If you don't get out much and want to sample some live local music, it's hard to imagine a better weekend for it than this one, led by a trio of sprawling special shows:
The first one to get started is a two-night benefit concert at the Hi-Tone Café Friday, September 18th, and Saturday, September 19th. Dubbed "For the Love of Shirley," the benefit is for Shirley Williams, a bartender at the classic Midtown dive the Lamplighter Lounge for the past 33 years and a beloved figure among many in the city's cultural scene. (Williams even made an appearance in a New York magazine profile of photographer William Eggleston for bouncing him — firmly but compassionately — from the bar.)
Facing health problems, Williams is dealing with mounting medical bills despite being insured, and some of her music-scene friends are banding together to help out. Friday night's lineup will feature Jack O. & the Tearjerkers, Impala, Angel Sluts, John Paul Keith & the One Four Fives, and the Bulletproof Vests. Saturday's lineup includes Snowglobe, the Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright, Vending Machine, and Jeffrey James & the Haul.
Doors open at 9 p.m. each night. The $10 admission and a portion of bar sales will go to assist Williams. Additional donations are welcomed and appreciated.
For more info, see hitonememphis.com.
While not a benefit concert, another outpouring of musical affection will occur Monday, September 21s, at the Levitt Shell as a group of the late Jim Dickinson's friends, family members, and protégés get together to celebrate his life in what is being dubbed the Jim Dickinson Memorial Folk Festival. (Dickinson was an organizer of the first Memphis folk festival in the early 1960s.)
According to event organizer David Less, who worked with Dickinson on a string of excellent solo albums in the last decade of his life, the show is "in response to an overwhelming need from the local music community and those touched by Jim and his music. When we produced the benefit concert on August 8th, the intention was to raise funds [for medical bills and expenses]. After he died the next week, we heard from many people who were unable to participate and wanted to memorialize him in some way."
The free concert, which will begin at 7 p.m., currently boasts a lineup that includes Dickinson's son Luther, his old bandmates and friends Sid Selvidge and Jimmy Crosthwait, and other connected performers such as Jimbo Mathus, Shannon McNally, Reba Russell, Keith Sykes, Steve Selvidge, Paul Taylor, and Amy LaVere.
The show will be acoustic and informal, with more performers likely to join by showtime. Less says there also will be a video of Dickinson incorporated into the show.
In between these two events, the annual Cooper-Young Festival, held during the day on Saturday, September 19th, will present a diverse slate of contemporary local music across three stages from roughly noon to 6 p.m., with New Orleans roots-rockers The Iguanas supplementing the Memphis acts. The lineups:
East Stage: Organ Thief, Ryan Peel, Good Luck Dark Star, Streetside Symphony, and the Bulletproof Vests.
Congo Stage: The Will Tucker Band, Groundspeak, Valencia Robinson, Two Mule Plow, Queens of Zion.
Main Stage: Rhythm Realm, U of M Jazz Band, River City Tanlines, Tonya Dyson, Darrel Petties & Strength, Susan Marshall, the Iguanas.