Vlog 19 – From Church to Beale Street
Watch your volume when you start this vlog!
Let’s stay together was a song by Al Green that I’ve heard many times at home when I was younger. Just like ‘Tired of Being Alone’ it was part of my youth. Nowadays you have a chance to see this singer as ‘Reverend Al Green’ in the Full Gospel Tabernacle. A church in Memphis very close to Graceland. He got so many signs from above that he decided to throw his life around and become a preacher. I got lucky and was able to start my sunday morning with gospel and his charismatic appearance. It was a ‘goose bumpy’-experience as you will probably hear when opening the vlog.
After that I went to the passionate guitar player Gord McOuat to talk and learn more about him and music in general. On my first night in Memphis I met him at Earnestine & Hazel’s. Later that week I came to see him playing at the same place with his band Chic Jones Blues Express. He gave me many tips for my next destination New Orleans, one of his favorite cities.
Also recommended by Gord was the open mic lead by singer Tiffany Harmon at the P&H Cafe in Memphis. It was a pretty quiet evening, but it was the most surprising open mic ever. There were some bold people who got on stage. And even though the performances weren’t perfect, they gave me new energy and perspective. It’s so powerful to see people showing their vulnerability. Some didn’t yet finish the lyrics of their songs but tried it on the audience anyway. One was a beginner guitar player and got up there to play and sing. That made me think; why not perform acapella for once. So I did, pretty scary, but another case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It was fun!
The following day the Stax Museum was shining on my agenda. That was one of the first things on my list when I decided to go to America. So many artist that I grew up with were connected to this ‘family’ and this place. Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Sam Cooke and many more. And it was impressive. First the surroundings of the Museum got to me; the poverty, the abandoned buildings and then the whole story on the inside. Go see it if you’re there. One thing, bring some food, they don’t have any.
The end of my time in Memphis was almost there. And I am happy to say that performing on Beale Street is now on my resume. So thankful that Chic Jones and his Blues Express gave me the opportunity to do so. Such a cool experience, lucky me!
Next up: The Train to New Orleans