August 10, 2012:The Americana Music Festival & Conference, presented by Nissan, September 12-15, is honoring “The Music of Memphis” this year with three programming events featuring Memphis luminaries. Since the early Beale street era, to the extraordinary output of Sun Studio, and to the “Memphis Sound” created by Stax Records, ‘the home of the blues and birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is at the epicenter of American music.
Booker T. Jones will kick off the tribute on Wednesday September 12 by performing and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist at the Americana Music Honors & Awards. On Thursday, September 12, famed Memphis author and music fan Robert Gordon will interview Jones at 12pm at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They will discuss his historic contributions to Stax Records in the 60s as well as his work with Wilson Pickett, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and more, as well as Jones’ future plans.
Also on Thursday, at 2:30pm at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, Memphis native and producer Rick Clark will moderate “The Music of Memphis” panel discussion. Panelists include: famed musician,producer and solo artist, Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars; Jody Stephens of Memphis-based Ardent Music and musician for Big Star and Golden Smog; Scott Bomar, Memphis-based musician with The Bo-Keys and GRAMMY nominated music producer and recording engineer; and John Hampton of Ardent Music and a GRAMMY winning producer.
The icing on the cake is the music itself and the day will culminate with the Thursday showcase at the Rutledge, with Memphis’ new emerging and artists Star & Micey kicking off the evening. Luther Dickinson will perform solo as well as with Jim Lauderdale and The North Mississippi Allstars – previewing songs from their forthcoming collaborative album. The Bo-Keys, featuring alumni of Stax and Hi Records who all have deep ties to Memphis soul music, will take the stage.
The finale will be “The Songs of Big Star” performed by Chris Stamey (db’s), Mike Mills (REM),and the surviving member of Big Star’s original lineup, Jody Stephens. Although Big Star's first era came to an end in 1974, the profound influence of their style and material continues to wield power. Rolling Stone notes that Big Star "created a seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations of rockers, from the power-pop revivalists of the late 1970s to alternative rockers at the end of the century to the indie rock nation in the new millennium.”
The event was conceived and implemented by Americana Music Association’s Director of Operations, Danna Strong. “"Curating events that explore the origins and roots of Americana, is a passion,” she shares. “The music of Memphis is an obvious choice to celebrate the many sources of the genre’s tapestry. Meeting and working with the artists and producers that made this music is an honor."
The festival brings more than 100 official performances throughout Music City. Last year more than 12,000 fans enjoyed the festival’s musical events.
Wristbands for all evening showcases at participating venues are only $50 and can be purchased now here, or at Grimeys New and Preloved Music and Fanny’s House of Music starting Friday August 10.
Music industry professionals and those interested in the business of great music can still purchase Festival and Conference Registrations at the reduced rate of $350 for Americana Music Association members and $450 for non-members.
Registrants receive entrance to all sanctioned daytime conference music, panels and parties, plus priority access to all evening showcase performances. The registration also includes a ticket to the critically acclaimed 11th annual Americana Honors & Awards Wednesday, September 12 at the Ryman Auditorium.