Of the overwhelming number of events this week tangentially connected to the Handy Awards, a few demand extra attention: The official closing ceremony of Handy weekend will be an all-star benefit concert for BluesAid on Saturday night at the New Daisy Theatre. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and scheduled performers at press time include Sam Carr, Levon Helm, Steve Cropper, John Kay (of Steppenwolf, natch), The Kentucky Headhunters, Bobby Rush, and Buddy Miles. BluesAid is a decade-old benefit concert organized by the Helena, Arkansas, Sonny Boy Blues Society to provide health care and financial assistance to blues musicians. Moving the concert to Memphis this year, Sonny Boy Blues Society will share proceeds from the concert with the Make a Wish Foundation and the Smithsonian Rock 'N' Soul Museum. The Sonny Boy Blues Society also recently reclaimed control of Helena's annual King Biscuit Blues Festival, which has been managed by a Memphis-based company for the last few years.
On Friday afternoon, from 4 to 6 at B.B. King's Blues Club, the Blues Music Association (BMA) will host a town hall meeting on the "State of the Blues." The BMA is a blues trade association formed in 1998. The forum will be an open discussion on the state of the industry and will be audience-driven but facilitated by several industry professionals.
Also on Friday, the New Daisy will host a free festival of blues-related documentaries by director Robert Mugge. Running from 3 to 8 p.m., Mugge will be screening his films Hellhound On My Trail and Deep Blues and will be debuting his latest work, Rhythm and Bayous, a look at music in Louisiana. There will also be a question-and-answer session with the filmmaker.
Other odds and ends: The Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission is launching a lecture series -- "The Experts: A Series of Lectures, Seminars, and Symposiums." This series is an offshoot of the commission's Musicians' Advisory Council. The first lecture in the series will take place on Saturday, May 26th, at the Center for Southern Folklore and will feature prominent music agent John Branca in a roundtable discussion with commission president Jerry Schilling and other industry representatives. Recently, Branca has worked with artists such as Matchbox Twenty, Blink-182, and the Backstreet Boys The music commission has also partnered with the Memphis and Shelby County Film and Television Commission and Select-O-Hits to produce a promotional CD of local music for distribution within the film industry Local musician Brad Pounders has formed a new record label, Serious Therapy. The label, which Pounders envisions as an avenue for individual musicians in bands to put out solo records, has issued its first release with a four-song, joint single that features Pounders and Vending Machine (aka Big Ass Truck's Robby Grant). Pounders' side contains a cover of Vending Machine's "Huge Window Display" and his own unreleased "Surprise." Vending Machine's side contains a cover of Pounders' "Circulation" and Grant's own unreleased "I'm Just Blushing" Power-poppers Crash Into June are set to go into Easley-McCain Recording to start work on their next album, which will be produced by Neilson Hubbard For those who missed it in the paper last week, downtown rock club Last Place on Earth will close, at least temporarily, at the end of May. June's highly anticipated Bad Brains reunion show has been canceled.
You can e-mail Chris Herrington at firstname.lastname@example.org.