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Tag Archives: blues

Mike Farris: His Inspirational Road to Grammy Gold

The year was 2011. The weather was bright and sunny with a chilly, northerly 70-degree breeze, indicating our wintertime. Our good friends asked whether we’d be interested in joining them on the Sandy Beaches Cruise leaving in a few days out of Ft. Lauderdale. For the unaware, Sandy Beaches is a week-long, music-themed Holland America cruise headlined annually by one of my favorite rock and blues musicians, Delbert McClinton. Because a South Florida ritual is having two bags always packed and waiting in the foyer for last minute cruise invitations, my wife and I were heading off to the port in a flash. Little did I know what life-changing delights we’d be experiencing in the days ahead. As usual, we were having a magical time on our cruise. And why not? Our only responsibility was finding our way from our cabin to the several restaurants and lounges offering limitless food and drink day and night, and to the various music venues scattered around the ship, and then making it back to our cabin at night’s end. Actually, that was the

TAYLOR HAGOOD – BEALE STREET & BEYOND

Memphis, for me, first and foremost emerges as neon signs either created in the 1950s or made to look so. Certain ones stand out as iconic: the Peabody Hotel spelled out in big red letters on its roof; Poplar Tunes with its arrow-head-tipped musical staff of notes; Leonard’s Pit Barbeque’s top-hatted, cane-twirling pig. But mostly all those twisted glass tubes of glowing light, with their colors balanced on a razor edge of cool and warm, emerge like a grand Dale Chihuly sculpture, redolent of Memphis’s heyist of heydays, when Elvis Presley was living and breathing and at any moment walking down Beale Street decked out in pink, cream, and black, his sleeves rolled up. Meanwhile, only blocks away Johnny Cash was moaning his halting way through a new record, Wanda Jackson was shimmying in her oh-so-tight fringed dress while nitroglycerin-growling her cute voice, Carl Perkins was hacking his way around a new run on his home-rigged electric guitar, or the brilliant and maybe deranged genius Jerry Lee Lewis was banging away on the piano after arguing religion with Sam Phillips in