It’s the 10th anniversary of Levitt Shell, and Memphis is on our minds! To celebrate, we’re looking back on our “Meet The Artist” video, featuring four-time GRAMMY-winning artist and 2014 Levitt Shell performer, Booker T. Jones, best known for the band Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Jones was born and raised in Memphis as a musical prodigy – by age 18 he had already written the instrumental for “Green Onions,” which would become a massive radio hit in 1962 and spur the success of both his band and his solo career. Soon he was writing songs for Otis Redding and Eddie Floyd, all while attending Indiana University. He and his band won their first GRAMMY in 1995 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance thanks to their song “Cruisin’”. In 2007, Jones won the coveted Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award. In this video, we had the honor of speaking with the legend himself, learning a little more about his career-spanning connection to the Levitt Shell.
Three-time Levitt Shell Memphis performers St. Paul and The Broken Bones in 2014.
Last year, over 6,000 undiscovered musicians from across the country submitted entries for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. The prize? A gig at one of music’s most unlikely concert venues: the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
Since its start in 2008, the Tiny Desk Concert Series has become an online phenomenon, with nearly 500 performances boasting millions of viewers who tune in to see old favorites and up-and-coming artists alike nearly every week. Musicians across a wide range of genres have visited the Tiny Desk, including Adele, T-Pain, Yo-Yo Ma and over 40 artists who’ve performed on Levitt stages across the country.
As passionate advocates of music and reimagined spaces, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Tiny Desk concerts featuring Levitt artists. Check them out! Continue reading →
Artists pictured above (clockwise, from top left): Barbara Morrison, Black Violin, Tia Fuller, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gedeon Luke & the People, The Soul Rebels, Chubby Carrier, Ruthie Foster, Booker T. Jones and The Drifters)
African Americans have shaped many of the most iconic American music styles—gospel, jazz, rock and roll, funk, hip-hop…the list goes on and on. As we wrap up Black History Month, we’d like to celebrate the musical contributions of some of the many talented African American artists who’ve graced Levitt stages across the country. Continue reading →
We’re kicking off Black History Month spotlighting one of our favorite Levitt artists, the phenomenally talented Booker T. Jones—a musician whose creativity is matched by his courage. Jones made his Memphis debut at Levitt Shell in Memphis (then known as the Overton Park Shell) in 1968 with his GRAMMY-winning group, Booker T. and the M.G.’s. According to Rolling Stone, this group, made up of two black members and two white members, “became a symbol of racial integration in the South during the civil rights years.” Booker T. Jones and the M.G.’s were awarded the prestigious GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for helping to create the sound of the 1960’s and using notes to build bridges between people.
Our hats go off to Jones, who has always used his courage and creativity to push our nation’s musical and racial boundaries. Learn more about Jones in his Meet the Artist video.