Renovation has begin on the Hotel Chisca, where WHBQ's "Red, Hot, & Blue" disc jockey Dewey Phillips first introduced the world to Elvis Presley, and rock-and-roll. Working with a skeleton crew of volunteers filmmaker turned preservationist Mike McCarthy removed glass, and acoustic tile from the booth where Phillips conducted the world's first Rock-and-Roll interview.
Mike McCarthy gets his hands dirty to preserve a piece of Memphis' musical legacy.
In a previous interview with The Flyer developer Terry Lynch of Main Street Partners LLC said he had identified areas where the historic booth might be incorporated into the renovation.
This Thursday, May 9, The Poplar Lounge will host a special "welcome home" party of sorts for Memphis blues singer and former contestant on NBC's The Voice, Patrick Dodd.
Dodd, a longtime fixture on Beale St. (he was named "Performer of the Year" by the Beale St. Merchants Association in 2011) and the local music scene in general, is fresh off a run on Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine's team on the popular reality series. Unfortunately, he lost in the "battle rounds" of the show to folk duo Midas Whale. But a lot of good has come out of the opportunity for Dodd - he recently struck an endorsement deal with Killer B guitars, and was tapped to sing the national anthem at game 3 of the Grizzlies/Clippers NBA playoff series, among other things.
Here is Dodd performing Marc Cohen's immortal classic "Walking in Memphis" on The Voice:
Tickets for Timberlake's Memphis concert — part of his first tour in six years — are slated to go on sale on Friday, May 17th, with members of Timberlake's “The Tennessee Kids” fan club eligible for “pre-sale” purchases at 10 a.m. that day. You can register for Timberlake's fan club and access to the pre-sale at justintimberlake.com/tennesseekids.
Timberlake's third solo album, The 20/20 Experience has already gone double platinum since it's release a few months ago and has been the year's fastest-selling album. Timberlake last set foot in FedExForum for a Grizzlies game earlier this year. He's now a minority owner of the team.
I didn't really know Selvidge well, but had crossed paths with him several times over the past decade, first for a Flyer cover story on Beale Street Caravan, the made-in-Memphis but broadcast worldwide radio show Selvidge presided over. More recently for a Father's Day-themed story in Memphis magazine, where I had the privilege of sitting with Selvidge and his musician son, Steve, and talking about his life — as a musician and as a father.
From that piece:
Sid Selvidge was raised in Greenville, Mississippi, the son of a laundry business operator. (“Greenville Steam Laundry, Sid says. “I always thought that would be a nice band name.”)
“There was no encouragement,” Sid says of his family’s view of a musical career. “If you got to be musical in my family, it was said to be a fine avocation. They were very practical people. They didn’t like the music business.”
Like so many in his generation, Selvidge wanted to be Elvis, and played around Greenville in a rock-and-roll cover band (go-to song: Sonny Burgess’ “Red-Headed Woman”).
It was after moving to Memphis to attend Rhodes College (then Southwestern) that Selvidge began to turn toward folk music.
“They made me take my Danelectro guitar and put it in the student center so I wouldn’t play electric guitar in my dorm room and bother everybody,” Selvidge remembers. “That’s how I got into acoustic guitar.”
For a while, Selvidge pursued a career in academia, doing graduate work in anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and returning to Rhodes as an instructor. But, eventually, Selvidge devoted himself full-time to music.
“I was a better musician than I was an anthropology teacher,” he says.
Beyond his enormous musical talents and varied imprint on several decades of Memphis music — and the Commercial Appeal's Bob Mehr does a terrific job of recounting Selvidge's career in his obituary today — I was always struck by what an exceedingly intelligent and decent man Selvidge was.
Selvidge leaves behind his wife of 47 years, Shirley Selvidge, and five children. In that Memphis magazine interview, he spoke with gratitude about his family:
“It’s difficult to be a musician without [a partner] that is solid and secure and has a lot of self-confidence, that can let somebody go out on the road for a long period of time,” Sid says. “I realize that now. I was a lucky guy. A great wife, a great family, and I got to go out and play music. I just thought it was great fun. Which it was.”
Selvedge was a natural-born storyteller and effortless guitar picker with a gift for blending early African and Anglo folk traditions.
Born in Greenville, MS, Selvidge got his first taste of celebrity while he was still in high school, spinning Jazz, and Rock-and-Roll records for WDDT radio. He would later spin for KWHAM in West Memphis and eventually founded the internationally broadcast radio program, Beale Street Caravan.
While looking back over past articles I stumbled across a piece I'd written prior to Jones' 1998 appearance at The Mid-South Fair. And while I may have overstated my point when I said he ignored Rock-and-Roll completely (some great Rockabilly cuts for Starday say otherwise), it's a fun read touching on the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. And I thought I'd share with other Possum fans.
Here's the link.
"She Thinks I Still Care" was written by Memphis songwriter Dickey Lee
No heartfelt tribute to the man can be free from all the lurid details. So here's a teaser excerpt:
"Once in an unfounded (and possibly coke-driven) fit of jealousy, he chased Porter Wagoner into the men’s room of the Grand Old Opry [and] grabbed Wagoner by the penis."
Yes, you read that correctly.
And while we're looking back and remembering, here's my perfect George Jones set list circa 2009.
This Friday, Austin, Texas natives Spray Paint play Murphy's in support of their first full-length record. Featuring members of Austin punk bands Dikes of Holland and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Spray Paint has been gaining steady attention for their debut album on California's SS Records that was released at the beginning of 2013 and fans of off-kilter garage punk a la Britain's Hygiene, or perhaps Memphis' own Sharp Balloons should make plans to attend. Stream a track from Spray Paint's first album below.
Flagstaff's Custody Battle, also on tour, were a last minute addition to the show, according to promoter Mikey Bibbs. Melding typical hardcore punk songwriting with fuzzed out garage rock; Custody Battle should have no trouble fitting in with the overall theme of the night. Stream Custody Battle's entire self-titled 10" below.
In recent years, the local indie-pop group Star & Micey has seen its stock rise from relative obscurity to one of the most consistently enjoyable and hardest-working acts in town. The group's 2012 E.P. I Can't Wait earned the band rave reviews from both critics and fans, as well as slots on high-profile national music festivals such as the Folk Alliance Conference and South By Southwest.
This Sunday, April 21, Star & Micey will perform a special last-minute show at The Poplar Lounge. Singer/guitarist Josh Cosby spoke to the Flyer this week about all that's been going on with the group and more.
Memphis Flyer: What have you guys been up to since last we spoke?
Cosby: We went to Canada for the Folk Conference and it was beautiful - we found a manager and a booking agent there. Then we went to Austin and broke our backs, but made an impact. Now we're back home in Memphis.
The format change — a re-formatting, if you will — was first reported by Radio Insight yesterday.
A website seemed to indicate as much, but anyone with $5.99 can make a hoax website.
The station is owned by Flinn Broadcasting. 96X was a staple of the mid-late-90s radio, bringing alternative rock to Memphis. It originally broadcast on 95.7, but the new 96X shows up on 96.1 WIVG and is broadcast out of Tunica, Mississippi.
Right now, tune in to 96.1 and you can hear the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun" playing on loop.
More as we know it.
Craig Brewer's $5 Cover was the canary in the coal mine, and another MTV production, Savage County, followed. This weekend, a new Memphis-shot web-based film series premieres in the form of Headshop, a series that follows nine characters whose lives intersect around a local headshop where a new designer drug is being sold.
The series features a primarily local cast and crew and was filmed at locations such as the Tennessee Brewery, Mollie Fontaine's Lounge, and the Arcade Restaurant.
A free screening of the first two episodes tomorrow night at the Ridgeway Four. Reception at 6 p.m. followed by screening at 6:30 p.m. There will be a Q&A with the series' writer/director Giri Swamy afterward.
Hi-Tone Café owner Jonathan Kiersky announced on Facebook today that he's signed a lease at 412 and 414 N. Cleveland to open a new live-music venue to replace the former Hi-Tone on Popular, which closed last month.
This deal was in the works when we reported on the Hi-Tone's closure in a recent cover story, which outlined Kiersky's tentative plans for the new space:
Kiersky was approached by Chris Miner, co-founder of the nonprofit Crosstown Arts, about space available as part of a strip of storefronts on Cleveland that are being rehabbed as a component of the neighborhood's ambitious redevelopment as an arts district. The Cleveland locale already houses a gallery and exhibition space for Miner's organization. As of press time, Kiersky was close to signing a lease on two adjacent bays there.
If the deal goes through, Kiersky plans to knock out a wall separating the two bays to create one 4,500-square-foot space, with higher ceilings and much better HVAC.
"It will be about the same size as the [original] Hi-Tone, but, with the ability to remake the space, it's going to allow for a larger capacity," says Kiersky, estimating a 600-person capacity, which might allow for booking bands that had outgrown the Poplar location.
Kiersky is attracted to the idea of being able to design his own club.
"It just got to the point where the building itself was something I couldn't deal with," he says. "One of the exciting parts about this new space is we'll have a blank chalkboard. We can do whatever we want."
Along those lines, Kiersky envisions a slightly larger stage at the back of the club, rather than the Hi-Tone's odd small stage in the front corner. He imagines a bar in the middle of the room to reduce congestion. He plans on a separate smoking lounge to reduce in-and-out traffic and give patrons a place to watch a Grizzlies game even while bands are playing.
What he doesn't envision is a full-time kitchen — he says the new club would be called the Hi-Tone, sans "Café" — or booking bands every night. He sees the bar/lounge open every day, with the rest of the venue holding concerts four to five days a week. And he's excited about the potential for integration with other tenants, especially the Crosstown Arts space, which has already booked no-alcohol/all-ages shows with a 125- to 150-person capacity.
"There are a lot of bands that I really enjoy that in Memphis on a Tuesday might draw 30 people. Doing it in a 600-person room makes it look really dead to the band and to us," Kiersky says. "Having a smaller space that's a two-second walk down and still having the lounge space will be great."
Since being taken over by local media mogul Rachel Hurley, the talent booking at longstanding local watering hole The Poplar Lounge has noticeably become both more diverse and ambitious. The club has hosted a steady stream of regional and national touring acts on Hurley's watch, and there's been a greater frequency of all-local bills as well.
"For years I have been approached by musicians asking me to help them get gigs in Memphis," says Hurley. "We are booking national touring acts and local acts with an established following. That can mean anyone from Glossary or Little Tybee to the Bluff City Backsliders or Hope Clayburn. We also have some great residencies like our Thursday night shows with Kait Lawson and Mark Edgar Stuart, or our Songwriter Sundays with Star & Micey. I book the shows, so the music definitely leans toward my tastes, but I've made my entire career from sharing my taste in music with people and turning them on to things."
A prime example of Hurley's new vision for the club can be found in tomorrow night's (Friday, March 29) show featuring Austin, TX indie-rockers Quiet Company.
The five answers will draw from the inaugural class of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, which was announced last year and which includes both obvious names (Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Otis Redding) and less well-known contributors (Lucie Campbell, George Coleman, Jimmie Lunceford). I'm guessing the likes of W.T. McDaniel won't figure but if the good folks at Jeopardy! don't get an audio clue out of all of this material they're not really trying.
Jeopardy! airs locally at 3:30 p.m. on channel 3.
Maybe the Oscars folks are sending this out as a trial balloon to see what people think. If so, then the Timberlake Oscars show could become reality. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. (See E! Online, for example.)
And why not? Timberlake can sing, dance, tell jokes, act, play the straight man, ham it up, and hold the spotlight. He's got classy, squeaky clean looks for the oldsters, a devilish edge for the hipsters, and sex appeal and pop allure for the youngsters.
His appearances on Saturday Night Live, including a few weeks ago, when he was inducted into the "Five-Timers Club," is pretty good evidence that he could pull it off. Maybe even settle in to rotation hosting duties and put Billy Crystal out to pasture.
And maybe JT, the pride of Millington, brings along the Tennessee Kids, his backing band for his performances in support of his new album, The 20/20 Experience. Would this make Timberlake the first NBA owner to host the Oscars? Bob Hope didn't own a piece of the Rochester Royals, did he?
Following the unfunny, misogynistic — well, really, pan-offensive — hosting turned in by Seth MacFarlane this year, the Oscars need to go in another new direction. Timberlake would be a home run.
Tomorrow night (Saturday, March 23), local singer-songwriter Chris Milam will be a featured performer on the latest installment of the popular television series The Sun Sessions, which is filmed at the legendary Memphis recording facility Sun Studio and airs on PBS stations across the country. To celebrate, Milam is hosting a watch party at Newby's, where his band will be performing both before and after a public screening of the episode's local premiere at 11 p.m on WKNO-TV (Channel 10).
Milam, who also recently performed at Austin's South By Southwest music festival, spoke to the Flyer this week about The Sun Sessions and more.
Memphis Flyer: How did your appearance on The Sun Sessions come about?
Milam: I entered a singing competition in Tunica, haha. I heard about this contest and thought it could be fun. I was the only one in it playing and singing my own songs, and some folks with The Sun Sessions were judging. That started the relationship, and soon after they asked me to tape an episode.