Tag Archives: Gary Clark Jr.

Levitt Shell Concerts

photo by Levitt Pavilions, Flickr
photo by Levitt Pavilions, Flickr

Every year the Levitt Shell hosts more than 50 free concerts and events and this year’s line-up includes Rosanne Cash, Davina & The Vagabonds, Chubby Carrier, and the Old 97’s. Here is a video by Mississippi blues piano player Eden Brent, live at the Levitt Shell.

As a visitor, you may not know the Levitt Shell isn’t just any other bandstand. It was built in 1933 as an outdoor performing arts pavilion in Overton Park in the heart of Midtown. Over the years the venue, originally called the Overton Park Shell, has hosted many great performances of light opera, ballet, and musicals.


The most significant concert in the shell’s history was on July 30, 1954 when a young Elvis Presley opened for headliner Slim Whitman and caused a sensation. Music historians regard it as the first rock n’ roll show!

Designed by architect Max Furbringer, the City of Memphis and the Works Progress Administration built the shell for $11,935,  and modeled it after similar structures in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York.  Over the years it fell into disrepair but was saved from demolition three times–in the mid-sixties, in 1973, and in 1984–by a group of dedicated people passionate to keep it. Extensively renovated and re-opened in 2008, the venue is one of  the few remaining band shells of  the original 27 built during the WPA era. All that history helps to appreciate this art deco gem while you spread out your blanket, unpack your cooler, and sit back to listen to some great music in the twilight.

Levitt Shell
1928 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104







Blues Music Award Winners

The winners of the 35th Blues Music Awards were announced in Memphis, May 8th. A Little Walter tribute album featuring harmonica masters Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, James Harman, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Mark Hummel received two awards, including album of the year. In various categories, John Németh, Shawn Holt & the Teardrops, Gary Clark Jr., Doug MacLeod, and Trampled Under Foot were all first time winners.  “Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas won for best Soul Blues Female Artist and Bobby Rush was awarded Best Soul Blues Album for his recording “Down in Louisiana.” From Chicago, the legendary Buddy Guy took home the B.B. King Entertainer Award.

For a complete list of winners:

The Blues Foundation

Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest


If you’re still in town and want more blues, check out the nearby
Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest. Now in its eighth year, the free festival is always held right after the Blues Music Awards. The line-up includes Super Chikan, Rip Lee Pryor, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Watermelon Slim, and Liz Mandeville.

Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest