Nearly six years ago, when Memphis Flyer film editor Chris McCoy first wrote about the innovative new documentary Take Me to the River, few could have suspected how viable the movie would remain to this day — or the many offshoot projects that it would spawn.
One reason for such longevity was the film's reliance on actual performers, collaborating across the generation gap. The brainchild of North Mississippi Allstars' Cody Dickinson and producer/director Martin Shore, the film's central premise was bringing together old school soul singers with younger hip-hop talents, with footage of the recording sessions bearing witness to the creation of new, hybrid sounds. Featuring Bobby Blue Bland with Lil P-Nut, Booker T. Jones with Al Kapone, William Bell with Snoop Dogg, and other luminaries like Mavis Staples or the Hi Rhythm Section, the film could hardly go wrong, musically.
And, on the strength of that musicality, a perennial tour revue was launched with many of the same talents hitting the road together. The ongoing interest inspired a follow-up tour focused on players from New Orleans, and an accompanying film for that as well; not to mention the Take Me to the River Educational Initiative, which has provided instructional modules to hundreds of schools, and hosted several online webinars and other events.
One such webinar will be happening tomorrow, Thursday, July 23, as a star of the first film, Mississippi bluesman and Grammy-winner Bobby Rush, performs music from his new album, Rawer Than Raw, and sits for a Q&A with moderator Martin Shore. Though the full album is not due until August 16, its first single was just released this month.
This will be the 16th online webinar or masterclass hosted and inspired by Take Me to the River, and surely not the last. Visit their website or their Facebook page to keep up with future events, and see why their banner motto is "A Movement of Social Consciousness."
Take Me to the River: Modern Blues Music, with GRAMMY-winning legend Bobby Rush and Award Winning Filmmaker Martin Shore takes place Thursday, Jul 23, at 7 p.m., CDT. Click here to register.