, her love for music grew also. With my invigorating, sassy, soulful style I knew I had to go further. I fell in love with the blues and moved away from home. I found myself in Memphis, Tennessee known worldwide as the Heart of Popular American Music, especially Black American Music namely Blues, Soul (Stax Rec. / Royal Studios (W.Mitchell), R&B, and Gospel. For the past three years I have been the Lead Female Vocalist at the internationally known and locally beloved WILD BILLﾒs BLUES CAFE. Itﾒs the last real live Juke Joint in North Memphis on Vollintine Ave. Iﾒm there every Fri. & Sat. night with The Memphis Soul Survivors (House band) and several other local singers including Wesley ‘White Lightnin’ Taylor. I would love to travel abroad and be able to perform and share my soulful gift with the world. The Memphis soul survivors consist of Melvin Lee (Bass), Neil Rutledge (drums) Archie Turner (keyboards), Chris Pitts (Guitar, Vocals) and Jesse Smith (saxophone) they have all played in different bands. Some of which have played behind major artist. You can come hear the band at ﾑWild Bills’ (a Local watering hole) every weekend.
M. U.D. (Memphis Urban Dance)
Nancy plays drums, guitar and harmonica and dabbles on the accordion and concertina. She has been nominated more than a dozen times for a Premier Player Award in Memphis in the songwriting, Female Vocalist and Community Service categories, and was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition in 2002 and 2003. She has appeared in numerous movies and videos with the likes of Harvey Keitel, Linda Gail Lewis and Bridget Fonda, has been endorsed by Gibson Guitars, played drums in The Hellcats and with bluesman great Willie Cobbs. She did a stint as the Tennessee Triple Threat with Duane Jarvis and Phil Lee, and is currently working on a duo record with Rob McNurlin. Nancy has sung backup with Todd Snider, Dan Baird, Keith Sykes, Mark Lindsay, Reba Russell, Barbara Blue, Jay Ruffin and Cory Branan. Nancy is also known as The Cadillac Cowgirl, and has been a deejay on WEVL in Memphis doing a Monday afternoon drive show (CarTunes) since 1996.
Paul Taylor/ Merry Mobile
Long a vital part of Memphis’ vibrant 21st century music scene, multi-instrumentalist and producer Paul Taylor has always followed his own sense of direction. The son of a Memphis musician and studio engineer, Taylor spent his teen years hanging with other second-generation Memphis musicians, playing gigs by the time he was 14 years old, starting his first band with classmate Steve Selvidge (Big Ass Truck). Taylor met brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson through Selvidge, and at 16, was playing drums (he had gotten his first trap kit when he was only two years old) with them in the band DDT, which built up a loyal fan following in the Memphis region. Taylor began crafting his songwriting and production chops while producing his girlfriend Amy LaVere’s debut album, This World Is Not My Home, and playing drums in her road band. In 2009, Taylor released his debut solo record, Open Closed, and continued working on projects with Jim Dickinson, Brad Postlethwaite, and Tim Regan (Antenna Shoes).
Hailed as the reigning “King of Beale Street”, Memphis’ own Preston Shannon is a powerful guitarist with a compelling and soulful voice that sounds like a cross between Otis Redding and Bobby Womack. Shannon toured for a couple of years as a member of soul singer Shirley Brown’s band. In concert he sang Womack’s part in the soul duet Brown had done years before with Womack himself. Known to have performed on Bourbon Street and in Memphis area casinos, Shannon is a singer guitarist who can solo himself through a fire-breathing set of slick, urban blues. Preston exemplifies to many listeners the power of Southern “deep soul” – hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. In 2012 Preston Shannon was asked to compete in “THE VOICE” and although he didn’t win, he has now been touring around the world.
Pyramid Dance Company
Sadiia, Director of Pyramid Dance Company, has lived in Morocco and traveled worldwide to study with various master instructors. Her repertoire includes Classical Oriental Veil (popularly known as Belly Dance), the Egyptian Cane Dance, Ancient Egyptian Temple Dance, Lebanese Baladi Dance, Persian Tehrani and Bandari Dance, Contemporary Indian Dance, and much more. Talented and accomplished, Sadiia’s troupe will present the art of ancient Eastern dance forms at this year’s festival.
A retired brakeman from Manchester, TN, Roy Harper has been performing and archiving pre-World War II old-time country music in the Knoxville area for more than fifty years. After growing weary of the direction “modern” country music was taking, Roy decided to devote his life to continuing the tradition of the style of country music he grew up listening to. Much of the inspiration for his songs comes from the many years he spent working on the railroad. The “no frills” style of Harper’s music has drawn comparisons to the sounds of old time country artist Jimmy Rogers.
SBA Soul Band
Acclaimed Americana/Blues guitarist William Lee Ellis was raised in the deep roots of American music. Named after his godfather, legendary bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, Ellis grew up in a musical family – his father, Tony Ellis, was one of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. After adding classical guitar to his musical studies in college, Ellis learned to combine finger-picking technique with his classical performance background and the bluegrass-infused memories of his youth. Yet it’s clear that he’s no revivalist – Ellis writes his own unique music, using old blues forms to express his contemporary experiences.
Sharona Rubinstein and Performance Arts Network
Performance Art Network (PAN), founded by Artistic Director Sharona Paller Rubinstein,ﾠ is a company of professional dancers, choreographers, musicians and visual artists who have joined together as kindred spirits.ﾠ We are all performers, teachers, and dreamers.ﾠ Our mission is to create exciting new opportunities to share the beauty and joy of live music and dance on stage together, and to collaborate with local artists who share this goal. We want our audiences to experience the passion for the arts that we feel in an intimate setting, and with performance pieces that will kinesthetically move audiences, and touch their souls.ﾠ PAN most recently appeared at the Israel Festival at Shelby Farms this past May.ﾠ In addition to her professional modern dance background, including her B.A. and M.A. degrees in dance from UCLA, Ms. Rubinstein also performed several styles of Israeli folk dance with her former dance partner Steven Lee Weintraub, the Parparim Ensemble in New York, and world renowned choreographer Margalit Oved.ﾠ The repertoire that PAN will be presenting in the festival includes choreography from those companies.
Shufflegrit has been playing together for 2 years, but played together in high school. The group consist of Todd Nations (vocals, guitar, and upright bass), John Busby (guitar, bass), and Robbie Robertson (vocals, guitar, banjo, and upright bass) This Folkabilly group has meshed Folk music and Rockabilly and whatever else. Their music will please your ears.
Side Street Steppers
The Side Street Steppers are a page from America’s past, playing rare and popular music from the 1920s and 30s. Dubbed the “Golden Age of Gramophone Recording”, the two decades between 1920 and World War II saw the rise of jazz and the birth of the blues, the demise of ragtime and the emergence of the hillbilly music that would become known through the world as country music. The Side Street Steppers present a pastiche of this transformation of the American musical landscape, performing on vintage and homemade instruments. Get ready for plenty of hip-shaking, foot stompin’, caterwauling and croonin’.
Sidney, Cidney, Sidney
Sidney Kirk was for many years a close friend and bandmate of Stax Records icon, Isaac Hayes. Take a close listen and you’ll hear his piano work on Isaac’s classic Shaft as well as Black Moses and Wattstax. The band he plays with at the Festival is truly a family affair: His daughter, Cidney, was a finalist on American Idol. His wife, Virginia, has been singing with him for years. A truly world class performer, Kirk has shared the stage with a retinue of celebrities: Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Roberta Flack, Melba Moore, Dionne Warwick, Buddy Rich, and Rufus Thomas for starters.
Singa B. (Nrsimha Bromfield) was born in Washington, D.C and raised in Memphis, TN. At the age of five he began teaching himself to play violin and progressed to guitar. By age 14 he became a published songwriter when he wrote the Alma Mater for his junior high school. He continued songwriting and performance throughout his school years in talent shows, community events and concluded school with his single “Wake Up World” at his high school graduation. From 2007 through 2009 he attended the STAX Music Academy and toured Australia in the STAX Summer Soul Tour. Singa Bromfield’s first album Latenight Jam Session was released in 2010. He also headlined Beale Street’s New Daisy Theater in fall of 2010 and featured songs from the album and from his first mixtape No Feelins THE MIXTAPE
Smoochy Smith Trio
Jerry Lee ‘Smoochy’ Smith was instrumental in creating ‘the Great Memphis Pumping Piano Sound’ for Sun Studios from 1957-1959. He played on numerous record sessions at Sun Studios as part of the house band that backed up many rockabilly legends. He moved on to Stax Records and recorded with the Mar-Keys and co-wrote ‘Last Night’ in 1961. He also played on Carla Thomas’s first album, Gee Whiz.
Songwriting w Mary Unobsky and Kate Campbell
Grammy-nominated songwriter with 2 triple platinum & 6 gold records to her credit whose songs have been recorded by Anita Baker, Chaka Kahn, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bonnie Raitt, the Jazz Crusaders, Karen Carpenter & countless others. Was the music Consultant for ” Hustle & Flow.” And is featured in McGraw-Hill’s “Spotlight on Music” for 7th & 8th graders across the USA.
Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers
Sonny Burgess has five decades of air play, concerts, dance parties, and radio shows. An original Sun artist, he and his first band, the Pacers, put on a rock and roll show that was so full of energy that it became legend. With the renewed interest in rockablilly in recent years, Sonny has reached new audiences in Europe and at home. He still performs live concerts, records chart-topping hits, and puts on a rock and roll show that you won’t forget.
Youthful Blues Band
St. Benedict Academy Soul Band
Star & Micey
It was a dark night, like many before it in Memphis. Joshua Cosby walked home from rehearsal with his guitar slung over his back. A local homeless man flagged him down, not for money but for a story. The man explained how he had written a song about his ex-wife Micey, and there, on that dimly lit street occurred an exchange, two men playing each other songs of heartbreak and the ultimate sacrifice. Upon parting ways, the displaced man revealed his name to be Star. That name became the fixture for one of Memphis’s most inventive bands: Star & Micey. The original duo are listed as two brothers without the same last name, Geoff Smith and Joshua Cosby. It was merely coincidence that the two later met Nick Redmond at a local pub and began a relationship based on music and, above all, brotherhood.
One of the region’s finest vocalists, international recording artist Susan Marshall fronted rock-soul band The Mother Station in 1990 and in 1994 they released their debut album “Brand New Bag” which peeked at #34 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts. Susan has released three critically praised solo albums: Susan Marshall Is Honey Mouth, Firefly and Little Red. She has performed renditions of her eclectic mix of jazz, blues and soul standards and is also known for her solo and duo performances in residency over the last 5 years at Itta Bena located on world famous Beale Street just above B.B. Kings.
Susan has toured all over the world as part of the Afghan Whigs as well as with Cat Power & The Memphis Rhythm Band, which included appearances on Austin City Limits, The Late Show w/ David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and the BBC’s “Later…with Jools Holland.” Her studio work has garnered multiple gold and platinum record awards, as well as the distinction of having sung background vocals on five GRAMMY nominated records.
Tennessee Mass Choir
High-energy vocals performed by a powerfully gifted and spirited group of individuals.ﾠ This amazing gospel choir is simply the most respected and talented Mass Choirs in the entire country, .The Tennessee Mass Choir performs at many of Heartbeatﾒs high profile events across the US. Featured at Las Vegasﾒ Paris Hotel for an international convention, they brought the house down. And, they garnered a standing ovation recently at the Annual Chairmanﾒs Luncheon of The Greater Memphis Chamber held at The Peabody Hotel. Dallasﾒ Crystal Charity Ball, FedEx Sales Rally, Tupperware, and Hilton Worldwide have experienced the amazing musical power of this incredible group. Tennessee Mass Choir knows how to get your audience moving!
Latin R&B Fusion
Inspired by the soul of the legendary Billie Holiday, the seductive voice of Sade, and the musical swag of Aaliyah, The Glo has been adding her Latin roots to the classic R&B sound. Born in San Diego, CA, The Glo relocated to Memphis where she crossed paths with J-20. A brief chat, a song sung, and an info swap later, it was decided that J-20 and Glo had to work together. The Memphis born and bred J-20 infused the soul influences of Al Green and Otis Redding into The Glo’s sound. J-20 says the Memphis sound is in the way he walks and talks, and naturally flows out when he sings with the soul of Memphis. The Glo’s music has matured into a Pop/Funk/Dance with Latin undertones
The Jazz Collective
Ten gifted musicians equally adept at both solo and precision ensemble playing have come together to form the Jazz Collective. Spanning a wide range of jazz styles and musical influences, their performances bring fresh interpretations and high energy to their audiences. Individual members have performed with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, the Count Basie Orchestra, and Tony Bennett
The premier inspirational gospel group of the new millennium directly from West Memphis, AR, the heart of the Mid-South, The Mellowtones have been inspiring people through their music for over two decades and continue to achieve success and recognition album after soulful album.
In the last few years a new generation of soul music has been coming to life here in the Bluff City and one of its brightest lights is Tonya Dyson. Tonya Dyson is the real deal in the revival movement and the new soul underground seamlessly blending gospel, jazz, and R&B into a promising attempt to reboot Memphis’ soul legacy. Backed by her band, Green Onions, Tonya is on the verge of a major breakout. This group combines neo-soul, jazz, and funk influences, often reminiscent of the best songs of people like Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Sarah Vaughan.
Traditional Mexican dance forms
Robby Grant is a man who doesn’t stop. He’s constantly involved with music, whether playing with a band or recording at home on his four-track. The Memphis resident was guitarist/singer for Big Ass Truck from 1992-2001. During Big Ass Truck’s downtime from touring and recording their third album, Grant began writing songs for himself and recording them on a four-track in his home. While on tour, Grant left a copy of the recorded demos with Yep Roc’s Tor Hansen when he stayed at Hansen’s house, in whose basement Yep Roc was located at the time. The result was Unleavened Bread, which Yep Roc released in 1997. Since the run of Big Ass Truck officially came to an end, Grant has focused his time, energy, and musical efforts on two projects – Vending Machine and Mouserocket. Grant describes Vending Machine as ‘basically a refinement’ of what he started with Unleavened Bread – what is mostly a solo, self-released project. Grant released three albums in 2000 as Vending Machine, all of which appeared on his own Chocolate Guitar Records. A new Vending Machine record is expected to drop in early 2007. Grant started playing with Memphis indie rockers Mouserocket in 2002 and the group expects to release its sophomore album on Seattle’s Empty Records in early 2007.
Formed from an impromptu jam session, Wampa has been honing their signature brand of raucous rock and roll since 2009. With a sound that blends the abstract Americana of Wilco with the funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wampa brings a flavor of gritty Memphis soul with an irresistible groove that will move you. Wampa blends fiery sax solos and thumping bass lines with rock and roll guitars to create a party on stage. Their energy is as infectious and catchy as their lyrics and their live show is something not to be missed.