This weekend, Bluff City residents will go down to the foot of Beale Street for three days of rock, rap, country, reggae, soul, and just about everything else. There will be blues, too, although for fans of the Devil's music, what happens in the festival's Blues Shack is just a prelude of what's to come, once the final notes have faded and the last stragglers have vacated Tom Lee Park. The time has come once again to celebrate the down-home sounds that first put Memphis on the map.
Wednesday, May 10th, the night before The Blues Foundation's annual awards gala, five new artists and one publisher will be inducted into Memphis' Blues Hall of Fame. Performers being honored include Stax recording artist Mavis Staples, whose vocals on "Respect Yourself" and other Staple Singers hits helped lift the souls and spirits of civil rights marchers; Johnny Copeland, the Texas blues wailer known for songs like "Please Let Me Know"; Mississippi-raised, Chicago-tested guitar wizard Magic Slim; jazzy keyboard player, Henry Gray who cut his teeth with Howlin' Wolf; and country- and gospel-influenced singer Latimore, best known for his smooth 1974 hit "Let's Straighten It Out." Living Blues co-founder Amy van Singel is also being inducted.
- Blues Awards Week
Blues Awards Week kicks off Monday, May 8th at 7 p.m. with a screening of the Corky Siegel documentary, Born in Chicago. Siegel, who'll be on hand to sign CDs and answer questions, plays a "Chamber Blues" concert at Lafayette's Music Room Tuesday, May 9th.
Other Blues Awards Week events include the unveiling of a new exhibit at the Blues Hall of Fame, Big Lou Johnson's Hall of Fame tribute jam honoring new inductees, as well as harmonica master James Cotton and rock-and-roll pioneer Chuck Berry. The awards are presented at the Cook Convention Center Thursday, May 11th.