GUEST POST BY CANDACE GRAY, Marketing and Communications Consultant at Memphis River Parks Partnership
Memphis… Soul… Music…
For many, these words are synonymous. If you’re in Memphis and you don’t feel “it,” you aren’t doing something right. Someone hasn’t taken you to the right spot or you haven’t eaten the right food. SOMETHING just isn’t right.
Well, Memphis River Parks Partnership, with Memphis Slim Collaboratory, is creating a space this summer for you to FEEL the SOUL for which Memphis is known.
They are bringing back, for a third season, the FREE Soulin’ on the River concert series!
Picture this…it’s Friday evening…in Fourth Bluff Park (remember where the AMAZING Grizzlies Watch Parties took place this spring?)…with a backdrop of the Mighty Mississippi rolling along…and some of Memphis’ HOTTEST soul artists singing the night away…
That’s what you can expect starting this Friday, June 24, and for the next six weeks, through July 29, at Soulin on the River.
Thanks to its sponsors, The Kresge Foundation, ArtsMemphis and the Hyde Family Foundation, the concert series is FREE and open to the public. Bring your chairs, blankets and families, and get ready for a funky good time on the riverfront.
Gates open at 6pm; shows start at 7pm and will end by 9pm. The first and last events will feature FREE roller-skating for the entire family. Food trucks will be onsite, as well as cash bars.
Meet the artists:
The Soulin’ on the River concert series, curated by artist and executive director of the Memphis Slim Collaboratory, Tonya Dyson, will feature several artists who are pillars of the Memphis (and beyond) music community.
One of the most intriguing things about the series this year is that all the artists will share original music with the audiences to keep Memphis’ rich musical heritage and legacy moving forward.
June 24: Doll Mccoy
Some of the sweetest melodies ever heard were sang by Doll McCoy.
She’s recently worked with several local hip hop artists, including IMAKEMADBEATS, Tyke T, PZB and Mr. Del, but has most notably been part of the vocal collective Adajyo for decades, who released the single “Forward” in 2020.
She’s an amazing songstress and collaborator who plays at festivals, like Italian Fest with FreeWorld, and local venues, like The Pocket, In Love and more. Doll recently performed two of her originals “Patterns” and “Inside Kind Eyes” at Memphis Artists for Change’s BackRoom.
July 1: Jonte mayon
From BB Kings, to Salt, to Robusto Havana Mix, Mahogany, and so many more, you can find Jonte Mayon working! This songstress brings some serious vocal heat, range, and so much flavor to the stage.
Her gospel influence is undeniable, and she KNOWS God and her gifts have made room for her. The proof? Countless appearances at #SoulMusicSession in New Orleans, her recent performance at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival—and, most recently, Jonte lent her background vocals for Jennifer Hudson at T.D. Jakes’ 65th Birthday celebration. Check out her single “Make Up Your Mind.”
July 8: Courtney Little
The “Cougar Hunter” artist is the epitome of Memphis soul music. Known for his envelope-pushing lyrics and foot-stomping, soul-clapping grooves, Courtney Little is an entertaining force to be reckoned with.
He is what one might think is an “artist in residence” at many of Cynthia Daniels & Co.’s events around town and is a true crowd-pleaser. He will have the whole park dancing and singing before you know it, just like he does at The Genre Memphis, YNOT, Picasso’s and so many other local venues.
Check out Courtney’s latest single “Be On You.”
July 15: Cassie bonner
If Donnie Hathaway had a younger brother, it would be Cassie Bonner. A musical powerhouse hailing from the very musical, Oxford, MS-based Bonner family, Cassie sings and plays several instruments, but you can most often find him behind a keyboard.
His vocals are velvety smooth and do not disappoint. He’s shared the stage with musical giants, on stages everywhere, including Karen Brown and other local and national artists.
Though Cassie curated an online “live” series during the height of the pandemic, he is a true artist who must be experienced in person. His song “Girl” is featured on the Love Jones (The Music) soundtrack.
july 22: candy fox
Known for her energetic performances and crazy high range, Candy Fox has been on the Memphis music scene since the early 2000s from her days in Free Sol, a hip-hop/rock collective that dropped an album “11:11.”
After going solo and releasing indie album, “Soul Stir,” she began to collaborate with the likes of David Porter, Garry Goin, Kirk Whalum, 8-Ball & MJG and more. She is currently front woman for the band Third Coast, that plays often at Railgarten, and tours as a background vocalist with R&B legends Howard Hewett (of Shalamar), Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal.
Candy Fox has also shared the stage with the likes of Kurt Carr, Garrison Starr, Richard Smallwood, Chico Debarge, Paul Taylor and more.
july 29: black cream
These guys are musical perfection. They are a three-piece collective, featuring Chris Barnes of the gospel Barnes Family, Sensational Barnes Brothers and a former BB Kings All-star, on vocals and drums/percussion; Thomas Crivens on lead guitar (with out of this WORLD solos) and vocals; and band anchor Derek Brassell, Jr., on bass guitar.
The group is known for funkin’ up songs like Come Together, The Way You Make Me Feel and I’ll Be Around by the Spinners. They’ve shared the stage with Christone “KINGFISH” Ingram, Samantha Fish and (Memphis) guitar legend Eric Gales. Black Cream also recently opened for shared the stage with Jubu Smith, guitarist for Frankie Beverly & Maze.
Check out their single “All I Need is You.”
Many of these artists have collaborated throughout their careers, but we are fortunate to experience each of them in their own splendor, sharing some of their original tunes, every Friday now through July 29th. Mark your calendars and plan to attend every SOUFUL show! You’ll be glad you did.
For more information, visit @memriverparks, @memphisslimhouse.