Local Memphis Music Scene
Memphis, like other cities on the Mississippi River, has played a major role in the developments of blues, r&b, rock and country music. The city has been immortalized in many songs such as "Memphis, Tennessee" by Chuck Berry and "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
In the 2010 Census Memphis had a metro population of over 1.3 million. Over half the population is A frican American. About 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Yet the city is very rich in entertainment history as it has been the home of many major motion pictures as well as hit records. The history of the Memphis music scene has included Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, W.C. Handy, Booker T & The MGs, Al Green, Isaac Hayes and The Sylvers. The local music scene is covered by Memphis.com.
Memphis Local Music Scene History
The Memphis music scene went virtual during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. A lot of musicians and venues across the country steamed live shows on Facebook and Instagram Live. In late March 2020 Memphis Travel presented an online event called "Get Live! Memphis: A Virtual Music Festival." The show was a benefit for Music Export Memphis. Musical acts included IMAKEMADBEATS and Cameron Bethany.
The book Memphis 68, written by Stuart Cosgrove, won the prestigious Penderyn Music Book Prize at the Laugharne Arts Festival in April 2018. Cosgrove is a BBC radio personality in the UK and former writer for NME. The book chronicles music in the 1960s at Stax/Volt Records. The book is the second of a trilogy that started with Detroit 67 and will conclude with Harlem 69.
Memphis is the site of a made for a 2016 TV film called Million Dollar Quartet, based on the Broadway musical about the legendary Sun Record, where Elvis Presley got his first fame. The film is divided into eight episodes, in which six will be shot in Memphis. Funding for the film comes from state film funds, set aside the previous year for Memphis area films. The state budget allows up to $16 million for film funding. The film is about the lives of other musical pioneers beyond Elvis, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.
Memphis, despite being one of the most legendary music cities of all times that has produced countless superstars on the national scene, has somewhat of an obscure local scene presence online in 2013. There are a handful of sites that cover the local music scene, but it appears that the most powerful resource for studying a wide range of talent in Memphis is ReverbNation, which provides charts that rank local acts in regions throughout the world.
On top of the rock scene in Memphis in 2013, based on ReverbNation's charts, are Saliva, John Paul Keith and Blackberry Wednesday. Black Oak Arkansas has been performing southern rock in the region since 1971. After 3 gold albums and encouragement from Elvis Presley, they remain an important part of Memphis music history. The hottest hip hop acts are Drumma Boy, H.O.P.E. Ent and Vo & Elroy Ave. The top jazz artists are Darryl Evan Jones, Country, Cameron Ross and Aaron Thomas. Country, of course, is also big in Memphis, as leading acts include Abzolut, Ric Price and the Marty Ray Project. Another big genre in the city is gospel with Blackwood Brothers Quartet, Joey Anderson and Lauren Moscato. Some well known blues artists in town include John D'amato, Grace Askew and Brandon Santini.
One of the most catchy songs on the local scene is "Shine" by Lauren Moscato, who mixes country and electronic music. She learned to sing and play piano in church at the age of three. She wrote her first original song in tenth grade. Her music crosses many musical boundaries, as she has been played on Rock 103.