Stax communications director (and Flyer columnist) Tim Sampson thinks there are a lot of exciting things going on in the neighborhood known as Soulsville USA. "And we really want people to come out and see what's been happening," he says, pitching the museum's annual "Stax to the Max" street festival, an annual block party celebrating the anniversary of the Stax Music Academy.
"The neighborhood has really taken to this event," Sampson says, describing the vibrant street life and good-smelling backyard barbecue. This year, in addition to all the food, art, and music by artists like William Bell, the Bo-Keys, Toni Green, the Mad Lads, the Temprees, and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, visitors can drop by the renovated home of blues pianist Memphis Slim, which is located just behind the Stax Museum. The structure has been given new life as the Memphis Slim Music Collabratory, a multipurpose facility designed to attract and aid collaborating musical artists.
"There's such a hunger for this thing everybody's been missing for a while," says Imported Moods singer Toni Green, who has also provided supporting vocals for Isaac Hayes and Luther Ingram. "What Stax does with these reunions — this coming together of new friends and old friends — is so needed.
"People are dancing with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And everybody is so happy bringing back the Mad Lads and the Temprees," Green says.
"Stax to the Max" at the Stax Museum of American Soul, Saturday, April 26th, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free. staxmuseum.com