The Center for Southern Folklore has a wonderful free music festival every Labor Day weekend. Elmore and I find it's a festive, easy way to celebrate our anniversary and hear some great local bands. We went down yesterday in time to hear Elmo and the Shades play some blues. The two guys on horns are Memphis institutions, having played on much of the Stax catalog, including hits for Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, and Otis Redding. One of the many things I love about my hometown is the amazing music heritage we have every which way you turn.
They did a great set, though I struggled some with the drawing, standing up in a stiff wind and testing out some new markers. I switched over to pencil when we moved inside for our next band.
The gospel group the Sensational Six were singing when we got inside the Folklore Store and (thankfully) found seats. It was fun to watch the old style gospel, and I did a couple of sketches while we listened.
We were really there to hear the Bluff City Backsliders, though. They're one of my two favorite bands in Memphis (which is saying a lot).
The Backsliders do high energy old time blues and jug band music. It's something of a moveable feast in terms of musicians -- you never know exactly who will be there, though they have several core players. Lately they've had an awesome trombone player, who really adds to the mix. He moves too fast for me to get a good sketch of him, though I tried a couple of times.
It was a great evening with even better bands, and I always enjoy a night out on the town with Elmore.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.